The Dairy Center Connection.

Hi, MariahBusta!

I don’t know about you, but these above freezing temperatures are making me eager for spring. Before we know it, the giant snow pile in front of the parlor will be melted, we’ll be able to open the curtains on the barn and be back in the field. Speaking of spring, the farm management team recently met to discuss the crop plan for the upcoming year. With our commitment to cover crops, we will harvest about 60 acres of the rye we seeded last fall to use as heifer feed. Then, those acres will have manure applied and be planted to a sorghum, rye and clover cocktail mix. We will burn off the rye on the remaining 110 acres and plant a combination of BMR and conventional corn to harvest and store separately to compare the silage. We’re thankful to bring together a team with our farm staff, seed reps, nutritionist and custom hire to help create and implement the plan. If there’s one takeaway, it’s that it takes a team. Now, who’s ready for spring?

Mariah Busta
Coordinator, Northeast Iowa Dairy & Agriculture Foundation

What's Happening at Iowa's Dairy Center

Mark Your Calendars for 2021 Annual Meeting

Friday, Mar. 26 | 10 a.m. | Virtual

The theme of this year’s annual meeting will focus on environmental stewardship and the Net Zero Initiative, which is the dairy industry’s goal to become carbon neutral or better by the year 2050. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa DNR Director Kayla Lyon will be sharing updates from their departments and answering questions. Additional details and registration information will be available soon.

Ad Space Available in Annual Report

Businesses and organizations interested in supporting the Northeast Iowa Dairy & Agriculture Foundation’s annual meeting can purchase ad space in the 2021 annual report. Report books are distributed to attendees of the meeting and are available to download on our website. Ads are full color and are available in different sizes. Those interested in purchasing ad space can contact Mariah Busta at (563) 534-9957 ext. 8107 or

Save the Date: Progressive Agriculture Safety Day

Jun. 10, Jul. 8, Aug. 5 | 9-11 a.m. | Virtual

Progressive Agriculture Safety Day is moving virtual this summer. Youth ages 4-12 who live on a farm, work on a farm or visit a farm are encouraged to attend the virtual program. Topics may include ATV, animal, bike, electrical, fire, lawnmower, machinery and sun safety and basic first aid. Stay tuned for additional details and registration information.

Registration Open for Spring and Summer A.I. Classes

Mar. 9-11, Jun. 15-17 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Iowa’s Dairy Center

This is a three-day hands-on class for those who wish to artificially inseminate their own cattle or gain experience to work for others. The class will cover all aspects of bovine reproduction, from anatomy and hormones to heat detection. Students have actual insemination practice on cattle at Iowa's Dairy Center. The minimum age requirement for this class is 16. The class is taught by Select Sires.


Parlor Talk

Parlor Talk features bits of news from the Northeast Iowa Dairy & Agriculture Foundation and Iowa’s Dairy Center. The monthly column is written by Dave Lawstuen, NICC Agriculture Instructor and Chair of Iowa’s Dairy Center.

  •  Iowa’s Dairy Center was recognized by Dairy Farmers of America for producing high quality milk for the tenth straight year.
  • The Dairy Center’s Holstein cow 2601 Indiana is averaging over 120 lbs. in the first 100 days of her first lactation. In the last two weeks, she averaged over 130 lbs., 4.0% butterfat and less than 100,000 SCC. Indiana, along with her three sisters, Iowa, Idaho and Illinois, are the product of a flush that the Dairy Science students in the animal genetics class were involved in. Students evaluated, mated, flushed and transferred embryos from Wake-Up Star Irish 310, a heifer which was purchased at the 2017 NICC Dairy Club Sale.
  • Brodie Bushman, Dairy & Agriculture Foundation Herdsperson and Feed Manager, will begin teaching the Agricultural Equipment and Safety class at NICC as an adjunct instructor. In this course, students receive OSHA certification.
  • NICC Dairy and Beef Science Technology students have recently completed and received their certification in Dairy Quality and Beef Quality Assurance.
  • Congratulations to the following alumni herds who rank among the top of Minnesota herds for milk quality in 2020. Rachel Selke of Winona at 56,000 (4th); Andy and Aaron Houdek of Caledonia at 71,000 (16th); Matt Andring of Dover at 103,000; Cole Hoscheit of Caledonia at 143,000; and Alicia Metz of Rushford at 149,000.
  • Additionally, several farms who have hosted internships for our Dairy Science students also ranked high on the Minnesota milk quality list. Wolf Creek Dairy of Dundas at 58,000 (5th); Sass Dairy of Chatfield at 86,000; Herber Dairy of Utica at 97,000; Johnson Rolling Acres of Peterson at 109,000; Trailside Holsteins of Fountain at 111,000; Borst Family Dairy of Rochester at 125,000; Shea Dairy of Viola at 135,000; Wayne Peters of Lake City at 139,000; and Bob and Jeanette Sheehan of Rochester at 139,000. Congratulations!
  • Where are they now? Tony Kasper, co-chair of the first NICC Dairy Science Club Sale in 2006, is back home on the family farm in Owatonna, Minn. Tony, along with his wife Betsy and three children, milk 500 registered Holsteins with a few Jerseys and Milking Shorthorns. Tony breeds for high type, fat and protein.


