Each year at ADAI, five students are selected ranging from high school seniors to college undergraduates to serve as Indiana Dairy Ambassadors for a one-year term. These students use their abilities to communicate with the general public about dairy farming, dairy nutrition, and modern agricultural practices. Traveling around the state, they develop public speaking and leadership skills to become leaders in the dairy community. Our Dairy Ambassadors have been hard at work this summer promoting milk, cheese, yogurt and more at many events across the state. They continue their responsibilities on campus this school year, sharing their dairy stories with fellow students and their communities. Get to know our Dairy Ambassadors below!
Aubrey Dague is a recent graduate from Caston High School. Serving as senior class president and FFA vice president, she has been blessed with the opportunity to work with fellow peers and community members. She was also a three sport athlete, participating in cross country, basketball, and track, serving as the team captain for each of them. Out of each of her extracurricular activities, FFA has proven to be her favorite. Aubrey credits FFA with learning new interests, sharpening life skills, meeting new people, and sharing her passion of farming with the future generations of producers and consumers. Her passion for farming comes as no surprise. Aubrey currently lives on a fourth generation family dairy farm with her parents and two siblings. Growing up on the family farm has taught her the importance of family, sacrifice, and selflessness. Aubrey has been managing a small scale watermelon patch for three years and selling the produce to her school’s lunch program. This past spring, she worked in the school greenhouse through the Caston internship program and produced annual flowers and vegetable plants which she used as a fundraiser for her FFA Chapter. Hoping to continue to pave a path for agriculture, Aubrey plans to continue her education at Purdue University this fall, majoring in Horticulture production and marketing.
Aaron Hurst hails from the southern Indiana town of Ferdinand, about 15 minutes north of Holiday World. He attended Forest Park High school and participated in various sports, including baseball, basketball, and tennis all four years. He continues to stay active and in his free time, enjoys going to the gym and playing basketball with friends. Throughout high school, Aaron was also a 10-year 4-H member and deeply involved in the local FFA chapter, serving as vice president and president. He enjoyed soils judging, forestry judging, and dairy judging, where he got his start at a local dairy farm, Francis Lindauer and Sons Dairy. Aaron continues to focus on caring for the calves at the farm, and feels pride in getting them off to a healthy and happy start. This love of animals carries over into his plans for the future at Purdue University, where he is majoring in Animal Sciences going into his sophomore year. Aaron is an officer in the Purdue Dairy Club and enjoys sharing his love and knowledge of dairy cows. He looks forward to showing people how hard farmers work to feed the world as a Dairy Ambassador.
Caitlin Cox will begin her sophomore year at Purdue University majoring in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Production. Her love for the dairy industry began when she had the opportunity to show a little heifer calf named Rockin’ Robin. With that amazing experience her passion grew; she became involved in showing at the local, state, and national level, joined the Class 6 Dairy Youth Academy, and is currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Indiana State Junior Holstein Association. She also served as the 2018 Indiana State Holstein Princess, and continues to be a member of the Purdue Dairy Club. Caitlin was also a 10-year 4-H Member and involved in FFA. Through FFA, she had the opportunity to travel to Pennsylvania and the National FFA Convention to Dairy Judge, and also completed a Dairy Placement Proficiency where she received Gold Emblem Honors at the National level. Her future plans include working within the agriculture industry in genetic research in cattle or sales and marketing. This summer, she is looking forward to showing Rock’ On, the great-grand daughter of the first calf she showed! Caitlin is excited to advocate and share her passion for the dairy industry, including the cows, their products, and all who make it possible!
Jill Merritt may not have been born on a farm, but her love for agriculture runs deep. When she was little, she would tell you that her favorite color was ‘black and white’, so it’s no surprise that Jill finally found herself on a dairy farm in eighth grade. What began as a tour for a school assignment developed into a 4-H project, a part-time job, and now a future degree. Jill spends her time working at Carterly Farms in Thorntown milking their herd of beautiful Holstein cows. Throughout her years in the dairy program, Jill participated in her county dairy judging team, placing third as an individual last spring. During the summer, she participated in the farm’s 4-H dairy leasing program where she had the opportunity to show cattle. This year, Jill will be helping to lead the leasing program and encouraging others to find their passion for dairy. Besides dairy cows, Jill raises dairy goats and poultry for her other 4-H projects. She was an active participant in her school’s theatre program as well as FFA and National Honors Society. This fall, Jill will be attending Purdue University to pursue a degree in Animal Science with a bioscience concentration. After college, Jill aspires to become a dairy reproductive physiologist and raise her own herd of dairy cattle. Jill can’t wait to share her love for dairy with others as a Dairy Ambassador!
Kassidy Oliger is a recent graduate of Hagerstown Jr./Sr. High School, where she graduated as valedictorian and a Lilly Scholar. She will attend Purdue University in the fall to major in Agribusiness. Growing up on her small family farm where they raise Brown Swiss Heifers, a few beef cattle, and a small herd of sheep, she learned the value of hard work and gained a passion for the dairy industry that she loves sharing with others! She is currently completing her 10th year in 4-H and was named the 2019 Wayne County Supreme Showman. Within 4-H, she serves her county as a livestock ambassador for the dairy barn by working with younger members to assist them in their projects. Kassidy is active in the National Brown Swiss Youth Association and loves to show her heifers everywhere from local open shows to the World Dairy Expo and NAILE. She was very involved in high school as a member of FFA competing in Dairy Judging contests, Business Professionals of America, National Honors Society, Eastern Indiana Model Legislature, basketball, cross country, and track and field teams. As a member of Class 6 of the Indiana 4-H Dairy Youth Academy, she gained hands-on experience in the industry and grew her leadership abilities. Some of her favorite volunteer activities include working for the local food pantry, volunteering for Gleaner’s mobile food bank, acting as a presenter at the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation Days, and running a Salvation Army clothing drive through the local National Honors Society chapter. Kassidy is excited to be a Dairy Ambassador to share her passion for dairy industry and her dairy story!