Sherwood High student takes the title, educates others on the dairy industry.

COURTESY: WASHINGTON COUNTY DAIRY WOMEN - Natalie Berry, left, is the new Washington County Dairy Princess-Ambassador. She took over the post from Megan Sprute, right, who went on to become First Alternate Oregon State Dairy Princess-Ambassador.Milk is Oregon's fourth largest agricultural commodity, according to the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association. So it makes sense that the state would crown its own Dairy Princess-Ambassador — and Natalie Berry of Sherwood is a contender.

Berry, 17, was crowned the 2018 Washington County Dairy Princess-Ambassador at a dinner event in Verboort in April. She will spend the next year doing classroom presentations, speaking at county and state fairs and staffing the booth for the Oregon Dairy Women, which sponsor the princess competition. After her year representing Washington County comes to an end, she'll compete against other county princesses for the statewide title.

If she wins the state competition, Berry will take a gap year after graduating from Sherwood High (where she currently is a junior) to fulfill her duties.

"I've grown up around dairy cows my whole life, and there's something in my heart that really strikes me to keep being involved in the dairy industry," Berry told the Gazette. "I looked up to the princesses as a little girl, and thought they were the coolest thing ever, and I wanted to be that someone for a little girl as they grew up."

Berry's father works in the dairy industry, and she is an active participant in both 4H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). Her uncle owns a dairy farm in Corvallis, where she keeps four cows of her own: Sunup, Cancun, Sassafras and Rainey. She's presented her cows at national shows in Louisville, Ky.

Berry said she's confident she'll be a good Dairy Princess-Ambassador because of her strong public speaking skills.

"Through FFA, I've been able to compete in public speaking events," she said. "It's also given me leadership abilities."

After completing her reign and going to college, Berry plans to continue her work in the dairy industry. She hopes to be either a communications professional for dairy farmers, or a dairy geneticist, which involves "looking at genetics of different animals, and figuring out what the dairy industry needs to continue to grow to get better every day."

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