To celebrate National Dairy Month, dairy farmers across western Iowa are inviting the public to a family-friendly event at J&S Dairy near Maurice. The 12th annual event will include a dairy farm tour, free food, and kids’ activities from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12. Parking is available at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center with Transportation provided to the farm. The National Dairy Month Celebration is sponsored by Western Iowa Dairy Alliance and Midwest Dairy.
Visitors will tour J&S Dairy, including opportunities to view a robotic milking system. This unique milking system allows the cows to enter the robot when the cow wants to be milked. Additionally, attendees will witness where cows are milked, where they are housed and fed, and learn about the role of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Veterinarians, dairy nutritionists, dairy farmers, and other experts will be available to answer questions. There will also be information about crop production and conservation.
“We invite everyone to join us for a family-friendly evening on the farm to celebrate National Dairy Month and the role of dairy products in a healthy lifestyle,” said John Vanderwaal owner of J&S Dairy. “Great-tasting dairy products start with healthy, comfortable cows, and we look forward to showing how we care for the animals and the land we farm.”
John Vanderwaal began dairy farming in 1998 with his family. In the summer of 2016, John and his wife Sharon broke ground on a new dairy. In December of 2017, the cows arrived at J&S Dairy to begin milking 250 Holsteins with four Lely Robotic Milking Systems. The Robots allow the cows to freely enter the milking system to be milked throughout the entire day.
Following the tour, guests will enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream and milk from local dairy processors.
The open house will feature a Kid’s Fun Zone with games, activities and the chance to meet dairy calves. In addition to dairy, kids will have the opportunity to learn about other agricultural products from representatives from Iowa State Extension, 4-H, Siouxland Ag in the Classroom, Iowa Corn, and other groups. Jessica Schmitt, Iowa State Dairy Princess, will also be in attendance.
June Dairy Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the efforts of Iowa’s dairy farmers as they deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products and make a significant contribution to the state’s economy and rural communities. Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $4 billion a year in economic activity from farming to dairy processing. There are about 1,100 dairy farms in the state, and about 98 percent of the state’s farms are family-owned.