Dairy Breakfast Educates Consumers on Importance of Iowa Agriculture

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Jennifer Bentley, ISU Extension Dairy Field Specialist
Allamakee, Winneshiek, Howard, Mitchell, Fayette, Bremer, Chickasaw, Clayton
325 Washington Street, Suite B, Decorah IA 52101

Ron Lenth, Bremer County Extension Director
720 7th Avenue Tripoli, IA 50676


Your Position

­­­­­__x_ _Field

POW #and Team

­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­__x___ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_____ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_____ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship
_____170 Pesticide Applicator Training
_____180 Other ANR Programs

ANR Priority(select all that apply)

­­­­­___x__Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­___x__Regional Food Systems
­­­­­___x__Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­___x__Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels &Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Title of Success Story

Dairy Breakfast Educates Consumers on Importance of Iowa Agriculture

Continuing Story

__x___ No                _____  Yes(If continuing, what story?)

Knowledge Areas:(USDA categories)

Global Food Security and Hunger
Regional Food Systems
Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
Food Safety

Desired Changes

Learning- Northeast Iowa’s population that generally do not have access to visiting a dairy farm, increased their knowledge and understanding about animal health and well-being on modern dairy farms. Breakfast on the Farm provided non-farming families the opportunity to experience and learn first-hand about the cow care efforts made daily to achieve cow comfort and health, grow quality feed for the dairy herd, safely manage manure,sustain quality land stewardship, build respect for family and non-family workers, and maintain overall quality and safety of milk and dairy products.
Actions- Non-farm families who attended the Breakfast on the Farm have the ability to make an informed decision about modern dairy practices.  They also have the ability to counter negative information that is derogatory towards the dairy industry. 

(Why is it important to address this issue with education? What are the desired changes?)

A large percentage of the US population lives in an urban or suburban environment, and is disconnected from agriculture and food production.  Now, less than 2% of the US population is involved with agriculture.  At the same time, there is increasing interest and concern in the general population about food safety, quality, and sustainability.  The desired changes from the Breakfast is to enhance non-farming families knowledge about modern dairy practices that assure animal health and comfort, product quality and safety, as well as provide nutritional information on its importance to human growth, well-being and development, and the importance and economic impact of the dairy industry in Iowa.  Those in attendance will have the resources and knowledge to educatethose who have a negative perception to dairy and inspire consumer confidence.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

Organized a “Breakfast on the Farm” that invited the public to eat breakfast on the farm, take a tram-guided tour through a modern day dairy farm, and meet with regional and local food groups in Northeast Iowa.  Dairy producers and agri-professionals served as tour guides and narrators.  Guests could learn facts about dairy herd management directly from the people who work and serve the farm.
600 people attended the 2nd Annual Breakfast on the Farm.  During the event, they explored a modern dairy farm through a tram-guided tour, tasted various dairy products and other local and regional foods, and visited with other commodity groups important to Iowa agriculture.

RESULTS(Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions,Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

Of the 600 that attended, 175 participated in a survey that measured their confidence in how dairy farms are managed today.  61% of those surveyed already viewed the dairy industry as very positive and thought dairy producers took good care of their animals and the environment.  After the event, 23% of those surveyed viewed the dairy industry more positively.  Overall, 95% of those that attended the Breakfast thought the event was good to excellent.  Highlights of the event included learning about dairying, how cows & calves were managed, and viewing and learning about the dairy parlor. 


Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Participants who generally do nothave access to visiting a dairy farm retained confidence in where and how their food is produced.  This is important to Iowa’s agricultural sector in regards to the economy, jobs, and keeping farm families sustainable in rural Iowa.


Major Partners or Collaborators

ISU Extension, Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation, Northeast Iowa Community College, Midwest Dairy Association

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Region 4

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated(Ext + Research)


Funding Source

Midwest Dairy Association, community organizations, Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation




Page last updated: November 28, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu