Cool cows propel Scott County finalist

JORDAN, Minn. - Emily Stocker had three older brothers, Kevin, Jason and Jeff, leading the way as she was growing up. The youngest in her family and the only girl, Stocker watched and learned from her brothers about helping out on the farm, showing...

Emily Stocker, a Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist representing Scott County, poses with a new calf at her family's Jordan, Minn., farm.

JORDAN, Minn. — Emily Stocker's three older brothers, Kevin, Jason and Jeff, led the way as she was growing up.

The youngest in her family and the only girl, Stocker watched and learned from her brothers about helping out on the farm, showing cows and being part of a team. Now, Stocker has a platform to pioneer on her own, that of a Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist.

The Scott County farm she grew up on is owned by her parents, Rick and Ann, with family members pitching in where they can. The Stockers milk about 80 cows, most of which are Holsteins, with some Jerseys and crossbreds, in a stanchion barn. A second farmstead houses steers the family raises out, heifers and some chickens. Stocker often can be found milking, mixing or feeding rations and taking care of calves.

The town of Jordan is situated on a far southern edge of the Twin Cities, giving Stocker a chance to not only talk with the county's many dairy producers but also explain to suburban families what exactly happens on a dairy farm.

"Farmers make up a small fraction of the population," Stocker said. "We need to inform people who are disconnected from farming and let them know what's going on on real farms."


She got to know a little about what it was like to be a face for dairy farming as a milk maid in Scott County at age 11. Stocker has long aspired to becoming a dairy princess, so the work she does now to promote farmers in her county is very fulfilling, she said.

Promotion is likely to continue to be a theme in Stocker's life.

She is studying communications at the University of Minnesota. Stocker is in the unique position of going into her senior year in the fall even though she is only 18. That's thanks to two years of college courses in high school. She hasn't keyed into any specific career path yet but imagines working across public relations, advertising and social media platforms. This summer, she's interning with, which promotes bicycling in Minnesota and Wisconsin with an emphasis on beginning bikers and destinations.

Stocker is helping out with the organization's communications and social media efforts. Her boss is a former dairy farmer and has been an enthusiastic supporter, Stocker said. She also is staying busy this summer, filling in a couple of weekends at a nearby boutique.

At school, Stocker has been using her communications abilities to widen her experience. Through a friend, she wound up attending an Engineers Without Borders meeting. Stocker has gone on to be part of the group's communications team, where she's applied some of what she's been learning in classes. Stocker is also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity for women and the Public Relations Student Society of America. She showed animals for a long time with her brothers through Helping Hands 4-H.

While Stocker is in her second year as Scott County Dairy Princess, 2016 was her first time attending the leadership development event in May, at which Princess Kay finalists are selected. She went more for the experience and was not expecting to become a finalist.

"I wanted to soak in the whole weekend," Stocker said. "I learned more than I ever thought I could learn."

Stocker was especially frustrated that she had forgotten to prepare a speech, a set part of the judging process. She felt certain any slim chance she might have had at being a finalist was out the window. Six years of speech, working often in improvisational categories must have given Stocker enough edge to seem natural when she finally ended up speaking on why dairy cows are cool. At the time, though, Stocker was convinced making the cut was out of the question.


"I thought, 'There's no way,'" Stocker said. "But in reading my bio, it was eventually word for word what I wrote. I still can't even believe it. That it's actually happening is unreal. I'm so honored to make it this far."

While she waits to see if she might be Princess Kay, Stocker is ready to visit banks in the area and participate in parades. Most recently, she passed out yogurt sticks at the finish line of a 5K race.

An admitted crier, if she does take home the crown, the first thing Stocker will do is likely let a few tears loose and then look for her parents. She's looking forward to bringing a butterhead home regardless and hopes to share it with the community.

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