June is national dairy month, the perfect time to celebrate the contributions of Iowa's dairy farmers. They deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products every day. Dairy farmers contribute to human health and to the state's economy. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and dairy partners want Iowan's to learn about dairy farming firsthand 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," says 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 on a farm and experience modern dairy practices."
Timms says the goal is for consumers to learn about local dairy products and the work it takes to make Iowa 12th in the nation for milk production. Iowa produces 4.6 billion pounds of milk per year.
Dairy is the 5th largest agricultural business in Iowa
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% 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 set for June in Iowa
Friday, June 5, 6: 11 a.m., ISU Dairy Farm and Ag Discovery Center Open House, 52470 260th St., near Ames.
Saturday, June 20: 8:30 a.m.-Noon, 6th Annual Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa's Dairy Center, 1527 Hwy 150 South, near Calmar.
Thursday, June 25: 4-7 p.m., 8th Annual Western Iowa Dairy Alliance Open House — Dykstra Dairy, 34450 C-12, near Maurice, at the corner of Hwy B58 and Grant Avenue.
All of these 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.
Ryan Breuer, DVM, Dairy Specialist, 712-737-4230, [email protected]
Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist, 563-583-6496, [email protected]
Jan Shearer, DVM, Professor and Dairy Veterinary Specialist, 515-294-3731, [email protected].