Introducing the Finalists
Dairy princess programs provide a way for young women to be involved in the dairy industry, creating dairy advocates and community leaders. The young woman who serves as Minnesota’s dairy princess wears the title of Princess Kay of the Milky Way, a name selected in a Department of Agriculture contest almost 60 years ago. Princess Kay serves as the goodwill ambassador for Minnesota’s dairy farmers.
Meet the 2023 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists below.
Representing Dodge County
Makenzie Alberts is the daughter of Eric and Angie Alberts. She is attending South Dakota State University where she is studying Agriculture Communications and Leadership! Makenzie grew up on her family’s 7th-generation dairy farm, sparking her passion for the dairy community. She found her love for cows while showing calves at her local county fair and her love grew as she became more involved on the farm while helping with milking and calf chores. Aside from dairy farming, Makenzie enjoys reading, traveling, and dancing! Her favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is hosting an annual field trip for second graders to visit her farm.
Representing Wright County
Jalyssa Beaudry is the oldest child of Brian and Theresa Beaudry. She graduated this spring with a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and begins graduate school this fall where she plans to focus her research on the profitability of automatic milking systems for dairy farmers. Jalyssa enjoys contributing to her farm by keeping it clean and improving cow comfort for their animals. Being a Princess Kay finalist was one of her goals since she was a little girl, and she hopes this experience serves as an inspiration to her younger sisters as well! The Beaudry’s family farm borders consumers in Otsego, giving Jalyssa the opportunity to advocate for dairy in her own backyard through conversations and farm tours.
Representing Sibley County
Montana Krueger is the daughter of Scott and Stephanie Krueger. Montana spends her time as a full-time dairy farmer on her family’s farm! During the pandemic, she realized that dairy farming is a passion that she wanted to pursue full-time. Aside from milking cows and caring for calves, she has her own herd of llamas and meat goats. Milking alongside her father is her favorite task on the farm as he is her biggest role model, whether it is about the farm or life. One of Montana’s favorite hobbies is inviting youth to her farm where she provides them with hands-on experiences with the animals. Montana’s favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is through school visits with elementary students.
Representing Stearns County
Megan Ratka is the daughter of Kevin and Kathy Ratka. She attends the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and studies Animal Science with an emphasis in Dairy Production. Megan’s passion for the dairy industry began by leasing cattle from her family friends. Megan’s favorite dairy memory includes sharing an unforgettable experience with her best friends as they left the MN State Fair Coliseum for the last time after succeeding in showmanship. Aside from showing dairy, Megan enjoys reading and watching Gopher Sports! Megan’s favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is through one-on-one conversations with consumers. Being a Princess Kay finalist is special for Megan, as her mother was also a finalist in 1993!
Representing Pipestone County
Josie Sutherland is the daughter of David and Dawn Sutherland. She attends South Dakota State University where she studies Dairy Production with a minor in Agricultural Business Marketing. Her career goal is to work in the animal nutrition field by helping farmers balance their cow’s rations. Josie grew her passion for the dairy industry by leasing dairy cattle through 4-H. She showed Holsteins and Red and Whites and was involved in dairy judging as well. Aside from the dairy industry, Josie loves staying active and watching sunsets! Her dream of becoming a butterhead is coming true, and many more opportunities for her to spark conversations with consumers will be possible for her.
Representing Mille Lacs County
Gracie Ash is the daughter of Mike and Shelly Ash. She attends the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she is majoring in Agricultural Communications and Marketing and double minoring in Leadership and Media Information. Gracie participates in a variety of clubs, like the Gopher Dairy Club on campus, while also finding time to serve as a nanny. Although Gracie did not grow up on a dairy farm, her opportunity through the lease program developed her passion for the dairy industry. Showing Brown Swiss heifers is her favorite that has brought about many amazing experiences for her. Aside from showing dairy cattle, Gracie enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and visiting Disney World! When asked, Gracie stated her favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is making connections and forming relationships with consumers.
Representing Wright County
Katherine Hills is the daughter of Karl Hills and Nicole Hills. She attends the University of Minnesota Crookston where she studies Animal Science and Equine Science with a Pre-Veterinary Emphasis. Her involvement in the dairy industry began on her grandparents’ dairy farm where she would help with chores when she was younger. Her favorite memory on the farm is all the fun and conversations that were had during milking. Aside from dairy farming, she enjoys reading and country swing dancing! Katherine’s favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is through community events like Breakfast on the Farm! Because of the support from her Grandpa Allen, family, and friends, she decided to run for Princess Kay and is excited to have her head carved in butter!
Representing Rice County
Emma Kuball is the daughter of Nate and Shannon Kuball. She attends the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she is studying Agriculture Education. Emma grew up on her family’s dairy farm in rural Waterville and represents the 6th generation on her family’s farm. She loves to help with calf chores and to learn new skills on the dairy farm. Growing up, she was involved in 4-H where she participated in showing Holsteins, her favorite dairy breed. Aside from farm life, Emma enjoys reading, journaling, and baking. Being a Princess Kay finalist was a dream of Emma’s since she was a little girl, and she is excited for the opportunity to continue advocating for the industry through this program. Emma’s sister was also a finalist in 2021, which makes this a special moment for Emma to share with her sister!
Representing Olmsted County
Anne Simpson is the daughter of Jeff and Cheryl Simpson. She is currently attending Iowa State University and studying Animal Science. Her love for the industry started by helping her grandparents raise heifers and showing them through the lease program. Her favorite memory was receiving Grand Champion honors at the Olmstead County Fair. Aside from the dairy industry, Anne enjoys listening to music, showing meat goats, and going for drives with her dog. Anne’s favorite way to advocate for the dairy community is by connecting with attendees at Breakfast on the Farm. Anne’s inspiration to run for Princess Kay was her mother, as she was also a Princess Kay finalist during her time, and hearing about her experiences left a special impression on Anne.
Representing Winona County
Riley Ward is the daughter of Randy and Minnie Ward. This fall she will be attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she will be studying Economics. Riley grew up on her family’s custom heifer raising facility where they raise day old calves until they are 5 months old. Their farm is constantly evolving and improving animal care, going from automatic feeders to a milk taxi, and then building a new barn that bests support new automatic feeding systems. Aside from farming, Riley enjoys reading, sewing, and hiking! Her favorite way to advocate for the dairy industry is interacting with consumers. For example, she loves educating about the connection between athletes and chocolate milk, youth and ice cream, and adults with the benefits of consuming dairy products!