Secretary Naig Announces 20 Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grants

Cost-share grants will increase on-farm dairy processing and incorporate labor saving technology 

WOODWARD, Iowa (Apr. 18, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that 20 Iowa dairies across 12 counties have been awarded Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grants to increase on-farm dairy processing, incorporate labor saving technology, and expand the availability of Iowa dairy products for consumers to enjoy. The announcement was made at Picket Fence Creamery outside of Woodward, which was awarded a grant to significantly expand their on-farm processing capacity.

“Choose Iowa is about connecting consumers to the great Iowa products that are grown, raised and made here in Iowa. The Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grant Program helps Iowa dairy farms cost-share the addition of new on-farm processing equipment or labor-saving technology, both of which will ultimately lead to more Iowa dairy products for consumers to enjoy,” said Secretary Naig. “This grant was exceptionally competitive with requests far exceeding available funding, so we know these are great projects which will have a positive impact on these farms and the Iowa dairy industry as a whole.”

"Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA) is excited for the announcement of the Dairy Innovation Grant awards. This is an initiative ISDA worked hard for and are pleased to see it come to fruition with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship,” said Lee Maassen, President of ISDA and a 5th generation dairy farmer from Maurice. “The grant program will support Iowa’s dairy farms by addressing the need for innovation- whether through dairy processing or implementing labor-reducing technologies on the farm- plus, give Iowa consumers additional options to support local dairy. We appreciate Iowa's investment in our dairy industry." 

The cost-share grants are helping dairies invest in pasteurization equipment, processing space, packaging and bottling products, robots, health monitoring, automated feeding systems, cleaning assistance, and much more. The program funds are not eligible to cover start-up costs, advertising, public relations, salary/benefits/wages, existing debt or any expenses incurred prior to awarding the grant. 

With the legislative intent of assisting smaller dairies and farmers, grant awardees must be located in Iowa, have fewer than 50 employees, and be in good standing with pertinent regulatory agencies. Only dairies permitted and inspected by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship were eligible. The concept builds off the success of other recent Iowa cost-share grant programs, including the Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant and the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program, both of which are also aimed at increasing the availability of local food and boosting local processing capacity

The program matches up to $100,000 per project. The overall budget is $750,000 and grant requests far exceeded the availability funding. Eligible grant requests totaling $2,670,191.50 were received from 50 dairies. This included 7 dairies seeking $348,637.36 for on-farm processing and 44 dairies seeking $2,321,554.16 for labor saving technology (one dairy requested funding for both on-farm processing and also labor-reducing technology projects). These 20 grants will leverage an overall investment of $2,211,000.24. Of that, $143,509 in grant funding leverages a total investment of $290,808.72 in on-farm processing projects. Additionally, $600,503.14 in grants for labor reducing technology leverages a total investment of $1,920,191.52.

Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grants awarded today include the following projects, listed in alphabetical order within each category:

On-Farm Processing

Cinnamon Ridge | Donahue | $6,023.30
Utilize a Clean Out of Place unit to sanitize cheese making equipment more efficiently.
Total Project Budget: $12,046.60


Country View Dairy | Hawkeye | $6,750
Introduce conveyor belt and rotary packoff turntable to more efficiently package products.
Total Project Budget: $13,500


Hightail | Plainfield | $19,485.78 
Build on-site space for processing milk for bottling and cheese curds.
Total Project Budget: $41,312.12


Picket Fence Creamery | Woodward | $100,000
Replace vat pasteurizer with HTST (high temperature short time) pasteurizer and chiller.
Total Project Budget: $201,450


WW Homestead Dairy | Waukon | $11,250
Purchase new cheese curd mill to expand their frozen breaded cheese curd line.
Total Project Budget: $22,500


Labor Reducing Technology

A&J Farms | Fort Atkinson | $17,180.63
OptiDuo Feed Pusher
Total Project Budget: $34,361.26


Anderegg Farms | Guttenberg | $77,184.31
Automatic Takeoffs
Total Project Budget: $154,368.61


Chad Fertig | Wall Lake | $35,000
Expansion of Dairy Parlor
Total Project Budget: $79,710.56


Enyart Dairy | Postville | $13,337.50
Juno Flex Feed Pusher
Total Project Budget: $26,675


Kenneth Steffen Dairy | New Vienna | $100,000
New milking parlor, milking parlor equipment, and milk room equipment
Total Project Budget: $816,450.64


Kruse Dairy | Dyersville | $57,654.20
CowManager ear tag based individual cow monitoring system
Total Project Budget: $115,308.40


Lango Dairy | Hopkinton | $26,575
Milk Taxi & Alta Cow Watch Activity System
Total Project Budget: $53,154.93


Lehman Dairy | Sherrill | $22,063
CowManager ear tag based individual cow monitoring system
Total Project Budget: $44,126.60


Nedved Family Farms | Garner | $100,000
Lely A5 Milking Robots
Total Project Budget: $342,939.52


Piggott Hills Farm | Waukon | $10,490
SCR Cow Health Monitoring System
Total Project Budget: $20,980


Prairie Star Farm | Waukon | $42,000
Lely Discovery Collectors
Total Project Budget: $85,158


Schulte Dairy | Norway | $43,179
Lely Discovery Collector
Total Project Budget: $77,858


Strief Farms | Farley | $20,047
Feed Watch & Rumination Collars
Total Project Budget: $40,094


Whitford Dairy | Volga | $24,667.50
SCR Health Monitoring System and Lely Juno Flex Robotic Feed Pusher
Total Project Budget: $49,335

Wolf Dairy | Epworth | $11,125
Farmfit Cow Health Monitoring System
Total Project Budget: $22,250


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Don McDowell
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