AMES, Iowa – Iowans of all ages will have the chance to experience modern dairy farming this June, as the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team celebrates dairy month across the state.
Youth and adults can tour dairy barns, including a farm that uses robotic milking machines, visit a kid-friendly area to meet calves and learn about agriculture – all while having have face-to-face conversations with farmers and others from the dairy industry.
Iowa’s Dairy Center, located near Calmar, will hold the 10th annual Breakfast on the Farm June 22, with activities for the whole family, such as hand-milking a cow, a cow inflatable, corn pools and a petting zoo. Dairy foods will be available at this and other locations.
“Our purpose is to celebrate dairy food and the abundance of high quality, safe dairy products that Iowans produce every day, at reasonable prices for consumers,” said Leo Timms, Morrill Professor and extension dairy specialist at Iowa State.
Timms said today’s consumers are often removed from the farm, especially from dairy farms, and open houses offer a way to provide an educational, transparent experience.
“The open houses give everybody a better understanding of the principles and practices we use on modern dairies, as it relates to animal wellbeing, environmental care and product quality and safety,” he said.
Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $4 billion a year in economic activity, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The state is 12th in the nation for milk production, with about 1,200 dairy farms, of which 99 percent are family-owned.
June Open Houses
- June 12, 4-8 p.m. Western Iowa Dairy Alliance Open House, J&S Dairy, John and Sharon VanderWaal, 4244 Garfield Ave, Maurice, Iowa.
- June 14, 7 a.m.-noon. ISU Dairy Farm Open House and Ag Discovery Center, 52470 260th St., near Ames.
- June 22, 8:30 a.m. to noon. Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa’s Dairy Center, 1527 Hwy 150 South, near Calmar.
The open houses 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.
Audio file available: For use June 2019
Transcript. Narrator: June is Dairy Month, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is joining the celebration. The ISU Dairy Farm in Ames will host an open house from 7 am to noon on June 14 that features dairy barn tours and a kid-friendly area to meet calves. The 10th annual Breakfast on the Farm event will be held at Iowa’s Dairy Center near Calmar on June 22. For more information about Dairy Month, contact your local ISU Extension and Outreach county office.