(Syracuse, N.Y.) February 16, 2021

Shelby Benjamin from Chenango County was crowned the 2021-2022 New York State Dairy Princess on February 16th during a virtual ceremony live-streamed from the Embassy Suites by Hilton Syracuse Destiny USA in Syracuse, New York. Having served as the Chenango County Dairy Princess since spring of 2020, Benjamin will devote an additional year to promoting milk and dairy products with American Dairy Association North East (ADANE).

As state princess, she receives a $1,200 scholarship and will serve as a dairy industry ambassador and spokesperson, advocating for dairy farmers by engaging with and educating consumers on the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy foods, how farmers care for their cows and their land in order to produce a sustainable product, and the importance of the dairy industry to the State’s economy. She will also play an integral role in the training and mentoring of new county dairy princesses.

Holly Niefergold from Erie County was named first Alternate State Princess, and Elizabeth Hyman from Jefferson County was selected as second Alternate State Princess. They receive a $700 scholarship and $600 scholarship, respectively. Both young women will assist the New York State Dairy Princess with training, appearances and other duties.

While the typical role of a dairy princess is to work with ADANE at a variety of special events, including local dairy princess pageants, farmer meetings, state and county fairs, school visits, and sampling dairy products at grocery stories, COVID-19 altered many of those responsibilities. With an increase in need for food assistance due to the pandemic, dairy princesses played an important role promoting milk distribution events organized by ADANE and assisted in handing out milk and dairy foods at various local events.

Eleven county dairy princesses competed in the state pageant, which included a personal interview, impromptu questions, a prepared adult speech, a product knowledge exam, writing skills test, and informal interaction with others. Judges evaluated the contestants on their communication skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality.

Pageant judges were: Haley Groat, Lutz Feed Company and Heidi Kovalewski, Onondaga County Dairy Promotion Coordinator.

Sponsored by ADANE, the 58th annual coronation completed the yearlong reign of Natalie Vernon of Wayne County.


About American Dairy Association North East (ADANE)

American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council® and the regional consolidation of three promotion organizations including the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. Committed to nutrition education and research-based communications, ADANE provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Funded by dairy checkoff dollars from nearly 10,000 dairy farm families in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and northern Virginia, ADANE works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™ to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the North East region.