A passion for the dairy industry runs in the family of Makenzie Neves, who on Thursday was crowned in front of an audience of more than 300 people as the 2015 Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Board’s District 6.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve the dairy industry,” said Neves. “It has been such a large part of not only my own life, but my entire family’s life. The dairy industry has done so much for us as a whole and I look forward to serving the dairy community.”
Neves said she was originally inspired to vie for the title of Dairy Princess by her grandfather’s passion for the dairy industry, which was exemplified when he started his own dairy after he emigrated from the Azores.
“He taught me that it was important to work hard and be passionate about something,” said Neves. “He always showed me how important it was to love what I was doing.”
Neves is a recent graduate of Turlock High School and plans to attend California State University, Sacramento in the fall to major in communications and public relations. She has been participating in 4-H since 2006 showing dairy cattle and has served as chapter president. Neves was also a Future Farmers of America member where she was on the dairy judging team and served as chapter secretary.
Her academic achievements include National Society of High School Scholars, California State Farmer Degree, California Scholarship Federation, and being chosen as FFA Winter Princess in 2014.
Former District 6 Dairy Princess Deena Migliazzo turned over the title to Neves on Thursday, signifying the end of her reign. Migliazzo wished Neves well in her endeavor to represent the California dairy industry throughout the upcoming year.
As the newly crowned Dairy Princess, Neves will represent District 6, which includes Alameda, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties by making a number of appearances at schools, fairs, industry meetings, service clubs and parades.
“She will be educating people about the dairy industry and promoting dairy products,” said event Chairperson Linda Teixeira in April. “She will essentially be a spokesperson for the dairy industry. She will be our voice.”
Upcoming Los Banos High School senior Hannah Young was awarded first alternate during the competition, as well as selected as Miss Vitality. Young will graduate next year and plans to attend University of Wisconsin-Madison to major in dairy science.
Laura DeRaadt, who attends Ripon Christian High School, was named second alternate during the Dairy Princess Competition. DeRaadt will graduate next year and plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo to major in food science.
During the gala event on Thursday, each participant received a scholarship based on academics and extracurricular activities by the District 6 Dairy Princess Committee.
As alternates, Young and DeRaadt will assist Neves with her duties, including speaking on behalf of the California dairy industry.
The newly crowned princess and her alternates will also participate in a week of training in San Francisco, an event that Teixeira refers to as “Princess Camp.” During this time, she will take part in industry tours, as well as receive presentation and etiquette training.
“I am looking forward to giving back to the dairy industry and the agricultural community that’s given so much to me and my family,” said Neves. “It is a privilege to educate the community and share my passion about the dairy industry.”