Kyllo recounts her memorable reign
This has been a year unlike any other and that’s especially true for Byron’s Amy Kyllo; but for her it’s been a unique year for an entirely different reason other than COVID-19.
For the past 10 months she’s served as the 66th Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
As Princess Kay, she’s gotten to travel around the state talking about dairy farming and being an ambassador for the Midwest Dairy Association.
“I’ve gotten so many opportunities to get out and tell my story. I love to talk to people about what I and other dairy farmers are doing to take care of our farms and cows,” she said.
In fact, how much dairy farmers care for their cows is what Kyllo tries to emphasize when she educates children about dairy farming.
In addition to speaking to children at schools around the state (before COVID-19 hit), she’s also been a dairy ambassador at a children’s museum, attended a Vikings game as a part of the NFL’s Fuel up to Play 60 program, rang bells at the Mall of America, presented a check at the cancer telethon, participated in a couple parades and given speeches at farms.
Despite everything she’s done as Princess Kay, she said the highlight of her reign was having her likeness sculpted in 90 pounds of butter during the first two days of last summer’s Minnesota State Fair.
As Kyllo was sitting in that rotating cooler for hours last August she could have never imagined how much her responsibilities would change when COVID-19 swept the nation.
Since then, she said her duties have included lots of Facebook and Instagram updates about anything dairy related, Zoom visits, helping lead a socially-distant cooking show and taking part in a drive-through dairy experience.
She also continues to work on her farm every day. Her and her family raise 95 milking cows and a similar number of heifers on the 400-acre farm in Byron.
Even though raising that many cattle is a lot of work, Kyllo enjoys being a dairy farmer.
“It’s more than a job to us, it’s something we truly care about,” she said.
In addition to being a passion of hers, another reason she enjoys being a dairy farmer is the impact she has on her neighbors. “I get to bless my community by what I do.”
With blessing her community through her work on her family’s farm and her duties as Princess Kay, Kyllo sometimes has to remind herself to take some time to appreciate each opportunity she’s experienced.
“I treasure and have a complete sense of gratefulness for this enormous gift,” she said. “It’s a true privilege and I’m so excited I get to do this. It’s a privilege beyond anything I’ve ever deserved.”
In addition to stopping and smelling the flowers, her advice to whomever becomes the next Princess Kay of the Milky Way is be open about why dairy farming is important to them.
“Share your heart and as you share your heart you’re genuineness will shine through and people want to listen to you because your genuineness is something worth listening to,” she said.
Her near future plans include an upcoming meeting with this year’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists.
Then, in August, she’ll end her reign when the next Princess Kay of the Milky Way is crowned.
Shortly after that, she’ll start taking classes at Rochester Community and Technical College where she’ll major in Communications and Public Relations.
After graduation, she hopes to work for a non-profit organization although she’s unsure if it will be connected to the dairy industry.
However, regardless of what she career path she takes, “I’m always going to be an advocate for the dairy community.”