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New Dairy Princess Crowned In District 6
D6 dairy princess

Sophia Vander Dussen of El Nido was selected as the 2018 Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) District 6. The crowning took place recently before a crowd of approximately 325 dairy industry members and their families and friends at Our Lady of Assumption Hall in Turlock.

Retiring Dairy Princess Makayla Toste ended her reign by turning over the title to Sophia and wished her well as she represents the California dairy industry throughout the coming year.

Sophia will represent District 6, which includes Alameda, Mariposa, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. As Dairy Princess, she will play an important role on the CMAB’s Communications Services team in meeting community relations objectives.

She is the daughter of Michael and Wendy Vander Dussen of El Nido. She is a fourth-generation dairy farmer and has been involved in both Chowchilla 4-H and Stone Ridge FFA, where she served as the chapter reporter. Sophia also participates in volleyball, soccer, basketball, swim and golf. She plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and major in agriculture business.

First Alternate, Caroline Lee, is the daughter of Ross and Gina Lee from Modesto. She is attending Modesto Junior College (MJC) and majoring in dairy science where she is active in the dairy science group. She was a member of the dairy judging team and competed at contests all over the United States. Caroline also served as the co-chair for the 2018 FFA Dairy Judging contest at the MJC Field Day. She plans to transfer to a four-year university after receiving her associates degree from MJC.

Caroline will assist the new District 6 Dairy Princess in her duties, which include speaking on behalf of the California dairy industry at schools, service clubs, with the media, and at numerous public events throughout the year.

In addition, the Dairy Princess and her Alternate will attend a training session with workshops on presentation development, promoting the California dairy industry and leadership and etiquette tools.

Along with the excitement of naming the new Dairy Princess, the District 6 Dairy Princess committee celebrated the 60th anniversary of the program and 32 past Dairy Princesses attended the event. The committee also awarded over $2,700 in scholarships to the four contestants. Finally, the contestants themselves voted for the Miss Vitality Award. This award is given to a young lady whom each contestant felt had the most spirit throughout the Dairy Princess experience; Caroline Lee was selected as Miss Vitality 2018.

The Master of Ceremonies for the contest was Frank Borba of Escalon. Contestants were judged on poise, personality, speaking ability, education and dairy background. Judges for the contest were Brad Barham of Hughson, Diane Coderniz Jackson of Fresno and Natalie Silva of Tracy. The event chairperson was Linda Teixeira. The Dairy Princess Contest was catered by Mike’s Branding Iron of Modesto, music was provided by Sounds in Motion of Modesto and the photographer for the evening was Stephanie Baker Photography of Turlock.

California is the nation’s leading milk producer. It also produces more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. Dairy products made with Real California Milk can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies that the products are made exclusively with milk produced on California dairy farms by California dairy farm families.

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s more than 1,300 dairy families. With headquarters in Tracy, the CMAB is one of the largest agricultural marketing boards in the United States. The CMAB executes advertising, public relations, research and retail and foodservice promotional programs on behalf of California dairy products that carry the Real California Milk seal throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information and to connect with the CMAB through social media, visit