Extension dairy month events include June 9 open house

June is dairy month and the public is invited to celebrate the efforts of Iowa’s dairy farmers who deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products, making a significant contribution to the state’s economy. ISU Extension and Outreach is offering several educational opportunities across the state to learn about dairy farming first-hand.

“Our goal is to create the next generation of dairy lovers,” said Leo Timms, Morrill Professor of animal science and extension dairy specialist. “We’re giving visitors an opportunity to get inside a dairy barn and see our commitments to animal well-being, environmental stewardship and production of high quality, safe milk and dairy products. Consumers need to know about local dairy products and the work it takes to make Iowa 12th in the nation for milk production.”

Dairy is the fifth-largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $4 billion a year in economic activity, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 2012 Census of Agriculture. There are about 1,400 dairy farms in the state and about 99 percent of them are family-owned.

The dairy month open house schedule includes face-to-face conversations with farmers and on-farm milking demonstrations. Open house activities vary by location and may include a meal or samples of dairy products, a kid-friendly area to meet calves and visit educational exhibits, and a guided farm tour allowing families to milk a cow and see robotic milking machines.

June Dairy Month open houses

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.