The look on Reegan Domagala’s face as the Lewis County Dairy Princess was announced the winner of the 2019 New York State Dairy Princess Pageant says it all. Since that moment, and for the past year, Reegan has helped raise awareness for the dairy industry, the hard work our dairy farmers do 365 days a year and the important nutritional value of milk and dairy products. She’ll relinquish her crown to the pageant’s next winner, chosen on February 18, 2020. In a Q & A session, Reegan was asked about her reign and what’s next for her.
Q: Animal care, environmental stewardship and the nutritional value of dairy products are the three main focuses that Dairy Princesses promoteâ€¦ which of those resonated most with you and why?
Reegan: These three key messages are all very important and essential for the public to know. If I had to choose one of these three that have resonated with me the most, I would have to choose the nutritional value of dairy products. More than ever, people are more curious and concerned with what they are eating and drinking. When consumers understand that milk has nine essential vitamins and minerals in it, and it is very beneficial for their diets, they are more likely to continue loving dairy products.
Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing during your year as the New York State Dairy Princess?
Reegan: Participating in Fill a Glass with Hope®, which helps provide fresh milk to food banks. The charitable milk donation program was started by Pennsylvania dairy farmers in 2015 and introduced last year in New York. I attended an event to promote the program in June at Clifton Park, New York, with American Dairy Association North East, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball, Price Chopper/Market 32, and New York Jets alum Tony Richardson. I remember feeling very proud that day because I was advocating for an industry that gives back to those in need. The dairy industry is constantly trying to help others in need, and I am very proud to be a part of it.
Q: How has your life changed over the last year?
Reegan: It’s changed for the better. I have never made so many connections and friendships through an opportunity like this before. American Dairy Association North East has created a wonderful program for young women to share their passion for the dairy industry and advocate for dairy farmers. All while meeting new people and traveling across New York State. I am so thankful for this opportunity because over the past year, I have gained more experience and expanded my horizons more than ever.
Q: Now that your reign is nearing its end, what’s next?
Reegan: My passion for dairy remains and I don’t envision that ever changing. I’ll just be promoting dairy in an “unofficial” capacity moving forward. Growing up and living on my family’s dairy farm, I know first-hand the hard work and determination dairy farmers have. I look forward to continuing my education and earning my degree in communication studies at SUNY Cortland, so that I can make a career out of advocating for the dairy industry. My year as the New York State Dairy Princess may be over, but the lessons and experience I have gained from it, will stay with me forever.
Reegan addresses the crowd on the importance of chocolate milk for athletes during the 2019 NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball championship. She and the other dairy princesses handed out milk and did a t-shirt toss. Reegan says the experience was highlighted when she got to meet Coach Jim Boeheim.
Reegan’s Top 5 Most Memorable Moments as New York State Dairy Princess
- Meeting Syracuse University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball State Championships
- Handing out ribbons and awards at the Spring Show Carousel.
- Speaking in front of numerous state legislators at Dairy Day at the Capitol Building.
- Helping to reveal the 2019 NYS Fair Butter Sculpture.
- Being a part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 event with former New York Jets player Tony Richardson at the NBT Bank Stadium.
Reegan and dairy farmer Joel Riehlman, of Venture Farms in Fabius, N.Y., participated in the Butter Sculpture unveiling at the New York State Fair. Their photo landed them in Times Square in New York City!