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An Inherited Love of Farming

7/4/2012 7:00 AM
By Linda Williams Southwestern Pa. Correspondent

Meet Pennsylvania’s Alternate Dairy Princess Courtney Brant

MEYERSDALE, Pa. — Last September at Pennsylvania’s annual state dairy princess pageant in Camp Hill, Pa., Somerset County’s dairy princess, Courtney Brant, was named the Pennsylvania second alternate dairy princess. During the many months since, she has been traveling across Pennsylvania to many events and places promoting the dairy industry.

A senior at Meyersdale High School in Somerset County, Pa., vivacious Courtney just turned 17. In school and in life, her number one interest is farming. Her home is surrounded by the hay and corn fields that belong to Silver Valley Farm, owned by her grandfather, Cecil Petenbrink, Jr. Courtney loves helping to milk the farm’s 340 Holsteins as well as feeding and taking care of numerous calves.

It’s a family farm, literally, with cousins, aunts and uncles plus a handful of employees who have become “like family,” all working together. Grandmother Petenbrink is a school cafeteria lady who also takes care of her grandchildren and farm family.

At school, Courtney is the president of the Meyersdale FFA Chapter and vice-president of the Somerset County FFA Association. She has been in FFA since eighth grade and competed in numerous contests. This past year, she was a part of the state contest for Senior Prepared Public Speaking and the Parliamentary Procedure Team. She shows cows from Silver Valley Farm through FFA at the Somerset County Fair.

“I have not won anything big for showing my cows,” she said. “But then, I really don’t show to win. I show just to have fun!”

Her favorite part of showing is the showmanship contest and her goal is to be the supreme showman at some point.

“I’ve been close but never got far enough in the contest to go to that level,” she said. “I show at the fairground for the Junior Dairy Show and the Somerset County Holstein Show.”

At Meyersdale High, Courtney is also a member of the National Honor Society, the A-average club, on the varsity cheerleading squad and the French Club. In the community, she enjoys volunteering at the Somerset County Fair and the Pennsylvania Maple Festival. At the Maple Festival, she is a part of the Kid’s Corner where kids learn about maple products and do crafts while parents tour Festival Park.

When it’s Somerset County Fair time in late August, Courtney helps to check in entries at the exhibit hall submitted by the youth for judging; assists in judging the contest and helps check out items on the last day of the fair. Her favorite judging divisions are youth photography and artwork.

Courtney says she entered the dairy princess pageant because she wants to represent the industry in which she was born and raised: “I wanted to give back to the farmers who work so hard, and I want to educate the public on what I feel should be common knowledge.”

The question she was asked at the state contest that helped her to capture the alternate title was, “You are being interviewed by a television news crew and they ask you to tell them three things about the Pennsylvania dairy industry you would like the public to know. What are they?” Her answer was: “The first thing I would like the public to know is that the Pennsylvania dairy industry has great nutritional and economical benefits to Pennsylvania.”

“The second thing is, the Pennsylvania dairy industry is represented by the most amazing girls. The dairy princesses sitting behind me are truly wonderful advocates for the dairy industry.”

The third thing I would like the public to know is that the Pennsylvania dairy industry has the most hardworking, dedicated members. These farmers work hard from morning to night, from the time they feed their first bottle to a baby calf to when they are like my 76-year-old grandfather who is still climbing onto that tractor every single day to get the work done.”


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