Skip to main content

There she is! Dairy daughter Jeni Haler is new Princess Kay of the Milky Way

  • Author:
  • Updated:

On what likely will be a sweltering Thursday, the opening day of the 2014 Minnesota State Fair, 19-year-old Jeni Haler will don a coat and take a seat inside an oversized refrigerator in the Dairy Building to have her likeness carved in a 90-pound block of butter.

The Midwest Dairy Association website explained that will be Haler's first official duty as the newly crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way. The college student from Norwood Young America was crowned as the 61st Princess Kay in a Wednesday evening ceremony. Haler will serve as the official goodwill ambassador for more than 3,600 Minnesota dairy farm families.

Haler attends the University of Minnesota and has a double major in animal science and Spanish/Portuguese studies. AgriNews reports that she comes from a royal family. Her two sisters, Chaneen and Victoria, were Princess Kay finalists in 2011 and 2012, and so was her mother, Connie Haasken, in 1987.

Haler's coronation means the family will have 270 pounds of butter in their freezer. The two older Haler sisters have been saving their butterhead sculptures. After the fair, the Halers plan a community corn feed, but first they've got to pose for a photograph.

"My sisters have been waiting for this moment," Haler said. "We'll have to put our heads together and take a picture."

Haler and her sisters grew up working on the family dairy herd, splitting their time between their father's farm and their mother's house in town. The Halers milk about 70 cows and raise about 70 young stock. Most are Holsteins. The story noted that Haler "helps out with just about everything but particularly with milking and feeding cows and calves."

"I am so very humbled and honored to be selected as Princess Kay and represent our proud, dedicated dairy farmers," Haler says on the Princess Kay Facebook page. "I look forward to my year and cannot wait to share our dairy story."

The AgriNews story added that Haler hopes to use her education to work with Heifer International, an international nonprofit that aims to reduce hunger and poverty by providing families in developing countries with livestock.

"It would allow me to travel the world to teach people how to care for animals and about sustainable agriculture," Haler said.

Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout Minnesota competed for the title. Princess Kay candidates are judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills and enthusiasm for dairy. The Midwest Dairy Association sponsors the Princess Kay program, which is funded by the dairy checkoff.

Each finalist will have her likeness carved in butter during the fair. This year marks butter sculptor Linda Christensen’s 43rd year carving Princess Kay and the finalists.

KARE 11 had video of Haler's surprised response as she was named as this year's Princess and presented with the crown.

Last year's Princess Kay, MarJenna McWilliam, was an unusual dairy ambassador in one respect: she was lactose intolerant. KARE 11 talked to her about that earlier this month. She hails from a northern Minnesota farm with only about 25 cows, AgriNews noted in this profile.

Next Up

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.


Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Walz: Increased state law enforcement presence to stay in Twin Cities

A multi-agency effort to curb crime will go on until further notice.


Bloomington PD to provide update on Mall of America shooting investigation

There's unconfirmed reports the suspected gunman and an accomplice have been arrested.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 3.14.27 PM

Motorcyclist found dead behind guardrail 6 hours after crash

The crash happened before sunset Wednesday, but no one called 911.

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 2.49.44 PM

Strike vote set for 15,000 Minnesota nurses

If the nurses walk off the job, Minnesota would be home to one of the largest nurses strikes in U.S. history.


Iowa Gov. asks court to lift injunction on 'heartbeat' abortion ban

A court challenge seeks to revive Iowa's abortion ban.

zipper merge, construction

6 transportation projects in Minnesota get $100M federal funding

The projects extend to areas all across the state.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 9

The number of cases in the latest reporting period dropped compared to the previous week's update.


First Princess Kay of the Milky Way from Stearns Co. crowned

An 18-year-old college student from Sauk Centre was crowned the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way at ceremony Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Christine Reitsma plans to study economics at the University of Minnesota.

Outgoing Princess Kay's butter head being smeared on corn

Next week a new Princess Kay of the Milky Way will be crowned and will have her likeness carved in butter at the Minnesota State Fair. As for the outgoing princess, her butter head is now just a memory. It was melted down at a corn feed at a park in Pierz.