Just like the dairy industry itself, New York's annual Dairy Princess Pageant found a way to persevere even in the midst of a pandemic. We couldn't come to the pageant, so the American Dairy Association North East brought the pageant to us through a livestream on their Facebook page.

The 58th annual pageant was held over a two day period at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Syracuse Destiny USA. Chenango County Dairy Princess, Shelby Benjamin was crowned the 2021-2022 New York State Dairy Princess. Holly Niefergold from Erie County was named first Alternate and Elizabthy Hyman from Jefferson County was selected as second Alternate.

As state princess, Benjamin receives a $1,200 scholarship and will serve as a dairy industry ambassador and spokesperson. She'll spend the next year educating consumers on the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy foods, how farmers care for their cows and their land in order to produce a sustainable product, and the importance of the dairy industry to the State’s economy. She will also play an integral role in the training and mentoring of new county dairy princesses.

As alternates, Nierfergold receives a $700 scholarship and Hyman a $600 scholarship. Both will assist the State Dairy Princess with training, appearances and other duties. Those duties grew in the last year with the Princess and her alternates assisting with the many food and milk distribution events organized by ADANE.

Eleven county Dairy Princesses competed in the state pageant, the ladies were judged on their communication skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise, and personality as they went through interviews, impromptu questions, a prepared speech, a product knowledge exam, writing skills, and informal interaction with others. Here are the winners from each category.

Speech Winners - Shelby Benjamin – Chenango Co. Amy Gokey – Franklin Co. Elizabeth Hyman – Jefferson Co.

Written Communications Winners - Elizabeth Hyman – Jefferson Co. Gabriella Miyoshi – Orange Co. Kailey Kuhn – Wayne Co.

Product Knowledge Award - Amy Gokey – Franklin Co. Gabriella Miyoshi – Orange Co. Taylor Bonoffski – Oswego Co.

Finalists - Shelby Benjamin – Chenango Co. Holly Niefergold – Erie Co. Amy Gokey – Franklin Co. Elizabeth Hyman – Jefferson Co. Cara Walker – Ontario Co. Taylor Bonoffski – Oswego Co. Kailey Kuhn – Wayne Co.

2nd Alternate: Elizabeth Hyman, Jefferson County, Belleville Henderson Central School, Junior

1st Alternate: Holly Niefergold, Erie County, North Collins Jr/Sr High School, Sophomore

2021 – 2022 NYS Dairy Princess: Shelby Benjamin, Chenango County, SUNY Morrisville, Graduate Student


2021 New York Dairy Princess

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