Hain first from Cerro Gordo County to hold state dairy title
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 08/13/2012 1:10 PM
CHARLES CITY, Iowa —Heidi Hain, Iowa Alternate Dairy Princess, distributed ribbons during the dairy show at the recent Floyd County Fair in Charles City.
Her whole family was there. Siblings Tony, 13, and Kelly, 15, were showing for FFA. Maggie, 11, and Jesse, 9, and her mom and dad, Jo and Doug, helped with the cattle.
"When someone is showing, the whole family gets involved," Hain said.
The week before the Floyd County Fair, the family showed cattle at the Cerro Gordo County Fair and Hain, 20, ran all the cattle shows. She is summer youth intern for Cerro Gordo County Extension, and she also works at Four Oaks, a residential treatment facility.
As far as Hain can tell, she's the first person from Cerro Gordo County to be either Iowa Dairy Princess or Alternate Princess.
With just four dairy herds in the county, Hain said people don't understand dairy farming.
Hain didn't know there was such a thing as a dairy princess until she attended an Iowa Holstein Association Spring Show in West Union and saw the Iowa Dairy Princess.
"I thought that was pretty sweet, but didn't really think much more about it until the Cerro Gordo Extension County youth coordinator encouraged me to run for dairy princess," she said.
Hain is glad she did.
"There were so many awesome girls," Hain said. "This year I got to be good friends with Jessie Hammerand. She's so helpful. Bev and Kent Lehs and Jill Hefel with Midwest Dairy Association (sponsors of the princess program) have been wonderful."
Hain's family milks 40 cows in a double-six herringbone parlor south of Nora Springs. Their dairy herd consists of Milking Shorthorns, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss and Holsteins.
When Hain was in high school, she did calf chores, sometimes by flashlight when she returned home from track meets at 11:30 p.m. Now that she's in college, she helps out where needed.
Hain graduated from Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock High School and was in 4-H, FFA and nearly every other extracurricular activity available. This spring she graduated from North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City with an associate's degree. Hain will attend Iowa State University this fall and major in ag and life science education with a communications option.
As Iowa Alternate Dairy Princess, Hain has participated in multiple on-farm dairy events and the dairy proclamation signing at the Iowa Capitol. Her first pitch at the I-Cubs game in Des Moines was a strike.
"I almost lost my crown in the process," she said with a grin. "I think what stands out for me at all these events is the facial expressions of the people we were educating about dairy farming. You could see the amazement and awe. Honestly, that is irreplaceable."
Hain counts 2008 Iowa Dairy Princess Katie Steinlage of West Union as a mentor.
"She was the biggest help with princess stuff from telling me what to wear to how to keep the crown on my head," Hain said.
Hain is glad she grew up on a dairy farm.
"My parents taught me that in order to succeed, you have to keep doing it, keep trying, put a lot of your time into it," Hain said. "That carried over into cross country and track."