Wayne County dairy youth recognized


Sara Wolf (left) was first runner-up for Jr. dairy princess, Diane Gress (center) was named princess, and Dani Ballinger (right) was named Jr. Dairy Princess.
Susan Mykrantz

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SMITHVILLE, Ohio — Diane Gress was crowned as the 2012 Wayne County dairy princess during the annual banquet of the Wayne County Dairy Service Unit.

Gress, 17, is the daughter of Joe and Lisa Gress of Shreve. Diane is a junior at Triway High School and takes post-secondary classes at OSU ATI. At Triway, she is involved in FFA and German Club.

Diane lives and works on Spring Run Farms in Shreve. Her duties on the farm include feeding the bottle calves, milking, helping with herd checks, vaccinations, classifications, raking and mowing hay and straw.

Many activities

Diane is involved in dairy skillathon, dairy judging, dairy quiz bowl and dairy management contests.

She shows cattle at the Wayne County and Ohio State Fairs. Diane is also involved in 4-H and in 2010 received the State 4-H Dairy Award.
She also won the Ag is Cool video contest sponsored by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and wrote and edited the winning video in recognition of National Ag Day. She plans to pursue a career in Agricultural Communications or Graphic Design after graduation.

Danielle Ballinger was selected as the 2011 Junior Dairy Princess. She is 11 years old and is the daughter of Jeff and Cathy Ballinger of Wooster. Dani is a student at Northwestern Elementary. She is involved in dairy quiz bowl, dairy judging, basketball, softball and track.

She is a member of the Blue Ribbon Dairy 4-H Club and is in her third year of showing dairy animals. She enjoys showing cows, drawing, swimming, fishing and deer hunting. Sara Wolf was named the 2012 Junior Dairy Princess runner-up. Sara, 12, is the daughter of Tim & Erica Wolf and attends Shreve Elementary.

Farm chores

She helps take care of calves at her family farm, Spring Run Farms. Sara is a member of Clinton Lads and Lassies 4-H Club and participates in 4-H Dairy Judging. She has shown Ayrshires at the Ohio State Fair as well as the Wayne County Fair. Sara was the 2011 Junior Dairy Princess runner-up.

Tessa Topp was named as the Wayne County Outstanding Dairy Youth and the recipient of the Dairy Service Unit Scholarship. Tessa is the daughter of Kurt and Rachel Topp of ToppGlen Farms, Wooster.

She is a member of Northwestern FFA and the Blue Ribbon Dairy 4-H Club. Tessa was a member of the 2010 first place Ohio FFA Dairy judging team. A senior Northwestern High School, Tessa maintains a 3.9 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and is a member of The National Honor Society.

Tessa has lettered in varsity Volleyball and Softball and is a member of Young Life, Student Council and the Industrial Arts Club.

Tessa has served as the Sentinel for her FFA chapter, and participated in parliamentary procedure, grain merchandising and dairy judging career development events.

She has been the Secretary for her 4-H Club and is on the Wayne County Junior Fair Board’s Dairy Committee. Tessa said EPA standards for manure management and the loss of genetic diversity due to intensive hybridization in crops and a strong reliance on genomic numbers and inbreeding in dairy cattle will be a few of the challenges facing agriculture in the future.

Following her graduation from high school, Tessa is planning to attend The Ohio State University majoring in pre-veterinary medicine, with plans to become a large animal veterinarian.

Cantendo Acres

Brandon King, of Creston, was the second dairy service unit scholarship recipient. King is the son of Russell and Cheryl King and grew up with the Cantendo Acres/Grazeland Jersey herd. He is a graduate of Norwayne High School, where he maintained a 3.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale).

Some of his school accomplishments included Outstanding Senior and Certificates of Academic Excellence in English, industrial arts and ag mechanics.

As a member of Norwayne FFA Chapter, Brandon received his Chapter Degree, held the office of Sentinel, participated in rural soil judging and was a member of the horse judging team. As a member of the American Jersey Cattle Association, he placed seventh in the 2010 National Jersey Youth Production Contest, was the 2008 Wayne I Holmes County Outstanding Youth and placed 22nd in the 2008 National Pot of Gold Contest.

As a member of the Boy Scouts, Brandon has earned the rank of Eagle Scout with three palms and a total of 38 Merit Badges. Within the scouting program, he has served in several leadership positions including senior patrol leader, patrol leader, scribe and quartermaster.

Currently he is serving as an assistant scoutmaster. Brandon said the current challenges facing agriculture stem from the media and restrictions placed on farmers due to a misinformed public. Brandon is currently pursuing degree in equine studies, minoring in business at the University of Findlay, with the end goal of eventually owning his own horse training facility.


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Freelance writer Susan Mykrantz has been writing for Farm and Dairy since 1989. She is a graduate of the ag college at Ohio State University and also serves as editor of the "Ohio Jersey News." She lives in Wayne County.



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