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Worden loves representing Iowa's dairy farmers

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 07/02/2013 11:01 AM

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OELWEIN, Iowa —Logan Worden remembers seeing the Brown Swiss Princess as a 7-year-old when her parents hosted the Brown Swiss Summer Picnic.

"I thought she was awesome," Worden said. "I always watched the Dairy Princess Pageant at the Iowa State Fair, and I wanted to be a dairy princess walking around in gorgeous dresses and being able to talk to anyone about the dairy industry."

As she grew older and became more involved in the industry, Worden realized it's more than crowns and fancy dresses.

"I love talking to people about where their milk comes from along with what types of food we feed our animals to help produce the most wholesome and nutritious dairy product possible," Worden said. "I love being able to represent all of the dairy farmers across this great state because of all the hard work that they do and the passion that they have for this always amazing industry. And who knows, maybe I'm inspiring future dairy princesses just as the past ones have done for me."

Worden said Paul Harvey's poem, "So God Made a Farmer," which was a part of Ram's Year of the Farmer commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, expresses her feelings.

"Farmers struggle with prices and weather and maybe we'll finally get a farm bill," Worden said. "The least I can do is to help educate the public."

Her parents, Dennis and Joan Worden, farm just north of Oelwein. Her brother, Noah, works at other farms in the area. Her sister, Jonna, husband, Lance, and their three children have a dairy operation near Monona. Jacob, a graduate of Iowa State University, works on the home farm.

The Wordens milk 85 cows, primarily registered Brown Swiss and Ayrshires, but every major breed is represented. They have 180 head counting the heifers, bulls and dry cows. Their herd name is Onword Swiss. They grow 250 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and pasture.

Worden grew up helping on the farm and showing dairy cattle.

"Our family vacation every year is going to the Iowa State Fair and World Dairy Expo to exhibit the best animals we have," she said. "We pride ourselves in taking the very best care of our animals."

She is helping with milking and whatever else needs to be done.

Worden, 20, is a junior at ISU majoring in dairy science and agricultural business. She is a member of the Dairy Science Club, president of the Midwest American Dairy Science Association Student Affiliate Division, a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ambassador and this fall will be a peer mentor for new animal science students.

"I'll be showing six to 10 freshmen the ropes, and I'm very excited about that," Worden said.

She is applying to be a Brown Swiss Ambassador and will show a heifer in the National Brown Swiss Junior Heifer Show, which is part of the National Brown Swiss Convention in Waukesha, Wis.

Worden was Fayette County Dairy Princess from 2010 to 2011 and Iowa Brown Swiss Princess from 2011 to 2012. She was crowned Iowa Dairy Princess at the 2012 State Fair.

"It was great getting to know all the other girls in the pageant," Worden said. "We're all friends on Facebook."

She's just finishing county dairy banquet season and has a full slate of June Dairy Month events. A visit to a Des Moines elementary school is planned where she will show the youngsters what she feeds the cows and calves. There are a breakfast and lunch on the farm, dairy open houses and a Dairy Iowa meeting.

She and Alternate Iowa Dairy Princess Karla Hageman of Decorah hope to to do events at grocery stores where they can engage consumers. More school visits are in the works. She and Hageman will award ribbons at county fairs and the Iowa State Fair, and Worden hopes to pass out chocolate milk to RAGRAI riders.

Worden wants to work in an agricultural field when she graduates from college and she hopes to help on her family's farm introducing more technology into the operation.

Among her mentors is high school FFA advisor, Scott Smalley.

"He really helped me," Worden said. "I was not the most outgoing person, and he encouraged me in areas where I learned strong leadership skills. He sees something in all kids and helps them."

She also sees Lindsey Calvert, Iowa FFA president the year that she was state vice president, and her older older sister, Jonna, as mentors.