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Serving: MI

2022 Michigan Apple Queen crowned

Courtesy MAC Reaghan Dolphin and Aubrey Rasch
APPLE ROYALTY: Aubrey Rasch (right) of Lowell has been crowned the 2022 Michigan Apple Queen. Reaghan Dolphin of Gowen is the first runner-up.
Michigan Bits: Disease prevention survey available; Star of the West acquires Citizens; football players promote dairy.

Aubrey Rasch of Lowell was recently crowned the 2022 Michigan Apple Queen, while Reaghan Dolphin of Gowen is the first runner-up.

Rasch, daughter of Duane and Deborah Rasch, is a student at Lowell High School and the daughter and niece of apple growers. Dolphin, daughter of Jeffery and Julie Dolphin, is a student at Greenville Senior High School and the niece and cousin of apple growers.

As an ambassador to the industry, Rasch will spend the next year attending events and festivals across Michigan as the face of the Michigan apple industry. She will also travel to schools throughout Michigan, teaching students about apples.

Before the competition, the candidates undergo a rigorous interview and essay writing process.

Marking 69th year of the competition, Rasch was crowned Dec. 7 at the 18th annual Michigan Apple Committee grower luncheon.

The 2020-21 Queen, Victoria Wittenbach, and her court, Sarah Rasch, served two years in their spokesperson roles, with events and opportunities canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MSU Extension asks businesses to take disease prevention survey

Michigan State University Extension has partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to implement new programming designed to help prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. This includes resource packets for animal exhibitions around the state, social media materials, and materials to educate youth in strategies they can use to help prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases.

In addition, MSU Extension is developing resources to help Michigan’s vibrant and growing agritourism industry, which often sells food and drink and allows guests to interact with animals, better protect itself and its guests from zoonotic diseases. To aid in that development, MSU Extension is surveying agritourism businesses in the state of Michigan to better understand their needs.

No information identifying you or your business will be associated with your response, and all responses will be kept strictly confidential. You will also have the opportunity to sign up to receive resources from MSU Extension and MDHHS. Take the online survey at

Star of the West acquires Citizens

Looking to boost its capabilities across several key areas — including grain receiving and marketing, agronomy services and food-grade soybean exports — Star of the West Milling Co. recently acquired Citizens LLC, a Michigan-based grain handler, agronomy supplier and global exporter.

Citizens LLC, founded in 1987, receives and markets corn, wheat and soybeans, including non-GMO soybeans, from Michigan farmers. It was recognized as Michigan’s Exporter of the Year in 2021 for its work to market food-grade soybeans globally. Citizens also provides farm supply and agronomy services to Michigan farmers.

Star of the West, a 151-year-old company, is headquartered in Frankenmuth, Mich., and operates five mills in four states, including Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and New York.

MSU football players get behind benefits of milk

Two of Michigan State University’s football players are touting the benefits of dairy. United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) has enlisted quarterback Payton Thorne and wide receiver Jayden Reed to support Michigan dairy farmers and share dairy’s impact on sports nutrition.

They will work with UDIM to share with athletes how fueling themselves with healthy meals and snacks, including dairy, is vital to their performance.  

Reed and Thorne are both from the Chicago area and have played football together for eight years.

Courtesy UDIMMichigan State University football quarterback Payton Thorne and wide receiver Jayden Reed

PROMOTING DAIRY: Michigan State University quarterback Payton Thorne (left) and wide receiver Jayden Reed have joined forces with United Dairy Industry of Michigan to share with athletes how fueling themselves with healthy meals and snacks, including dairy, is vital to their performance.

“Enjoying a balanced diet, which includes dairy. can help fuel athletic performance at all levels,” says Melissa Gerharter, UDIM executive director, youth wellness. “Chocolate milk, specifically, provides nutrients that refuel and rehydrate after exercise.” 

Learn more about UDIM at

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