Jefferson County now has claim to the 2014 New York State Dairy Princess.
Casey S. Porter, daughter of Gregory G. and Lisa P. Porter, Watertown, was named the 51st state Dairy Princess Feb. 18 by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. She will continue to serve as Jefferson County Dairy Princess until her predecessor is crowned in May.
Having a dairy farmer, my dad, as one of my main role models since I was little, I feel so privileged to have this opportunity, Miss Porter said.
But for the South Jefferson High School senior, a certain moment at the state pageant was far more memorable than earning the crown.
My father almost lost his life over the summer, but he persevered and was even able to escort me at the Dairy Princess Pageant, Miss Porter said.
In late July, Mr. Porter was critically injured when he was run over by a cattle trailer. He suffered 16 broken ribs, a broken hip and collapsed pelvic bones on both sides. He spent six weeks at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse.
Miss Porter said the incident put a drastic halt on her then-duties as Jefferson County princess. She expressed her gratitude to her court for going on in her absence.
But her fathers recovery inspired her.
His determination and strength in all of this was incredible, and motivated me to promote the industry that we were both so passionate about to the best of my ability, the 17-year-old said.
She recalled in-depth conversations with her father about the dairy industry. He assisted her in preparing for the state pageant.
We talked about the current obstacles facing the dairy industry and promotion of dairy products, the 50th county Dairy Princess said. I feel so fortunate to have him to talk to and that both he and my mom are so supportive of me.
Miss Porter took office as county Dairy Princess May 10 of last year, following former princess Kristia Otey. Her primary duties consisted of classroom trips, attending local parades and promoting the dairy industry. As the state princess, she will attend larger functions, including the State Fair. She will also attend this years Fuel Up to Play 60 event at the Buffalo Bills Stadium, Orchard Park.
The senior has always had a love of farming, growing up on Porterdale Farms Inc. She raises a small herd of Jersey cattle and feeds pre-weaned calves. As a child, her lone vacations were going to the Jefferson County Fair.
When I was little, I used to grab the hands of random fair-goers and drag them into the dairy tents, telling them that they just had to come pet my 4-H project calf, the Rodman resident said.
Once I was in high school I began noticing at the county fair and other places how uninformed the general public was about where their dairy products came from, she said.
After being approached by various past Dairy Princesses, she joined the Dairy Princess Court in 2012 as an ambassador. After that, she was hooked.
Miss Porter has also been a member of the South Jefferson FFA, the Jefferson County Junior Holstein Club and the Jefferson County 4-H Dairy Club, as well as the South Jefferson Key Club and Spanish Club.