Emma Heritage is a princess. She has a tiara, sash, gown and court of loyal ambassadors to prove it. The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior is a different type of royalty, thoughshe's a dairy princess.
Saratoga County is one of 34 counties in New York that have a county dairy promotion program. Created by the American Dairy Association and Council (ADAC), programs around the state crown a county dairy princess each year. Heritage is the 2009 Saratoga County Dairy Princess and will compete to become a New York State Dairy Princess at a pageant in February.
My job is to promote dairy consumption and stimulate demand for dairy products; get individuals of all ages to consume them and teach about the health benefits of low-fat dairy," said Heritage, who was an ambassador to last year's princess. "Specifically, we're encouraged by the organization to write newspaper articles, press releases, get on the radio and TV, talk to school groups and just inform the general public. Mostly I've been concentrating on using venues in our county that are specific to agriculture and dairy."
Heritage said being a princess is more demanding than being an ambassador but she loves her new role and enjoys the work.
"My phone is usually going off a lot more because people call to ask [me] to come to events. I love it because as a person it allows you to get exposure to public speaking, going on TV and radio and also talking to children and groups of all ages," said Heritage. "It gives me such satisfaction that I can use all these skills to do something for an industry [that's important]."
She is typically invited to Cornell Cooperative Extension events, Farm Bureau annual meetings and other agriculture-related meetings around the county. She discusses recent health news about the benefits of dairy, like how it can prevent diabetes, stroke, heart ailments and is good for all ages and more than just strong bones.