Animal Nutrition Class Visits Honey Creek Dairy

NICC Dairy and Beef Science students in the animal nutrition course enjoyed a field trip to Honey Creek Dairy near Strawberry Point. Honey Creek Dairy is milking 190 cows with three Lely robots, but the highlight was seeing and learning more about the robotic TMR mixer, the Lely Vector. Special thanks to Dan and Jamie Venteicher for welcoming the students for a tour.

Beef Science Alumni Invited to Connect on Facebook

Are you an NICC Beef Science alum? Join the program’s alumni Facebook group! This group is designed to share updates and happenings in the Beef Science program and a way to connect with peers. To join, visit Facebook and search “NICC Beef Science Alumni” and click “Join Group.”

Agriculture and Animal Sciences Program Preview Scheduled for March

Friday, Mar. 5 | 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. | Iowa’s Dairy Center

This program preview day is designed for students interested in programs in Agriculture and Animal Science fields at NICC. Faculty are proud to showcase our College, Iowa's Dairy Center with state of the art necropsy lab and expand your understanding of the programs, career opportunities and earning potential in each career field. The program preview option is similar to a regular visit day with the addition of being customized to provide in-depth information on a specific area of study. Learn more

Dairy Profile: Sara Schaefer

Sara Schaefer is a member of the Dairy & Agriculture Foundation’s Operations committee. She joined the faculty at NICC in 2019 and teaches courses in Beef Science, Animal Science, Ag Business and Agronomy. Sara earned a B.S. in Animal Science with a minor in Ag Business and an M.S. in Agriculture Education from UW-River Falls. Prior to NICC, she worked for eight years as a 4-H Youth Development Agent for UW-Extension and taught Animal Science and Agronomy courses at Chippewa Valley Technical College. She resides in Decorah with her husband, Mitch, where they finish out feedlot cattle in the Midwest. In her spare time, Sara shows horses across the country. 

Industry News

Rural Resiliency: Caring for You and Yours webinar series scheduled for March. Register.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering Farm Couple Getaways aimed at farmers wanting to take advantage of activities to improve farm family communication, work on farm or family goal-setting, farm transitioning, or who would just like a weekend away to discuss farm and family issues. Read more.

Bring Undeniably Dairy to your local community with funding from Midwest Dairy available for organized dairy groups and dairy farmers. Read more.

Midwest Dairy offers scholarships to students who are from dairy farms or are studying in dairy-related majors. Read more.

Iowa State Dairy Association will be awarding 14 college scholarships of $500 each for the 2021 fall semester. Read more.

Calendar of Events

Visit our website to see all upcoming events and continuing education courses.

Northeast Iowa Dairy & Agriculture Foundation Board Meeting
Feb. 26 | Noon-2 p.m. | Iowa's Dairy Center

Bovine Artificial Insemination Class
Mar. 9-11 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Iowa’s Dairy Center

Bovine Artificial Insemination Class
Jun. 15-17 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Iowa’s Dairy Center


Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation 
1527 Hwy. 150 S., Calmar, Iowa
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