Celebrate Iowa's Dairy Industry this June

ISU Extension offers multiple dairy open house opportunities across state


AMES, Iowa – Iowa’s dairy farmers deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products every day. June, national dairy month, is the perfect time to celebrate their contribution to human health and the state’s economy. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and dairy partners want Iowan’s to learn about dairy farming first-hand at open houses scheduled around the state.
 
“Our goal is to create an understanding and appreciation for dairy, including the care and well-being of animals, the stewardship of our land and resources, and finally, the commitment to high quality, nutritious, and safe dairy products,” said Leo Timms, Morrill professor of animal science and Extension dairy specialist with Iowa State University.  “We’re giving visitors an opportunity to get inside a dairy barn farm and experience modern dairy practices.”

Timms said the goal is for consumers to learn about local dairy products and the work it takes to make Iowa twelfth in the nation for milk production. Iowa produces 4.6 billion pounds of milk per year.

Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating nearly $5 billion a year in economic activity from farming and dairy processing to local businesses and schools. There are about 1,370 dairy farms and 207,000 dairy cows in the state, with 98 percent of the state’s farms family-owned. Putting these numbers together, each dairy cow generates $25,000 of local economic activity.

The June open houses include face-to-face conversations with dairy producers and on-farm milking demonstrations. Activities vary by location and may include a meal or samples of dairy products, child friendly area to meet calves and visit educational exhibits, guided farm tour allowing families to milk a cow and see robotic milking machines.

Dairy open houses

Events are held in partnership with the Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation, Northeast Iowa Community College and various agriculture and commodity group sponsors and supporters in the local communities.

Visitors are asked to take precautions and follow biosecurity policies if they have been at another livestock operation. Those who have recently returned from a trip abroad are asked to wait five days before visiting farms with animals. Visitors are asked to change clothing and footwear if going from farm to farm and to refrain from bringing any food items to the farm. For more information, contact the farm manager of the dairy operation or one of the dairy specialists.

 

Additional contacts:
Ryan Breuer, DVM, Dairy Specialist, 712-737-4230, rmbreuer@iastate.edu
Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist, 563-583-6496, tranel@iastate.edu
Jan Shearer, DVM, Professor and Dairy Veterinary Specialist, 515-294-3731, jks@iastate.edu
 

PHOTO:
Cows in parlor due to calve in next 6 weeks, or dry cow facilities on a Northwest Iowa dairy operation.