State’s dairyland ambassador makes Walworth County stops before reign ends

By Vicky Wedig

Editor

Wisconsin’s 65th Alice in Dairyland made stops in Delavan on Friday as she winds down her reign as the state’s dairy industry promoter.

Rochelle Ripp, of Lodi, began her Walworth County tour Friday with a radio interview at WSLD in Whitewater followed by a stop at Sorg’s Quality Meats and Sausage in Darien and then stops at Delavan and Elkhorn schools.

Ripp talked to fourth-graders at Darien Elementary School about healthy food choices. The program, “Growing a Healthy Wisconsin,” included facts about agriculture in Wisconsin and how the state’s farmers and ranchers produce healthy products people eat every day.

At Phoenix Middle School, Ripp talked with students after they went through the lunch line to get a healthy treat of low-fat yogurt with strawberries, blueberries and granola. She also autographed and passed out posters that explained how chocolate milk can help refuel students’ bodies after strenuous activities.

In the afternoon, Ripp presented “Rethink Your Drink” to two of ag teacher Marty Speth’s classes at Delavan-Darien High School.

Ripp talked about the amount of sugar and lack of nutrients in many of the drinks teenagers choose such as soda and Red Bull compared with the nine nutrients found in milk.

The program aims to help high school students, who often buy their own food and beverages, realize how much unhealthy products can be found in foods including simple sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.

Many of those products are found in food that’s easy to access and popular among adolescents and high school students such as in vending machines.

“At that age, they have purchasing power,” she said.

Ripp ended her day in Delavan with a stop at Stallar Winery on County Road A where Joe and Wendy Staller showcased their 5-year-old wine-making operation.

Ripp said she has traveled 36,000 miles around the state since becoming the 65th Alice in Dairyland about a year ago. The 66th Alice in Dairyland, Kristin Olson, of Windsor, will take over as the state’s agriculture ambassador on June 3.

Ripp said she has enjoyed her time promoting the state’s agri-businesses but is looking forward to some weekends off when her reign ends.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said, as she prepared to spend Memorial Day weekend traveling to ag-related events including some of the season’s first dairy breakfasts.

Ripp said the most little-known Wisconsin agribusinesses she has promoted as Alice in Dairyland are the ginseng growers in the Wausau areas and the mink farms in Sheboygan County.

Each year, the Walworth County Dairy Promotion Committee arranges a visit from Alice in Dairyland to showcase different agri-businesses in the county, said committee Chairman Katy Katzman.

 

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