Maybrook resident Gabby Miyoshi claimed her role as Orange County Dairy Princess, in which she will promote the dairy industry to the public and act as a facilitator to local farmers.
The Orange County Dairy Princess program requires contestants to give a speech, give a presentation on a school program they create and answer questions. Contestants are judged by their presentations, speeches and answers, and the winner is crowned.
Miyoshi will participate in various American Dairy Association and Dairy Council and 4H events, such as the chocolate run in New Windsor, open house on the farm and bountiful harvest in Otisville.
She will also organize school programs, such as Fuel to Play 60, which promotes 60 minutes of physical activity and three servings of milk a day. Another program is Fuel Up with Chocolate Milk, where athletes are taught about the health benefits of chocolate milk after a workout.
“I’m basically working on the county level to spread the word about the industry,” Miyoshi said.
She was first introduced to the dairy industry six years ago when she joined 4-H. Her involvement with the Diary Explorers program sparked her interest in the industry.
She keeps two cows at Sprucegate Holsteins: Sunnie, a brown Jersey, and Bree, a black and white Holstein. She gives barn tours, feeds animals, scrapes pens, brings in the cows and more as part of her daily workload on the farm.
Her favorite thing in the world is her cows.
“I love my cows. My cows are more than anything else in this world; they’re like having a second-best friend,” Miyoshi said. “I don’t see them as my pets; I see them as my equals because they’re incredibly intelligent and they form emotional attachments.”
Miyoshi said the Orange County Dairy Princess Program has developed her communication and social skills and lessened her social anxiety.
“Without it I don’t think I’d be the person I am today,” Miyoshi said. “I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done.”
She said she enjoys learning about where her food comes from and wants to educate others about the industry. Diary farmers are incredibly hard workers, Miyoshi said, and they don’t get vacation days or sick time.
Miyoshi wants to educate others about the struggles that dairy farmers face. Some farms are being forced out of business as costs of production rise and milk prices fail to keep pace.
“I want to work with the public and connect everyone with the farmers so that they know what’s going on so that maybe we can stop it while it’s happening and to make our situation a little better,” Miyoshi said.
The junior at Valley Central High School plans to enter college to study food science with a minor in dairy. She wants to work with product development in the dairy industry, specifically finding strains of milk that are safe for lactose intolerant individuals.
The Orange County Dairy Program is made possible through the support of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, local planning and management organizations, and is funded by dairy farmers’ check-off dollars.
To learn more about the Orange County Dairy Princess program, visit Orange County Dairy Promotion on Facebook