Around the Cheese Board with Alice in Dairyland: 2012


by Wisconsin Cheese

Already hard at work as the 65th Wisconsin Alice in Dairyland, Rochelle Ripp has been eagerly traveling throughout the state, promoting and educating people about Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. We were excited to take some time to get to know Ripp while she talked to us about Wisconsin’s dairy industry and what it means to be Alice in Dairyland. Lucky for us, she also supplied her “Cheesy Party Potatoes” recipe, the perfect addition to a Wisconsin summer cookout.

On being Alice in Dairyland:
While studying agriculture abroad in the Netherlands my final semester of college, I developed a deep appreciation for Wisconsin agriculture and everything we have to offer. We have so many great products grown and raised in Wisconsin, not just for us to enjoy locally, but also to share in the foreign markets. Through conversations with fellow international students, I realized this more and more, and that’s when I knew I wanted to be Alice in Dairyland.

On Wisconsin’s dairy industry:
I think our Wisconsin dairy community will continually find new practices and ways of improving our $26.5 billion dairy impact. We will continue to provide high-quality products, do more with less, efficiently utilize our resources, and closely manage all inputs and outputs on the farm – from feed intake to manure management. We will remain stewards of the land and exhibit proactive animal care and welfare.

On representing the Wisconsin dairy industry:
I enjoy communicating with consumers on a personal level. I want them to know that their food doesn’t come from a grocery store, that there’s a farmer and a farm family, and a process to get that food to their table. Representing Wisconsin agriculture and our strong dairy community is a passion of mine, and a commitment that I will keep, even after my year as Alice. This position allows me to give back to a community that has given me so much and to pay it forward to future generations.

A background in agriculture:
I grew up on my family’s dairy and crop farm in Lodi. I was very involved in 4-H, showing animals at the Lodi Agricultural and Dane County Fairs. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2009 with an agribusiness degree, with an emphasis in marketing. After graduation, I had worked at Filament Marketing to promote agricultural products, services and initiatives, such as the recently launched WhyAg campaign to build awareness of careers in agriculture. I also chair the Dane County Farm Bureau’s Ag Promotions Committee, planning events to educate urban and rural consumers about Wisconsin agriculture.

Goals while serving as Alice in Dairyland:
While Alice, I am most looking forward to consumer outreach. I will be headed into middle and high school classrooms across the state to teach growing children and young adults how to eat healthy to fuel their growing bodies. I’m also passionate about sharing the career opportunities available in agriculture, a growing and rewarding field of work.

Plans after Alice:
I envision a lifetime of promoting agriculture, whether that’s working on the farm firsthand or working on behalf of the people in the agriculture community – who each have a hand in feeding you and I.

Favorite summer dairy treat:
There’s always a little room for ice cream!

Favorite Wisconsin Cheese(s):
I love a lot of Wisconsin Cheeses so this is hard…Meister’s Eagle Cave Reserve White Cheddar is pretty awesome. They were one of the agribusiness tours we took during the Alice in Dairyland finals, and we got to see (and smell) the “cave” this cheese matured in.

Cheesy Party Potatoes
by Rochelle, the 2012 Alice in Dairyland6-8 medium sized uncooked potatoes, peeled and cubed (you can use frozen hashbrowns, but cut back to 1 cup of milk then)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Wisconsin Cheese – your favorite kind
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cornflakes, crushed
1/4 cup melted butterPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first seven ingredients. Pour in a buttered 9×13 inch pan. Mix cornflakes and melted butter. Sprinkle topping mixture over ingredients in pan. Bake for 1 hour.