Celebrate Dairy Month at open house events in June

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.

June 14, the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance and Hickory Hill Farms will welcome visitors to an on-farm dinner and tour of the Meissner family’s farm, located at 4045 400th St., near Hospers. Participants will learn about the history and growth of this family farm, including the milking parlor and cow barns, from 4-8 p.m.

June 24, the public can enjoy Breakfast on the Farm, held from 8:30 a.m. until noon at Iowa’s Dairy Center in northeast Iowa, located at 1527 Highway 150 S., south of Calmar.Breakfast on the Farm will be held rain or shine. Donations are accepted the day of the event and parking is available on-site.

Organizers will serve a wholesome breakfast complete with Dad’s Belgian Waffles, sausage and delicious dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream – all locally produced and processed. Visitors can take a guided tour of the farm and there will be activities for all ages, including hand-milking a cow, a petting zoo, story time with a local dairy princess, cow inflatables and educational exhibits.

“The open houses help give everyone a better understanding of the principles and practices we use on modern dairies, including animal wellbeing, environmental care and product quality and safety,” said Gail Carpenter, state dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $5.6 billion a year in economic activity from farming to dairy processing, supplying 22,000 jobs with a labor income of $891 million. The annual economic impact of a single dairy cow is more than $25,400 per cow.

For more information, contact Fred Hall in northwest Iowa at 712-737-4230 or fredhall@iastate.edu. In northeast Iowa, Jenn Bentley is available at 563-382-2949 or  jbentley@iastate.edu. Gail Carpenter can be reached at ajcarpen@iastate.edu.