The Iowa Dairy Story-From Grass to Glass

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

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

Dan Lane, ISU Extension Youth Specialist, Region 4
1417 N Franklin St. Manchester, IA 52057

Iowa Dairy Story Coordinator-
Lynette Anderson,, Region 4 Youth Coordinator

Region 4 CYC’s-
Kristi Fahey, Sarah Hoeft, Patrice Holthaus, Tammy Muller, Michele Kelly, Kaitlin Hanson, Tracy Sharper, Joni Bruvold.

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

Your Position


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
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_____Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­___x__Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels &Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Title of Success Story

The Iowa Dairy Story-From Grass to Glass

Continuing Story

___x__ No                ___  Yes(If continuing, what story?)

Knowledge Areas:(USDA categories)

Global Food Security and Hunger
Food Safety

Desired Changes

Learning – Iowa youth (3rd, 4th and 5th grade) increased their knowledge aboutthe history of dairying, how the ruminant digestive system functions, the leading state and national milk-producing regions, and the seven breeds of dairy cows.
Actions –Providing young people with the opportunity to visit a dairy farm and learn about the dairy cow has enhanced their perception of the dairy industry in Iowa.

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

A cow’s health is very important to dairy farmers.  Proper animal care leads to production of high quality milk.  Nutritious diets, healthy living conditions and good medical care are all essential for a healthy herd.  The Iowa Dairy Story program allows youth to make informed decisions if or when confronted with controversy regarding the dairy industry.  Youth have the ability and knowledge to change their peer’s attitudes in the area of dairy production.

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

The Iowa Dairy Story curriculum ( 8 lesson plans) and field trip to Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation has reached 10,800 students, primarily 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders since it started in 2000.  In the classroom, they learned about all aspects of dairy, from how milk is produced to how it gets to the grocery store.  The day of the field trip, students were provided with interactive information on the value of dairy products in a healthy diet and a journey of how green grass becomes milk in their glass.


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

In the spring of 2011, 297 out of 800 participantsof the Iowa Dairy Story took part in an online survey prior to learning the 8 lesson plans and taking the tour.  After the curriculum was complete, 216 participants took part in the same online survey to measure change in behavior.  Knowledge areas that were increased based on survey were; basic concepts of how cow’s digestive system works and what she eats, increased awareness of proper animal care and modern dairy production practices.

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

Iowa’s dairy industry contributes $575 million annually to the economy.  It also provides over 26,000 jobs including dairy farms, processors, and other services that benefit and aid in the dairy industry.  The Iowa Dairy Story sends home a positive message to young families that the dairy industry is important to Iowa and that Iowa dairy farmers are good stewards of the land, environment and animals they use to produce a high quality product that ends up in their grocery store.

Major Partners or Collaborators

Iowa State University Extension and its county Extension Councils, Northeast Iowa Community College, and the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation

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

Region 4

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated(Ext + Research)


Funding Source





Page last updated: August 25, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,