Trio of area young ladies vying for crown of 2023 Allamakee County Dairy Princess at Saturday banquet

Elizabeth Fossum ...

Cassidy Gibbs ...

Claire Opperman ...

The 2023 Allamakee County Dairy Banquet is scheduled to be held this Saturday, March 25 at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds Pavilion in Waukon. Food service will start at 7 p.m. and the program will begin at 8 p.m. Banquet tickets can be purchased at the door.

The annual celebration recognizes the importance of the dairy industry in Allamakee County and the contributions dairy families make to this important industry. Every year, top producers from the county are recognized at the banquet. In addition, several other awards are presented that evening, some of which include the following:

• Outstanding Young Dairy Family Award
• Pioneer Dairyman
• Distinguished Dairy Family Award
• Service to Dairy Industry Award
• Golden Butter Knife Award.

Also a highlight of the evening's festivities, the 2023 Allamakee County Dairy Princess will be crowned. Three Allamakee County young ladies - Elizabeth Fossum, Cassidy Gibbs and Claire Opperman - are vying for this year’s Allamakee County Dairy Princess crown. Photos and biographies of each candidate are included below.

Elizabeth Fossum -
Elizabeth Fossum is the 18-year-old daughter of Kevin and Julie Fossum of Waterville. She is a senior at Waukon High School and involved in FFA, 4-H, National Honor Society and a member of the Iowa Junior Holstein Association.
She and her family live on a dairy farm where they milk around 240 cows and farm around 800 acres. She enjoys working on the farm milking cows, with three generations of the family in the pit milking most nights.  Elizabeth said she started her love for the cows by feeding calves and has added to her resumé by chisel plowing, hauling corn, wrapping round bales, keeping records for herd health and whatever her dad has on the agenda for the day. Her two brothers, one older and one younger, have both assisted her with chores and taught her different aspects of field work.
Elizabeth shows cattle at the County Fair, State Fair, open shows and District 1 Junior Holstein shows, and has won various trophies and ribbons. She has also received academic awards every semester of her high school career.
Elizabeth has served as the 4-H Toppers Club President, helping the club with its annual Easter Egg Hunt for children in the Waterville community and working at bake sales to raise money so the club can contribute to various organizations in need. She is also an active member of St. Ann’s-St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry, serving as a Eucharistic Minister, a lector and a mass server for her church community.
In her free time, which she says is rare on the farm, Elizabeth enjoys reading, running and hanging out with her friends. She plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for Ag Business. Elizabeth’s sponsor is Select Sires.

Cassidy Gibbs -
Cassidy Gibbs is the 18-year-old daughter of Shawn and Danette Gibbs of Waterville. She is currently a senior at Waukon High School.
Cassidy and her family live on a dairy farm outside of Waterville where they milk an average of 520 Holstein cows in a double 16 parallel parlor. Cassidy’s responsibilities on the farm include feeding calves, milking cows, field work, and she recently began working with breeding cattle.
Off the farm, she has been actively involved in volleyball, National Honor Society, 4-H and FFA. She has held several officer positions, including Treasurer and Vice President for FFA and Reporter and Vice President for 4-H. She has participated in FFA contests including dairy cattle evaluation, farm business management and biotechnology. Cassidy received first place at the State level for her SAE project in dairy proficiency that also placed in the top 10 at the National level.
She enjoys showing cattle at the County Fair, kayaking, fishing, ATV rides, and spending time with friends and family. Cassidy’s future plans include attending Iowa State University this fall majoring in Animal Science with an emphasis in Agribusiness. Her sponsor is Driven Embryo Services (Justin Helgerson, DVM).

Claire Opperman -
Claire Opperman is 18 years old and the daughter of Amy Opperman of Waukon. She is currently a member of the senior class at Waukon High School, and she is an active worker and showman for her family dairy herd.
In school, Claire is involved in volleyball, FFA and National Honor Society. She has also been involved in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), basketball, track and softball, as well as being a lifelong 4-H member, where she has held several officer positions within her club and has served on the Allamakee County 4-H Council.
Some awards Claire has received include the County Senior Dairy Award, County Livestock Champion, Donald Kerndt Memorial Award, and the Outstanding Achievement Award. She enjoys playing with her dogs, working with her dairy cattle and showing them. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Claire likes to be a role model and help the younger members of the organizations she is involved with, when needed. After high school, Claire plans to attend Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) for Ag Business and Ag Finance and continue working in the banking industry. She is sponsored by Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank.