The American Dairy Association of Crow Wing County is seeking candidates to participate in this year's dairy princess program.

Dairy princesses serve as goodwill ambassadors for the dairy industry through appearances that help explain dairy farmers' passion for taking care of their animals and land while providing nutritious food for people locally and throughout the world, a news release stated. The princess contest will be March 14 at the Pierz Ballroom.

Candidates must be high school graduates by July 1 and not yet 24 years old. A candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and she and her parents must be actively engaged in the production of milk for sale to a licensed plant during the current year. A candidate also qualifies if she or her parents are employed on a dairy farm in a dairy-related capacity, or if a sibling has taken over the home farm. Additionally, she would qualify if she or her family custom raise animals that will produce milk or lease animals in exchange for work on that farm.

The dairy princess program is sponsored by the county's dairy farmers in conjunction with Midwest Dairy's Minnesota Division and the dairy checkoff. Serving as a county dairy princess is also the first step toward becoming Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Ten finalists will be selected to compete for the Princess Kay title in August.

At all levels of competition, contestants are judged on their communication skills, personality, enthusiasm for dairy promotion and general knowledge of the dairy industry. For complete rules and an application form, contact Rosanne Caughey 218-831-3376.

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 8.

Crow Wing County also invites interested young men and women, ages 15-24, to apply to become dairy ambassadors. The same rules apply except they do not have to live or work on a dairy farm. A desire to promote dairy is essential, the news release stated.