Iowa farms to hold open houses in celebration of National Dairy Month

Jennifer Bentley and Fred M. Hall
Iowa State University
Learn about dairy production in Iowa during these educational farm visits.

The state’s dairy industry will be on full display this month in celebration of National Dairy Month. At least three major dairy open houses have been planned, in addition to other events that are occurring across the state.

The Iowa State University Dairy Farm will be open to visitors June 10, from 7 a.m. to noon. Visitors of all ages can learn about cow comfort, dairy production and sustainability, view a live milking parlor in action, and take a guided tour of the farm with campus staff and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Dairy treats will be available.

On June 15, the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance will hold an open house at Schelling Dairy near Sioux Center from 5-8 p.m. Visitors will learn about the history of this family dairy, as well as the family’s investment in robotic milking and modern dairy barns.

On June 25, Iowa’s Dairy Center in northeast Iowa will hold the annual Breakfast on the Farm. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 to noon and includes Belgian Waffles, sausage and dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. 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.

“Dairy open houses are a great way for consumers to learn more about modern dairy practices, ask questions and get a hands-on experience on what happens on today’s dairy farms,” Jenn Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, said.

Iowa ranks 12th in the nation for total milk production, and eighth for milk production per cow. The state produces over 5 billion pounds of milk a year from over 200,000 cows.

The dairy industry provides a $5.6 billion economic impact to Iowa each year, supplying more than 15,500 jobs across the state. The annual economic impact of a single dairy cow is $25,495.

Event details

  • June 10, Iowa State Dairy Farm Open House from 7 a.m. to noon, located at 52470 260th St., Ames.
  • June 15, Schelling Dairy Open House, 5-8 p.m. Transportation to the farm will be provided from the Terrace View Event Center, located at 230 St. Andrews Way, Sioux Center.
  • June 25, Breakfast on the Farm, at Iowa’s Dairy Center, 8:30 a.m. to noon, located at 1527 Highway 150 S., Calmar, Iowa. Breakfast on the Farm will be held rain or shine. Donations are accepted the day of and parking is available on-site.

For more information about the open houses, Bentley can be reached at 563-387-7640 or jbentley@iastate.edu. ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialist Fred Hall is available at 712-737-4230 or fredhall@iastate.edu.