Bradford County Dairy Princess Meredith Cole of Troy (top, back, left) staffs a dairy puzzle table at the Pennsylvania Farm Show with Somerset County Dairy Princess Carlie Knott. Meredith (above) worked at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Jan. 8, sharing her knowledge of farming and the importance of dairy to good diets with scores of guests checking out the event.
Story and Photos by Rick Hiduk
(originally published in the Daily Review)
The Dairy Promotion Corner at the Pennsylvania Farm Show is a popular stop for family members of all ages because they get to interact with dairy royalty, play games, learn about cows and dairy farming and win some prizes.
Diary Promotion team members from across the Commonwealth took turns staffing the station at the 108th PA Farm Show, which opened on Jan. 5 and runs through Saturday, Jan. 13. On Jan. 8, Meredith Cole, a graduate of Troy High School, was among at least four young women working with the Farm Show guests.
According to Carrie Anderson, program director of the Diary Promotion at the state level, more than 50 youths and adults take part in the public exchange during the course of the Farm Show. Pennsylvania has such a strong program that youths and advisors from Maryland also take part, working alongside their Pennsylvania counterparts and participating in training programs with them.
“It’s very well-received and always draws a crowd,” Anderson said of the Dairy Promotion Corner. For the children attending the Farm Show with their parents and grandparents, she added, “It’s a kid-to-kid experience. Sure, they see the princesses and the crowns, but they (visiting children) even connect with our youths who do not have crowns or Sashes yet.”
Though Meredith only recently became the Bradford County Dairy Princess, she has been on the dairy promotion team since she was eight years old, following in the footsteps of her sister, Emily, who served as Dairy Princess in 2018-19. Both are daughters of Toby and Jill Cole.
“The Dairy Promotion Program gives them leadership development and enhances their public speaking,” Anderson noted. “We have seminars to teach them how to share their knowledge of farming and the dairy industry, and this is a great opportunity for our youths to demonstrate what they’ve learned with the community.
“Being part of agriculture is a dream for me,” Meredith related. “So, after I graduated from high school, I stayed on the family farm.”
Meredith references the menagerie of animals her family cares for, which include cows, llamas, goats, chickens, and sheep, as an “Old MacDonald Farm.” She takes several animals around Bradford County to conduct petting zoos for children. “I think the kids like the calves the most,” she suggested. “They’re cute. They’re lively. And they’re interactive.”
Meredith is furthering her education through online college courses in dog training and is currently training two horses. “I’ve loved animals since I was a little girl, so I always knew that I’d be working with them in some way,” she stated.