The Washington state dairy ambassador contest will take place on June 24 in Arlington.

This program provides a professional and educational opportunity for young women. They serve as Washington’s ambassadors for milk and receive a generous college scholarship, internships and extensive communications training.

“It will soon be time to say good-bye and thank you to our 2016-2017 State Dairy Ambassador Alicia Smaciarz (Raymond) and State Alternates Jana Plagerman (Lynden) and Tiana Peterson (Graham),” said Tammi Schoenbachler, state ambassador adviser. “They have done a fantastic job representing the Dairy Farmers of Washington this past year and I’m sure they will continue to be lifelong advocates of our industry.”

The 2017 Washington State Dairy Ambassador Coronation will be June 24 at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington, Wash.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with the program beginning at 5:30. This year dinner will not be provided; instead there will be light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments served during a short intermission. Tickets purchased by June 16 will be adults $20, students $10, and under 6 years free. Tickets purchased after June 16 or at the door will be adults $25, students $15, under 6 still free.

Organizers say they are hoping these changes will make it easier for families, farmers and students to attend. For ticket information, please contact Gloria Edwards by email at gloria.wsdw@hotmail.com or 360-273-7313.

This year there are three contestants.

Juliana LeClair, from Skagit County, is the daughter of Joe and Annette LeClair of Mount Vernon, Wash. She will graduate from Mount Vernon Christian School this June.

Juliana has lived her whole life on her family’s dairy farm feeding calves, doing field work and other chores.

She has been a member of the Sunshine Dairy 4-H Club for 9 years and has completed 14 dairy projects, held club offices, won top showmanship awards and was selected as a state delegate to the National 4-H Dairy Conference.

In 2015, Juliana was selected as the 2015-16 Washington State Jersey Queen Alternate. She plans to attend Washington State University to pursue a degree in agricultural and food business economics with a minor in animal sciences.

Juliana would like to own her own dairy and have it open to the public to see how their food is produced.

Claire Leininger, from Whatcom County, is the daughter of Erik and Paula Leininger of Everson, Wash. She will graduate from Nooksack Valley High School this June.

As a young girl, Claire had the opportunity help at her grandparents’ farm where they raised replacement heifers. Her father also works at a local dairy where she was able to visit frequently.

Learning from these early experiences and with a passion for dairy, Claire was able to secure a job at a local dairy. She has responsibilities that include milking, cleaning stalls, moving cows, heat detecting and herd health.

Claire plans on attending Whatcom Community College to attain her associate degree. She then plans to attend Trinity Western Washington University to study Catholic theology.

Claire would like to have her own small farm to raise replacement heifers and have a job as a Catholic youth minister.

Anna Teachman, from King and Pierce counties, is the daughter of Michael and Lorilyn Teachman of SeaTac.

She has taken classes through Global Connections High School and Valley View Academy, where she will graduate in June.

Anna did not grow up on a dairy, but has had a deep interest in dairy cows since she was very young. She joined the Barn Buddies 4-H Club in 2012 and has projects in dairy, rabbits, dogs, cavies and performing arts. She has exhibited her projects at both county and state fairs, winning top awards.

Anna was selected as a state delegate to the National 4-H Dairy Conference and the National 4-H Dairy Conference Planning Committee where she will help with planning the 2017 conference.

She plans to attend Washington State University to pursue degrees in animal sciences and strategic communications with a career goal of a communications position with a dairy company or organization.

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