This blog post was written by ILF undergraduate intern Mikah Wright. Originally from Waukon, Wright is beginning her senior year as a double major in Journalism and Mass Communications and Environmental Studies.
On Saturday, June 23, I had the opportunity to travel to northeast Iowa with the Conservation Station and three of my fellow interns. We were asked to come to an event that would be the first of its kind for the Iowa Learning Farms. It was called Breakfast on the Farm and it was held in Calmar, Iowa.
Breakfast on the Farm was located at Iowa’s Dairy Center, an educational facility which includes two operating dairy farms and a 250-head dairy herd. The ILF team spoke to hundreds of people between the ages of 5 and 85. We had positive responses throughout the day and visitors to the Station were eager to learn about ways to protect Iowa’s topsoil and water quality. Healthy soil is vital for all types of farming and is essential for feeding livestock. This makes protecting Iowa’s soil a priority for farmers and dairy farmers alike. Water is essential for dairy cattle. At the Dairy Center, we learned that a dairy cow can drink anywhere between 30 to 50 gallons of water every day. Quantity is only half of the concern though. Clean, quality drinking water is important for high production and healthy livestock.
Before leaving Calmar we took the opportunity to explore the event. Country View Dairy (Dave Rapson family), WW Homestead Dairy and the Dairy Center provided Dad’s Belgian Waffles, sausage, fresh cheese curds, yogurt, and milkshakes. It was delicious! ILF intern Brittney Carpio took the opportunity to pet a 5-day-old calf, her second time ever touching a cow! Each of the interns then took turns milking a cow which was very special. By the end of the day, the ILF team agreed that it was one of the best events that we had traveled to so far.