By Kim Buddington
We’re just going to come and say it first off- the present and future of American agriculture is in great hands! Allow us to introduce you to Taylor Dawson of Ohio, an incredible young woman who has been busy proving to the world that wearing a crown, and showing cattle can absolutely go together.
Almost everyone is familiar with the pageant competitions that exist, such as Miss America. But have you heard about Miss Agriculture USA? According to the official website, “Miss Agriculture USA is a new Nonprofit organization that is about celebrating and promoting agriculture”(Miss Agriculture USA, 2019)!
Taylor is quite familiar with the program, as she holds the title of Ashland County Miss Agriculture USA for 2019. In April, she competed in the statewide contest. Thanks to getting her start in agriculture at the young age of eight, and now in college at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (OSU ATI), studying Agriculture Business Management, Taylor’s enthusiasm for farming only continues to grow.
She also donned another tiara before this experience, as Taylor was the 2017 Ashland County Junior Fair Queen. Last summer, Taylor got to travel around Ohio, visiting other county fairs as part of her reign. That was how she first got acquainted with the Miss Agriculture USA organization.
“I met Shannon Gallagher Wingert, National Queen Relations and Operations Manager, at the Wayne County Fair this past year,” Taylor explained.
This interaction got the ball rolling and encouraged Taylor to sign up to represent her county. Beyond having to secure some financial sponsorships prior to attending the state competition, as a queen, there isn’t a set list of things Taylor is required to do to promote agriculture around the county. It’s up to her to decide how to best spend her time.
Going and competing at the state level proved to be an amazing and memorable experience for Taylor. She was able to cultivate new friendships with other women there, all because of the common fire for agriculture that burns among them.
What areas were participants at the contest evaluated on?
During the two days that the state competition ran, county queens had eight different opportunities to strut their stuff. There were traditional pageant-like categories such as “Photogenic,” “Formal Wear,” and “Ag Wear.” Then there were others, as in an interview with the judges, giving an introduction to the audience, and a written essay. Participants also had the challenge of not only having to give a prepared speech but an impromptu one as well!
Taylor had the great honor of earning 2nd place in the photogenic division. But out of all these, what was her favorite category? “My favorite category was Ag Wear because I decided to dress up as an A2 Holstein cow to represent the dairy industry,” she said.
Awesome costume, what a great choice!
Did you know that women and girls of all ages are invited to participate in the Miss Agriculture USA contest? They really do have a division for everyone, eleven in total… starting with the Baby category, for the littlest farm girls, age 0-23 months… all the way up to Elite Ms., for any woman 31 years plus, wanting to AGvocate with passion.
It depends on where life takes her next, but Taylor would definitely consider competing again in the future.
She plans to graduate with her Associate Degree in the spring of 2020, and then manage a small agribusiness. She also has a special love for assisting FFA and 4-H youth members with their projects and helping them achieve success.
Taylor has a wealth of diverse experience behind her, which includes working with many livestock species. She’s well versed in milking cows and even knows a thing or two about processing and bottling that milk. Got questions about how to best show your lambs, beef cattle, or swine this fair season? Taylor’s got you covered!
This summer, she is keeping busy and interning locally with the Centerra Co-op.
Interested in following along with Taylor’s adventures as Ashland County Miss Agriculture USA? You’re invited to connect with her on Instagram at ashlandmissagricultureusa.
For complete info on becoming a queen for agriculture, visit the program website at http://www.missagricultureusa.org and follow them on Facebook. Thank you, Taylor, for sharing your story with us, and for being a bold proponent of the industry that feeds us all!
Program | United States. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.missagricultureusa.org/