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May 18, 2014

A daily dairy diary begins

New princess to chronicle reigny days in scrapbook

— SELINSGROVE — Time for Lacey Smith to start a new scrapbook.

The daughter of Allen and Tammy Smith, of Lewisburg, was named the 39th SUN Area Dairy Princess on Saturday night at the SUN Area Ag Dairy Days in Penn Township.

The 19-year-old knows almost as much about agriculture and dairy farming as she does about representing those industries as Valley royalty. In 2012, she was chosen queen of the Union County West End Fair, and on came the speaking engagements about agriculture — and that first scrapbook with mementoes of those appearances.

“My scrapbook has 200 pages or more,” she said. Each item reflects “a specific event that I did. It’s completely full.”

It’s bound by cherry covers, on which “2012 Union County West End Fair Queen” is engraved by laser. That’s her name on the binding.

“When I get done looking at it, I think, ‘Man, I was busy,’” she said.

Not as busy — she will begin to tell people today — as dairy farmers.

“They don’t have it easy,” she said. “When people complain about going into the office from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, these farmers are working 24-7.

“When it’s time to have calves, they have to be willing to get up in middle of the night and check on those animals, so that the birthing is not difficult. They don’t get vacations. It’s 24-7, 365 days a year.”

Just ask Ashley Wetzel, the Freeburg area resident whose reign as Dairy Princess ended Saturday night.

“That’s one thing people don’t know about dairy farms,” said Wetzel, 19, a 2013 Selinsgrove Area High graduate and daughter of dairy farmers Tim and Denise Wetzel. “There is a lot of work involved. We don’t go out for Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving, because the cows have to be milked and taken care of.”

Milking takes place twice a day, every day, she said.

“We don’t get vacations or anything,” Wetzel said.

Her reign as Dairy Princess was something of a getaway.

Wetzel guessed that she appeared at 280 events in the past year promoting the dairy industry, at schools, fairs, festivals, meetings, banquets and in stores.

“That was the good part,” she said, “getting to miss out on the milking.”

As of today, it’s back to the farm for Wetzel and back into the public eye for Smith.

“I was very excited for the year because I knew there were a lot of dairy farmers looking up to me to do a good job,” Wetzel said. “I was proud to be crowned Dairy Princess.”

Smith, a 2012 Mifflinburg Area High graduate, will likely hear questions from children — and wily senior citizens — such as “Do brown cows produce chocolate milk?” Or “What cow produces strawberry milk?” Wetzel said.

Just because she wasn’t raised on a dairy farm doesn’t mean Smith will fall for the ruse.

“I have family that owned dairy farms,” she said. “I know the industry. I’ve milked a cow. My love for agriculture is why I get involved in these things. It was a good way promote to agriculture (as West End Fair Queen) and now, dairy, specifically so that people know where their food and clothing is coming from.”

But, Smith admits: “Wearing the crown and sash is fun.”

Which she will do today, the final day of the SUN Area Ag Dairy Days, her first day as princess and Page 1 of her new scrapbook.

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