AMES, Iowa — To celebrate dairy month the Iowa State University Dairy Farm will host its 10th annual open house on June 8, from 6 - 11 a.m.
The event is open to the public. Tours will be given every 30 minutes beginning at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m. Stops include the milking parlor, the milk house and dairy barns.
Visitors can sample free dairy products while learning about commodity group activities in the Ag Discovery Center. The open house includes modern technology demonstrations and best practices in animal care, product quality, safety and environmental stewardship.
The ISU Dairy Farm is located on 887 acres at 52470 260th St. in Ames, three miles south of central campus. To get to the farm from Highway 30 take exit 146 to University Boulevard and go south one mile and turn right on 260th Street.
The dairy farm opened in 2007 and provides teaching, research and outreach opportunities. The farm is one of several teaching farms at Iowa State. Each semester nine courses are offered to more than 900 students. The farm also employees more than 50 students each semester, which is also a learning opportunity.
Ben Drescher, ISU Dairy Farm manager, said the farm provides a unique opportunity to students to practice what they learn in the classroom. Along with classes, faculty, staff and students participate in ongoing research projects, host tours and extension groups while maintaining a commercial dairy.
“The ISU Dairy is pivotal to the animal science department’s mission of educating and helping students learn life skills and knowledge, to engage and serve the public and the people who produce animals and animal products,” Drescher said.
The farm has 400 milking cows. Each cow produces around 90 pounds of milk a day. Iowa ranks 12th in the nation in the number of pounds of milk produced, cow numbers and milk produced per cow. Iowa is home to approximately 1,300 dairy farms, which includes 222,000 dairy cows and 200 dairy goat farms (34,000 milking does). Each cow provides $23,445 in economic activity to local communities for a combined annual economic impact of $4.9 billion in Iowa according to the Iowa State Dairy Association.
Sponsors of the June Dairy Month Celebration include Iowa State University, Midwest Dairy Association, Hy-Vee, Iowa State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Swiss Valley Farms, the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation and Hiland-Dairy Foods.
Visitors who have recently returned from a trip abroad are asked to wait five days before visiting farms with animals. If you have visited another farm you should change clothing and footwear before visiting the dairy farm and refrain from bringing any food items to the farm.
For more information or for planning private tours contact the farm manager at https://www.ans.iastate.edu/farms/visiting-farm.