Hammerand living dream as Iowa Dairy Princess
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 08/13/2012 1:10 PM
EPWORTH, Iowa —Jessica Hammerand's godmother and aunt, Jeannie Domeyer of Delhi, was Iowa Dairy Princess in 1995.
While watching her aunt educate people about the dairy community in her sash and crown, Hammerand, then a little girl, dreamed of some day doing the same thing.
"Luckily, I was able to reach my goal," she said during an interview at her family's farm near Epworth.
Hammerand, 20, has been busy as Iowa Dairy Princess, and she plans to keep up the pace until her reign ends Aug. 31. So far, she has traveled 6,800 miles attending to princess duties, and that's not counting local events.
Her first promotion was working with 600 Waterloo elementary students at the National Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo.
"For a lot of them, it was the first time they saw a dairy cow," she said.
She assisted at the Iowa Junior Holstein Convention in Dyersville, and attended lots of county dairy banquets. She took part in a Fuel Up to Play 60 event at the University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium. In May, she visited 35 schools in the Dubuque area and talked to 900 students.
In June she served ice cream at the Capitol when Gov. Terry Branstad signed a Dairy Month proclamation and attended on-farm dairy events at Iowa State University, Hull, Calmar and Bellevue.
She was at the Dubuque County Fair last week, handing out ribbons, working at the dairy booth and helping with the kiddie calf show. She gave chocolate and white milk to RAGBRAI riders passing through Ellsworth from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. July 25 and was back at the fair by noon for Kids Day.
Next week, it's the state princess contest followed by six days at the Iowa State Fair.
Hammerand will be a junior at ISU where she is majoring in dairy science and biology and wants a job working the dairy industry.
Hammerand and her parents, Tammy and Jeff, milk 145 cows with Jeff's brother, Jerry, at Sherrill, a 16 mile trip. The family moved their cows there after a fire destroyed their barn in 2005. The calves, heifers and dry cows are at the home farm. They have 50 registered Holsteins and Brown Swiss with an additional 50 head of young stock. Hammerand owns five Holsteins and 10 Brown Swiss.
Her parents are her mentors.
"They got me involved in the dairy industry," she said. "Mom and Dad gave me my first registered Holstein when I was about two months old, and Santa brought me my first Brown Swiss when I was seven.
"She has traveled to most events this summer with Iowa Alternate Dairy Princess Heidi Hain of Nora Springs.
"I didn't know Heidi before, but we've become great friends," Hammerand said. "I'm also really grateful to Kent and Bev Lehs and Jill Hefel at Midwest Dairy Association."
Hammerand said she's enjoyed everything about her reign.
"If I could be Iowa Dairy Princess for the rest of my life, it would be the best thing ever," Hammerand said.