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Julie Hammerand is crowned Iowa Dairy Princess.

The crown for the Iowa Dairy Princess was handed to a Sherrill teenager at the Iowa State Fair in August. Julie Hammerand, 18, won the competition and will serve as a goodwill ambassador for Iowa farmers over the next 12 months.

This was not the first competition that Hammerand has won. In 2008, she was named Little Miss Dairy Maid and at the time, believed that was the highest height she could reach. A few years later, she saw her cousin, Jessica Hammerand, win the Iowa Dairy Princess contest.

That’s when she knew she had to raise the bar and try to get over it.

“At that moment, I knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Hammerand said. “Little did I know that one day that dream would come true.”

She will spend the next year interacting with people about how dairy farms work. Everything from the animals themselves to the land that they live on will be topics of conversation. Hammerand said that she looks forward to meeting so many farmers that have a passion for dairy farming.

“I cannot wait to learn about everyone’s unique stories and perspectives,” she said.

The contest consisted of meals with different judges, a group interview portion, a personal interview and a public speaking presentation on a chosen topic. Eight contestants competed for the Iowa Dairy Princess title.

Her family was in attendance the night she won the competition, and they were just as shocked as she was when her name was called.

“I was totally in shock,” Hammerand said. “I couldn’t believe that she had said my name. There was a video on Facebook of the crowning, and my face seems to say, ‘Wait. What?’”

Along with serving as the 66th Iowa Dairy Princess, she recently started college at the University of Northern Iowa. She is majoring in art education and hopes to become an art teacher in the future.

“Art has always been a passion of mine and I want to help inspire and cultivate the next generation,” she said.

Hammerand will be sharing her duties with Alternate Dairy Princess, 17-year-old Faith Palmer, of Waukon. The two replaced Jessica Schmitt, of Fort Atkinson, and Grace Howe, of Waukon, as the Iowa Dairy Princess and the Alternate Iowa Dairy Princess. The two started their reign Sept. 1.

The new princess is crowned the night before the Iowa State Fair every year at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.