Love may have brought Trista Burn to her current residence in New Zealand but she will always have a heart for the land that she first called home. Trista grew up on a 600 cow dairy farm in Mount Vernon, Washington, USA.

Like most farm kids, Trista’s days started earlier and included more responsibility than her peers. She and her siblings squeezed farm chores around school, sports, weekend adventures, and summer activities. Country music rolled its way to her soul during her countless hours on the tractor, cleaning farm equipment, feeding calves, and learning to drive on the old farm truck.

Though it wasn’t glamorous and often dirty, Trista was proud of her role on the farm and took advantage of regular opportunities to show it off to friends. Her pride understandably runs deep. Her great-grandparents were dairy farmers in the Netherlands and her grandparents carried on the tradition when they immigrated to America. Currently 15 members of Trista’s extended family work in farming industries around America.

This pride carried on into her decision to run for County Dairy Princess (yes, a tiara was most certainly involved) and then on to Washington State Dairy Ambassador. She took a gap year to travel extensively throughout the state to meet with industry leaders, educate school and community groups, make media appearances, partner with sports organisations and help put a face and a story to the dairy industry.

During this time she was surprised by the lack of industry and product awareness. “I lived in the industry bubble for my entire life. I regularly felt the stress and number of hours invested into the product. I was frustrated to learn that many of our end customers had misconceptions about dairy products and the hard work that was poured into their lattes.”

When she wasn’t in the public eye, she interned with the Washington State Dairy Council. Her time in this role inspired her to continue communicating the ag-story and she went on to study communications and business at Whitworth University. A twist of fate landed Trista deep in the wool industry the year she moved to New Zealand. She served as a communications consultant for a number of wool industry clients. Her favourite moments of her job included her interviews with farmers for their stories.

“The industry and the country may be different but those conversations felt strangely familiar. Like I was home in the middle of a foreign country. A farmer is a farmer. The dedication, pride, heart, and a touch of crazy is still the same. This is why I will always be proud of my heritage.”

Trista, you have done so much in the ag industry and you truly understand the hard work which goes into a life on the land. We are so glad you feel so at home here in New Zealand and we would like to thank you for all your efforts you put so generously into the primary industries.