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Dairy princess touts benefits of milk
Ripons Annalicia Machado-Luis, 18, has a few months left in her reign as the California Milk Advisory Boards District 5 Dairy Princess. Here, Machado-Luis rides in the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival parade. - photo by HIME ROMERO

• WHAT: The California Milk Advisory Board District 5 Dairy Princess contest
• WHEN: June 5
• WHERE: Chez Shari
• JUDGING:  Contestants will be scored on poise, personality, prepared speech and a Q&A.

Annalicia Machado-Luis wears a crown and sash and rides atop sleek convertibles, waving and smiling to scores of people from Sacramento to Turlock.

This is the long-lens view of the California Milk Advisory Board District 5 Dairy Princess.

Up close, you’ll find that there is more to this Central Catholic senior from Ripon than a flashy appearance and a pretty smile.

She works hard, a genetic trait she inherited from a family with deep agricultural bloodlines.

The demand on her time is so intense she often consults the calendar app on her phone.

“I think you could get a lot more done in two year,” she said. “I’m trying to cram a whole lot in.”

Machado-Luis has entered the homestretch in her year-long reign. The 18-year-old will hand her crown and sash over to the next deserving young lady in June, but until then, she’s focused on using them as conversation starters with her constituents.

Kids love the bling.

“My role is to focus on the younger generation and endorse the different dairy products; encourage them to drink milk, eat cheese and yogurts and focus on the benefits,” she said.

“The reason why I focus on the younger generation is because they’re attracted to the crown and sash. That gets their attention.”

The Dairy Princess is an ambassador of the California Milk Advisory Board, and Machado-Luis’ territory canvasses eight counties, including parts of the Central Valley, Bay Area and Sierra Nevada.

She has concentrated most of her efforts close to home, though.

Machado-Luis gave a classroom presentation to students at Park View Elementary, handed out awards at the San Joaquin County Fair and participated in the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival, Escalon Park Fete and California State Fair.

“She has a good knowledge of the dairy industry and she represents us well at the functions she goes to,” said Rich Wagner of Wagner Dairy in Escalon. Wagner is also the chair of the California Milk Advisory Board.

Machado-Luis will be at Linden Ag Day on April 26.

“A lot of the kids I work with they haven’t seen a cow ever,” she said. “It’s cool to see them experience that for the first time. They know what milk is. They know what dairy products are. But they don’t see where it comes from.”

To understand the brilliance of the Dairy Princess, you must see where she comes from.

Machado-Luis was raised on a dairy inherited by her father and has a unique appreciation for today’s business world.

Her father was forced to sell his third-generation dairy about a year and a half ago, a victim of modern economics.

She shared this story with judges during the contest, stressing one very important point: The crown was an opportunity for her to stay connected to a dairy.

“It was tough. It was my Dad’s dad’s dairy; it was passed on to him,” she said. “It’s not a business – it’s a way of life. That was a life-altering event. Not being able to have it in my family was difficult.”

Her future appears secure.

Machado-Luis carries a 4.2 GPA, made all the more impressive by her intense after-school workload. She is a three-sport athlete – cross country, basketball and soccer – who advanced to the CIF State Cross Country Championships in the fall.

She is a member of Ripon 4-H and works during the summer.

The cherry: The aspiring veterinarian has her choice of colleges. Machado-Luis applied for and was accepted by all six of her colleges. She’s narrowed that list two – UC Davis and Cal Poly.

“It’s been a lot of responsibility, more than I ever realized,” Machado-Luis said. “But I’ve benefitted from it. I’ve learned how to manage my time, because I don’t have a lot of open time.”