A Kennard teen has been named the 2021 Nebraska Teen Miss Agriculture USA Queen.
Fifteen-year-old Kayla Schwedhelm has spent her life surrounded by agriculture on the family farm where she works with their horses, cares for the family dogs and cats and helps with the family garden and hops yard. She has been a member of the Trailblazers 4-H Club for seven years and is currently the Arlington FFA chapter reporter. She is a sophomore at Arlington High School.
"Since agriculture is a big thing in my life, I thought it would be good for me to apply and represent it," she said. "I thought it would be a big thing for me if I got the experience that can show off all the ag things I do with my life.
Miss Agriculture USA is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on positively promoting agriculture featuring queens of all ages.
Schwedhelm learned of the competition through conversations online with past participants.
She will be competing at the National Miss Agriculture USA Competition in Ohio in June 2021.
Schwedhelm has work to do before going to nationals.
"I'll represent (the organization) at fairs and expos," she said. "I want to show I'm very involved in agriculture."
She is the youngest of eight with only one brother.
"She's excited to find something she can do that her siblings haven't already done," her stepmother, Shari, said. "One sister is a rodeo queen and one is big in FFA. This is something she could do that was agriculture based and not already done by one of her siblings."
Shari said this was Kayla's first experience being part of a queen competition. The application process was different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shari said it was done online, but the national competition will be a full pageant and contest.
"Typically, there is an essay, interview, formal wear and description of agricultural involvement, telling how they want to advocate for agriculture, where their passions are, based on some of their experiences beyond just farm life,” she said.
This year, Kayla filled out her application, which included a short description of her agriculture experience, involvement and why she wanted to apply.
"She can make this year whatever she wants it to be," Shari said. "She can participate in as many ag events as she can, and is looking to participate in any opportunity where people would want her to represent."