Lodi’s Ripp named Alice in Dairyland
Rochelle Ripp of Lodi, an associate marketing executive at Filament Marketing in Madison, was selected ahead of four other finalists in the annual contest. She holds a degree focused in agribusiness and communications, chairs the Dane County Farm Bureau’s Ag Promotions Committee and is a volleyball coach.
In a tearful acceptance speech, Ripp said she wanted to give back to agriculture.
“It is truly an honor,” Ripp said. “I look forward to the opportunity to be an ambassador for our state’s $59 billion agriculture industry while showcasing Wisconsin’s farmers and agriculture at its finest.”
Alice in Dairyland is a full-time public relations employee of The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The contest winner serves a one-year contract term.
Ripp, who will earn $40,000 for her work as the next Alice, begins her duties June 4. She succeeds the 64th Alice in Dairyland, Katie Wirkus.
Janesville native Ann Marie Ames was among the six finalists for Alice in Dairyland.
Ames, a 1994 Craig High School graduate and recent UW-Rock County grad, is the police and courts beat reporter at The Gazette. She has been with the newspaper since 2007.
Ames has covered news for The Gazette in Rock and Walworth counties, and the newspaper’s former agriculture beat reporter, winning a state journalism award for her coverage of the dairy industry in Rock County.
Ames said the demands of being a contestant in Alice have been heavy, even for a journalist used to deadlines and constant flow of work.
“It’s been a really huge challenge,” she said. “You get assigned to do more work than you think you can get done.”
Some of the work over the span of weeks and days leading up to the contest include writing projects, presentations, speeches and tours of businesses.
Ames, who was active in Lima 4-H during her youth, showed Holstein cattle competitively from her grandparents’ farm, Ames-Way Farms in Darien Township. She’s always had a love for agriculture in Rock County, she said.
Ames said her experience as part of the Alice in Dairyland process was an eye-opener.
“It was really neat to see it (agriculture) and learn more about it at the state level,” she said.
Ames added that one of the things she enjoyed most was the camaraderie between the other contestants. They included Danielle Hammer of Beaver Dam, Sarah Holm of Elk Mound and Amy Manske of Green Bay.