Featured in our 2021 Winter Issue written by Katelyn Poitras.
In the final moments before the results of the National Jersey Jug Futurity were announced, anticipation was building up between the girls who made the top five in the National Jersey Queen contest – the time had come to announce the title of the 64th National Jersey Queen and her court for the upcoming year. California was cheering when Kylie Konyn of San Diego, California was crowned the 2021 queen! It’s now Kylie’s turn in the spotlight as she was the 1st Alternate in the Queen contest in 2020. Konyn has been involved in the dairy industry her entire life, and continues to make strides to further her involvement. Her family owns and operates one of the last two remaining dairy farms within San Diego, where they milk 800 head of cattle. The dairy was started in 1965 when her grandfather immigrated to the United States from Holland. Kylie attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison, class of 2025, where she double majors in Dairy Science and Genetics and Genomics with a certificate in Agricultural Business Management.
Kylie has been involved with the Jersey breed throughout her junior career, and participates within the breed at local, state, and national levels. She has received Outstanding Jersey Breeder and Exhibitor awards at her county fair for the past three years. Konyn has received many state production awards, which includes 1st for the past three years with JX Yosemite Sully Perform EX-92%. She and her sister have purchased heifers from the Pot O’ Gold Sale that have also done well in the state production contests as well as receiving National recognition. Kylie has served as the President of the California Junior Jersey Association for three terms. In addition to the Jersey association, she is also heavily involved in the California Junior Holstein association and the Holstein Association USA. She has competed at the National Holstein Convention in the jeopardy, speech, and dairy bowl contests. In the junior division, her team was undefeated and named Champion Junior Team and as a senior, her team was named Champion Senior Team. Kylie has also been recognized as a Young Distinguished Junior Member and has held many leadership positions within her state junior Holstein association.
In 2015, a longtime mentor of Kylie’s, Regina Pozzi, was named National Jersey Queen. When Kylie witnessed her mentor receiving the crown, she knew she wanted to compete for queen one day. Pozzi was influential in helping Kylie get her first Jersey heifer, served as a guide through various events, and helped get her involved within the association. Konyn hopes to give this opportunity to others through her time as queen. Her interest and passion for the Jersey breed is what gave her the final push to compete for the title of National Jersey Queen. “This passion has been fueled by the outpouring support of mentors and programs through the American Jersey Cattle Association,” Kylie said, followed by saying how she plans to utilize those skills she gained to share her interests and “create lifetime passions for the Jersey breed within others.” Konyn plans on using her platform as queen to promote and educate others about the many programs available through AJCA, and as a way to give back to the programs that helped shape who she is today. A few of the programs that influenced Kylie are the Queen of Quality Program, REAP, and genomic testing. The Jersey Youth Academy, Achievement Contest, and Pot O’ Gold Sale are programs that open doors for young members. She believes that the youth are the future of the industry and it is very important to be able to serve as a representative and role model in the breed. She plans to use social media as a way to educate consumers and people who may not have previous knowledge of the Jersey breed and AJCA.
During her time as Queen, Konyn is most excited for the ability to serve Jersey breeders across the United States. She is looking forward to attending events such as the National Convention in Oregon, World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, and both the Junior All American and All American Jersey Shows in Louisville, KY. Prior to being named queen, Kylie believed that her participation in Class VII of Jersey Youth Academy gave her a toolbox of knowledge about the dairy industry and the Jersey breed. According to Kylie, the most beneficial and influential part of competing in the Jersey Queen Contest is the opportunity to communicate with industry professionals and producers in the breed. “You get the opportunity to build connections that will serve you later in your career,” Konyn said. She also valued the opportunity to talk with other young women from across the country to learn about various aspects of the Jersey breed and the dairy industry. One piece of advice Kylie wanted to give young women with the desire to compete for National Jersey Queen is to apply and go through the whole process. Before she got the National title, she served as the California Jersey Queen and Western National Jersey Queen and applied for National Queen two other times. Kylie stated that each time she applied, she gained valuable connections and information that helped her succeed in the future.