Iowa is famous for its high level of agricultural production, especially when it comes to grains and meat production. But what about Iowa’s dairy industry? Believe it or not, Iowa actually ranks towards the top of the nation in dairy production as well. The state fair’s famous butter cow is a great representation of just how important the dairy industry is to Iowa. With June being National Dairy Month, now is a “butter” time than ever to recognize the impact of Iowa’s dairy industry.
To celebrate National Dairy Month, Iowa State University’s Dairy Farm held an open house on June 10th. At the event, I had the chance to talk with Cynthia Hamlett, who is part of the Iowa farmer relations staff with Midwest Dairy. She gave some statistics on where Iowa ranks nationally in dairy production and how it impacts the state’s economy.
Like every other industry, Iowa’s dairy industry has changed a lot in the last ten years. There are fewer farms, but the average farm size has increased to make up for it. On top of that, farming technology has improved at an incredible rate. Hamlett talked about how dairy farms have condensed a lot and become much more efficient in the past decade.
One of the most major advancements in dairy production has been the huge increase in automation. Nowadays, many dairy farms have robots that the dairy cows can walk up to and get milked whenever they please, and each cow can have a monitor that provides important data on their health and nutrition. Hamlett said this cuts down on labor and allows farmers to spend a lot more time focusing on the management aspects of dairy production.
Hamlett added that Midwest Dairy is always open to communicating with consumers to help them learn more about dairy production.
If you’re interested in getting in touch and learning more about how your milk gets from the farm to your table, visit Midwest Dairy’s website at https://www.midwestdairy.com/.