AMES - The Iowa State University dairy farm will celebrate Dairy Month from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., on June 8. The event is open to the public and will include tours of the barns from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The discovery center for children will open at 7 a.m. Free samples of milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream will be available courtesy of Iowa's dairy processors.
The dairy farm, which opened in 2007, includes free stall, dry cow and heifer buildings designed for young cows and cows preparing to calve.
The milking center also houses offices, a classroom, milking parlor and a public-viewing area. The state-of-the-art facility sits on 887 acres, three miles south of campus.
In 2012, Iowa had 1,820 dairy farms, including 219 goat farms and 204,000 milk cows, which produce 4.5 billion pounds of milk and 240 million pounds of cheese annually.
Iowa ranks fourth in ice cream production, sixth in cottage cheese production, seventh in the number of dairy herds and eighth in total dairy products processed in the U.S.
The dairy industry accounts for more than 22,000 jobs and contributes more than $4.9 billion annually to Iowa's economy. Each cow in the state generates more than $23,000 for local communities.
Other celebration sponsors include Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Hy-Vee of Ames, and Roberts, Swiss Valley Farms and Land O'Lakes dairy processors.