Construction is now underway for IowaStateUniversity's new state-of-the-art 450-cow dairy farm. University officials plan to have the dairy, located south of Ames, Iowa, open in 2007.

“We are beginning an important new chapter in dairy science at IowaState and for the state of Iowa,” said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of ISU's College of Agriculture. “The Dairy/Animal Science Education and Discovery Facility will elevate Iowa State into the top tier of institutions with educational and research facilities devoted to progress in dairy science and animal science.”

The new dairy facility will be located on an 887-acre site three miles south of IowaState's central campus. Funding for the nearly $15 million facility is coming from proceeds from last year's sale of ISU's Ankeny Farm to the City of Ankeny. The sale was directed by the Iowa Legislature in 2002. The Committee for Agricultural Development, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the university, is providing a $1 million grant to assist in developing the farm.

The dairy will be a primary location for hands-on courses, labs and research projects for undergraduate and graduate students in agriculture and veterinary medicine. In addition to 450 milking cows the dairy will also raise its own replacement heifers and care for dry cows.

The new facility's animal housing and management systems will match current industry standards and make use of the latest technology available. A complex of buildings will be constructed on 27 acres. The “front door” will be the dairy center, which will include a visitor's center, a viewing area of the milking parlor, classrooms and meeting rooms.

The main structures to be constructed include:

  • A 450-cow free-stall barn.
  • The dairy center that will include a milking parlor, public viewing area, classrooms and meeting rooms.
  • A special needs/hospital barn for animal health care.
  • A dry cow/transition barn for cows preparing to calve.
  • Maternity barn for birthing cows and newborn calf care.
  • Calf research barn for nutritional and husbandry research.
  • Four heifer barns for young cows.

Research at the new facility will emphasize nutrition, genetics and breeding, health issues and herd management. Extension and outreach will target producers, school children and other members of the public who want to learn more about modern animal agriculture.

The Dairy/Animal Science Education and Discovery Facility will anchor the southern end of the Iowa State University Animal Science Corridor, an area committed to excellence in animal science education and research. The Animal Science Corridor includes seven other ISU livestock teaching and research operations focused on swine, beef, sheep, poultry and horse, as well as the student-managed Ag450 Farm, which raises pigs.

The second phase of the facility is construction of a pavilion for classes, educational programs and student and public events.

ISU press release