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ND college student uses pageant to promote agriculture, animal welfare

CARRINGTON, N.D. — Victoria Vollmer stood out from the crowd at LegenDAIRY III, an open house at VanBedaf Dairy. No one else there was wearing a sash and tiara.

Vollmer, of Grace City, N.D., is representing North Dakota in the Miss United States Agriculture program, and she likes to go to public events to talk to people about all the positives of agriculture. Vollmer's family has an Angus ranch, and she enjoys communicating about the care farmers and ranchers take with their livestock.

"At events like this, I try to promote things like animal welfare," Vollmer said.

Miss United States Agriculture, according to its Facebook page, "is an advocacy program for women to teach and enhance the American Agriculture story." Participants pay a fee and compete at state pageants. In states like North Dakota, where there is no state pageant, participants fill out an application to participate. That's how Vollmer got involved once she heard about the competition.

"I'm very competitive," she said.

She explained that Miss United States Agriculture does not have many participants in North Dakota, and she'd like to see that change. She said there are several age brackets available, making it possible for more than one "queen" to represent each state.

While the Miss United States Agriculture pageant is slated for June 22 in Orlando, Fla., Vollmer won't be competing yet. She said she wants to gain more experience before she goes for the national title.

And even after she hangs up her sash, Vollmer hopes to keep promoting agriculture. The sophomore elementary education major at Valley City State University said she wants to incorporate agriculture into her future teaching and use a communication minor to keep telling the story of farming and ranching.

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