Whoever said that one should not cry over spilled milk has obviously never served as a dairy ambassador.
Luckily, Alicia Smaciarz, the dairy ambassador for all of Washington, has plenty of experience with cows and their prized wholesome sustenance, so she understands exactly how important it is to keep the milk clean and in the pail.
Smaciarz, 18, Menlo, was the Lewis County Dairy Ambassador in 2015, and this year she stepped her game up to become the dairy ambassador for the entirety of the Evergreen State, reported The Chronicle.
As the county ambassador, Smaciarz had plenty of tasks. She gave talks in local classrooms, where she extolled the virtues of milk as well as those who work in the dairy industry. She was also responsible for handing out WIAA awards to high school state champions. That job sent her to the track championships twice, and to the Tacoma Dome for the penultimate contests of high school football, volleyball, gymnastics and basketball.
Smaciarz graduated from Willapa Valley High School this year. With high school behind her, she is looking forward to the expanded responsibilities of being the statewide dairy ambassador.
"Being the ambassador is now my full-time job so I'll put off college for a year and work with the Dairy Council," explained Smaciarz after collecting a grand champion ribbon for her dairy heifer at the Southwest Washington Fair in August.
Smaciarz was named the state's dairy ambassador on June 25 after a three-day contest in Tacoma. In order to garner the title Smaciarz had to prove her history of being involved in the dairy industry and community.
She also had to traverse a trail of applications and interviews and was required to give a speech during the coronation contest.
Of course, Smaciarz came out the other end of the contest smelling like fresh cream because the dairy life is the only life she's ever known. Alicia has also shown animals in her local 4-H chapter for 11 years and in FFA for four years, so she comes by her depth of dairy knowledge naturally.
"I was born and raised on a dairy farm and I still work on it," said Smaciarz.
"Sometimes at 4 a.m.," chimed in her mother, Lana Smaciarz.
While she comes from an agriculture rich area, Smaciarz says not everybody understands why she takes milk so seriously.
"A couple of my friends do because they show also, but others have no idea," said Smaciarz.
As the ambassador, her job is to bridge those gaps in understanding with as many folks as possible, especially children who wouldn't normally be exposed to the who, what, when, where and why of dairy farming.
Smaciarz's new full-time position will send her to hundreds of classrooms across the state, including urban schools where the students likely have not been exposed to the realities of where the milk in their tiny cardboard cartons comes from.
She will also hand out awards and acted as the master of ceremonies of the big time 4-H Fashion Revue.
Perhaps her most important responsibility will be speaking to the Washington state Legislature.
"I tell them why it's important to consume dairy products," said Smaciarz.
Like any convincing lobbyist, Smaciarz says she will be sure to bring gifts for the politicians. In this case she will grease the wheels with ice cream and cheese so that she can shake a lot of hands and make friends more easily.
"I take around positive news and if they have any questions they can ask me," explained Smaciarz.
Once her duties as dairy ambassador are over Smaciarz plans on attending college. Then she wants to come back home and raise replacement heifers for the family farm.
It seems the milk business is something that is in your blood.
"Both of my sisters ran for ambassador and I've been involved in the dairy industry my whole life. It's just nice to represent it because it's been such a big part of my life," noted Smaciarz. "I think the best part would be meeting so many people but especially the little kids because they are so cute and they always have such great questions."
For those who may be interested in becoming a dairy ambassador one day themselves, Smaciarz says it is best to contact your local Dairy Women chapter, 4-H or FFA leaders or the state Dairy Council.