Alice in Dairyland
DATCP main number: 608-224-5012
Alice Fast Facts
With more than six decades of history and activities behind her, there is a wealth of information, data and trivia about Alice in Dairyland. Here is some of that diverse and fun Alice info.
As a public relations specialist with the Division of Agricultural Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Alice promotes Wisconsin's agriculture and agribusinesses. She works with the media, speaks with rural and urban audiences, and teaches students about all aspects of Wisconsin agriculture.
In 1948, Alice hosted the Centennial Exposition at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis. A year later,the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture (subsequently renamed) became the sponsor of the Alice in Dairyland program. In 1952, Alice became a one-year, full-time contract employee of the department.
Alice in Dairyland logs the equivalent of a trip around the world, and she appears at more than 370 events during her one year on the job. Alice visits about 100 schools annually, speaking with mostly fourth graders. Additionally, she attends numerous agricultural events. Alice also does hundreds of media interviews, generating over $1 million worth of coverage for Wisconsin agriculture.
Alice applicants must be female Wisconsin residents and pre-screened applicants undergo a preliminary interview in February. Finalists are selected from those interviews to take part in a two-day briefing in late March to early April. In the middle of May, following an intense and extensive three-day interview process, a new Alice in Dairyland is selected. Two weeks later, she is "on the job," promoting the state's dairy industry during June Dairy Month.
- Alice in Dairyland is an established trademark for Wisconsin agriculture and its products.
- The Alice program continually promotes all of Wisconsin's diverse agricultural industry, which accounted for over $59 billion in economic activity.
- Margaret McGuire, Highland, became thefirst Alice in Dairyland in 1948, while Jill Makovec, Muscoda, is the 60th. Their homes are only a few miles apart!
- Four Alices in Dairyland (Merrie Barney, 1959; Beth Bartosh, 1964; Janice Findlay, 1976; and Laura Oldenberg, 1978) called Burlington in Racine County home when they were selected as Alice. Ladysmith, Fort Atkinson, Green Bay, Plymouth, Baraboo and Oregon were each home to two Alices.
- Past Alice in Dairylands have gone on to have distinguished careers as educators, business owners, doctors, lawyers, agricultural specialists, corporate executives, communication professionals, and, most importantly, mothers.
- The Wisconsin Jewelers Association provides the gold tiara worn by Alice in Dairyland. It is made of 14k gold and platinum. The center stone is a pear-shaped amethyst and the side stones are pear-shaped citrines. There are 90 diamonds set in platinum in the center scallops of the tiara. Both the amethyst and citrine are gems indigenous to Wisconsin. Each outgoing Alice is presented with the center amethyst, which is made into a pendent, as a token of appreciation for her year of service.
- In 2004, the Wisconsin Jewelers Association designed and donated a jeweled brooch for Alice in Dairyland to wear on the top of her sash. The brooch is two-tone 14k gold with a pear-shaped amethyst and two pear-shaped citrines. With its three arched sections that are hand engraved with a diamond pattern, the brooch allows Alice to share the history of the tiara while providing flexibility for the diverse variety of situations she encounters on the job.
- The Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association presents Alice with a mink jacket made of Wisconsin pelts - among the finest in the world. The jacket is an effective conversation piece to promote Wisconsin's ranking as the number one producer of mink in the nation.
- Early Alices had a huge doll - standing considerably taller than the women themselves - created in their likeness and displayed during the Wisconsin State Fair.
- Mary Ellen Jenks (1953) competed against movie star Rex Allen in a milking contest and appeared on stage with HelenKeller.
- Joan Engh (1960) went on to become Miss Wisconsin in 1962 and was a runner-up in the Miss America pageant.
- Beth Bartosh (1964) received her "wings" from the men of Company A, 32d Aviation Battalion.
- Jo Ann Cupery (1966) presented Matt Goukas of the Philadelphia 76ers with a basketball made from cheese.
- Judith Schultz (1969) danced with Lawrence Welk on his television show.
- The third time was the Alice charm for Janice Findley (1976) after she was the first runner-up in 1975 and the second runner-up in 1974.
- Laura Oldenberg (1978) competed with rock star Alice Cooper in a milking contest.
- Barbara Ward (1983) presented Willie Nelson with a Something Special from WisconsinTM T-shirt.
- Kim Nettesheim (1990) helped promote the first-ever agricultural clean sweep event in Wisconsin.
- Renea Troeller (1991) took part in a trade mission to Japan where she promoted Wisconsin beef and Christmas trees.
- Angela Corbin (1993) was made governor fora day in Chiba Prefecture during a trade mission to Japan.
- Jolynne Nagel (1995) helped promote Wisconsin products on QVC, an at-home shopping cable television network.
- Holly Meudt (1996) promoted Wisconsin cheese during the 1997 Super Bowl - won by the Green Bay Packers - in New Orleans.
- Courtney Ott (1997) drove a farm tractor down Wisconsin country roads to promote Wisconsin agricultural tourism.
- Sheri Hicken (2001) encouraged Wisconsin high school students to make a connection to agriculture by engaging them in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video contest she developed. Sheri was also a guest during the grand opening of the Wisconsin Histroical Museum's "IcOn Wisconsin" exhibit, which recognized the Alice program as one of the many symbols that have helped define our state and its people.
- Angela Hemauer (2002) was the first Alice to run a marathon (Whistle Stop Marathon in Ashland, WI) to promote WI Foods that Fuel. That initiative spear-headed the "Champion Choices from Wisconsin" educational program that the Alice Program (along with the help of WMMB) took into 25% of the fourth grade classrooms in WI.
- Nicole Reese (2006) and Rochelle Ripp (2012) threw out the first pitch at the WMMB’s Dairy Day at Miller Park during a Milwaukee Brewer’s Game.
- In the history of the Alice program, two tiaras have been lost or stolen. To date, neither of them has been recovered. Each states ‘Property of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture’ inside the tiara.