Legacy of a Dutch Indiana Dairy Princess

Hi, this is Elles Niessen, a junior at Indiana University in the nursing program and the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess.  You’re probably wondering why a nursing student is your new Indiana Dairy Princess, but I have always lived on a farm.  I guess you can say that, “I was born and raised a dairy girl!” Born in 1990, in the Netherlands, my parents owned a dairy farm of 100 cows in Belgium, and when I was nine years old my family moved to Indiana to expand our farming business.  Now, we live in Lewisville, Indiana, with a herd of 2000 dairy cows and 1500 acres to farm.  Yes, I have had to haul manure, bottle feed calves, vaccinate cows and calves, bale hay and straw, and many more things on the dairy farm to help out!  However, I’m not complaining because farming has made me who I am today and that includes great work ethics.  But, in celebration of it being “What will be your legacy?” Month, I will share with you what I hope my legacy will be.

My legacy has started by being Indiana’s first Dutch Dairy Princess and a one of a kind type of girl.  It will continue by educating the public on where dairy farmers’ hearts truly stand, and in case you didn’t know, that’s by providing great animal care for their herds and producing a wholesome product for their community.  I will accomplish this task of educating consumers by using the campaign I have developed.  My “Dairy Go Green” campaign symbolizes three arrows resembling how dairy farmers have been and still are contributing to an evolving world headed towards a “Go Green” status.  I created my own logo for visual learners to represent each arrow in a dairy type of manner.  The first arrow stands for REDUCING the use of commercial fertilizer with natural manure, but dairy farmers are doing more than that.  They are also reducing all resources leading to a reduction in the carbon footprint which benefits the environment. The second arrow represents the REUSE of sand and water, benefiting the cows comfort levels.  The third arrow depicts RECYCLING bi-products from human food companies.  These products can be used for the dairy cows’ balanced and nutritious diet which a nutritionist analyzes monthly.  All of these factors of the “Dairy Go Green” campaign impact the cows’ diet, comfort levels, and animal care allowing them to produce high quality, fresh milk!

After leaving my mark with my “Dairy Go Green” campaign, I will continue my legacy by answering all consumer questions and being as helpful as I can in weakening myths and supporting facts.  In addition, I’ll work to clarify the truth in controversial dairy topics and build strong relationships with my community and the public.  I hope to be known for who I am and my talents by sharing my hands on personal experience.  If there is something I have not yet tried in the dairy industry, I’ll make every effort to do so in order that I can share that experience with others. For example, I had to try the fried butter at the Indiana State Fair!

Thank you to everyone who supports the dairy industry, and feel free to ask me any questions that you have in regards to what we do, how we do it, or why we do it!