Iowa's Dairy Story

October - December 2002

James C. Hosch , Clayton County Extension Education Director


One of the designated program-of-work goals of the Northeast Iowa Community-Based Dairy Foundation is to improve the image of the dairy industry for this region of the upper midwest. People need to celebrate the importance of the dairy industry from various standpoints -- economic development, family-based enterprises, wise use of land base, environmentally soundness, production of nutritionally sound food and sustainability over time. In order for that to happen, Iowa 's Dairy Story needed to be told.


A staff committee was formed to develop the strategies that would bring the kind of excitement about the dairy industry that is desired. Iowa 's Dairy Story includes educational displays, activities, school curriculm and museum-quality artifacts. We want people to know how dairy products reach their table, what happens on a dairy farm, what infrastructure is needed to support the industry, and how dollars are generated by the industry and funneled back to the communities. We not only want people to see what happens within the industry, but also want them to sense the smells, sounds and tastes of Iowa 's Dairy Story.

The youth component of Iowa 's Dairy Story includes a designed school curriculum for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students that is taught in the classroom by their teachers. The curriculum is then followed by a field trip day to the Dairy Center in Calmar. While at the center students rotate to various stations such as the history of the industry, what cows eat and how ruminant digestive system works, the movement of the industry over time in Iowa and the U.S., human nutrition and why dairy foods are so important for skeletal strength, the seven breeds of dairy cows, how cows are milked in a parlor, and what happens in a special needs barn. They make home-made ice cream and spin the Milk Cart Quiz in order to assess what has been learned.

The tourist and adult group component is also underway with organized tours and self-guided walking tours. Hopefully, the Dairy Center is and will continue to be a place that people don't want to miss if they visit Northeast Iowa .


At this stage we know numbers. There have been 732 kids involved in Iowa 's Dairy Story. Breaking down into 132 studnets in our pilot schools, 498 in the spring 2002 schools, 50 in a Postville summer program with Luther College , 27 with the summer Waukon Kid's Club, and 25 with a 4-H group. Schools for the fall 2002 have enrolled 358 students in the program. Adult group tours are just beginning. We will showcase Iowa 's Dairy Story at the Farm Progress Show in September.


Page last updated: July 11, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,