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Farming and family go hand in hand for PK finalist Paskewitz

By Carol Stender
cstender@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 08/30/2013 1:17 PM

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BROWERVILLE, Minn. — Dairying and family go hand in hand for Princess Kay finalist Sarah Paskewitz.

Her grandparents, Bob and Phyllis, live just 100 yards behind the Browerville farmsite where her parents, Bruce and Sandy, milk 54 cows in a tie-stall barn.

Grandpa Bob taught school and operated the dairy. Her uncle, Lee, operates a dairy farm just seven miles down the road. It's quite common for the generations to get together on an almost daily basis.

Paskewitz and her older sister, Emily, have been involved in telling the family's farming story. Emily also was a Todd County dairy princess and was a Princess Kay finalist in 2006.

Paskewitz remembers attending the banquet when her sister was named a finalist. She saw the number of people that heard the dairy message from Emily and she wanted to do the same.

She was a Todd County Junior Ambassador from ninth to 11th grade. Paskewitz learned about promoting the dairy industry through the program.

For the past two years, she's served as a Todd County dairy princess.

She's in her 13th and final year in 4-H. Paskewitz credits her 4-H projects and leadership roles with giving her the skills that have been key as she's talked to others about the dairy industry.

Paskewitz and her cousins are members of the A-1 4-H Club in Todd County. She's enrolled in both non-livestock and livestock projects and has been on the county's 4-H federation officer team — three years as secretary and one year as president. She's led livestock training for younger 4-H'ers, attended Gopher Dairy Camp and has given demonstrations at the county and state fair.

"Doing the demonstrations has been huge," she said. "It not only taught me about speaking in front of people, but I was also able to share with people dairy information."

Paskewitz has taken her dairy message with her to college. The Staples High School graduate has completed her first year of college at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Although the college is known for its agriculture courses, there were many who didn't know about the dairy industry in the athletic department where she worked. It was an opportunity for Paskewitz to talk about dairy products and nutrition as well as inform people about dairy.

Her sister gave her tips about the contest and Paskewitz read dairy magazines and conducted internet research to learn more about the industry.

The speech she gave to the May Event judges started with a familiar song. It was the tune to the Green Acres TV show. Paskewitz told the judges how dairy farmers are farming sustainably and "green" as some install methane digesters, use manure to fertilize their fields and care for their herds.

As she prepared to leave for the weekend contest, her mom gave her a card encouraging Paskewitz and telling her to "enjoy the ride."

She is, said Paskewitz.