Ever since she was a very little girl, Haley Hinrichs has dreamed about having her head sculpted in butter.
Growing up in Minnesota, Hinrichs idolized Princess Kay of the Milky Way
. The princess, crowned each year at the state fair, spends the year serving as a goodwill ambassador of the state's dairy farming community. She also has the honor of getting her likeness carved into a 90-pound block of cold butter. The statue is crafted and put on display during the state fair.
"It means a lot, just because I know that I’m not only making my dad, who is a dairy farmer, proud," Hinrichs, 19, told Refinery29. In her new role, Hinrichs is tasked with carrying the torch for her state's thousands of other dairy farmers, too.
The college student plans to use her platform to "share with everyone and anyone who [will] listen more about the dairy industry.” And there's no shortage of dairy details and data to spread.
Minnesota dairy farmers produced more than 1 billion gallons of milk in 2014, according to the Midwest Dairy Association.
That's enough milk to fill more than 1,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Nationwide, the industry is connected to more than 900,000 jobs and $40 billion in dairy product sales, the association says.
Those are key points for Hinrichs, who worries about the long-term implications of society "becoming more and more removed from agriculture."
"What I really want people to know is even if you don't live on a dairy farm, the dairy community still affects you," she said.
Ahead, a look at what it's like to sit for a butter sculpture as Princess Kay of The Milky Way.