DES MOINES, Iowa – Jessica Schmitt, an 18-year-old from Fort Atkinson, was crowned the 65th Iowa Dairy Princess during an evening ceremony at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines August 8, 2018. Schmitt, daughter of Carl and Terry Schmitt, will spend the year serving as a goodwill ambassador for Iowa’s dairy farm families. Throughout her year-long reign, she will make public appearances to connect with consumers and help them understand the dedication of dairy farmers to their cows, their land and the milk they produce. She was also recognized for her outstanding performance in the public speaking portion of the contest.
Schmitt represents Winneshiek County and will be attending Iowa State University this fall.
Grace Howe, 17, of Waukon was named Alternate Iowa Dairy Princess. Howe, the daughter of Shelly and the late Matt Howe, will share duties with the princess. She represents the Iowa Jersey Cattle Club and will be a Senior at Waukon High School this fall.
Kassi Steinlage, 18, was named Miss Congeniality. She is the daughter of Loran and Brenda Steinlage of West Union and represents Fayette County.
The coronation ceremony also marked the 65th anniversary of the Dairy Princess program in Iowa, recognizing former princesses and alternates who attended the ceremony.
Twelve young women who are from dairy farms or closely linked to the dairy community competed for the Iowa Dairy Princess title, with the judging held August 7 and 8 in Ankeny. Winners were chosen on the basis of their knowledge of dairy farming and the dairy industry, public speaking skills and enthusiasm for representing Iowa’s dairy farm families.
The outgoing 2017-18 Iowa Dairy Princess is Rachel Grober, daughter of Todd and Sherry Grober of Ionia, and the Alternate Princess is Josie Buddenberg, daughter of Bruce and Julie Buddenberg of Decorah. Their reigns will be completed at the end of the Iowa State Fair, and the new Princess and Alternate will begin their duties Sept. 1.