Harford County native Katie Jones seized the Maryland Dairy Princess title during the 61st annual competition on September 1 at the Cow Palace, Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Jones will spend the next year promoting Maryland’s official beverage and representing dairy farmers from the Upper Chesapeake Region, which includes Harford, Baltimore, and Cecil counties.

Layla Shepard, who hails from Damascus in Montgomery County, will serve as the Alternate Maryland Dairy Princess. The duo will appear at fairs, schools, grocery stores, and special events, educating the public about milk, dairy products, and the dairy industry.

The competition involved multiple rounds of interviews, presentations, and promotions. Jones won the Best Milk Toast honor, while Shepard won the Best Presentation and Scholarship awards. “Maryland’s dairy industry is lucky to have this dynamic team to promote their product and way of life,” said Susan Summers, president of the Maryland Dairy Princess Association. “They are trained, professional spokespersons serving as ambassadors throughout the state.”

Katie Jones, a 16-year-old junior at North Harford High School, is deeply involved in agricultural programs, caring for cows, pigs, horses, sheep, and alpacas. Jones is an honor student who excels in the Robotics and Engineering orchestra and plays on the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams. She lives on her family’s dairy farm and participates in community service projects through the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and Trinity Episcopal Church.

Layla Shepard, the new State Alternate, is an honor roll student and cheerleader at Damascus High School. She is passionate about Brown Swiss dairy cows and has exhibited livestock at local fairs. Shepard is also an officer in multiple 4-H clubs, including beef, poultry, sheep, and swine, and is an animal caretaker for a local farmer.

This year’s judging panel included Linda Foreman of Durham, NC; Jean Kummer of Evans City, PA; and Kirk Sattazahn of Womelsdorf, PA. Denny Remsburg of Jefferson served as the emcee for the event.

The Maryland Dairy Princess Association also runs the Dairy Maid program, aimed at preparing future princesses and offering promotional opportunities for younger dairy enthusiasts between 9 and 16. The contest can be viewed on the Maryland Dairy Princess Association Facebook page.

For further details on the Maryland Dairy Princess Program, interested parties can contact Hope Cencula at mddairyprincess@gmail.com.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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