Project ID



This project aimed to increase the number of grass-based and organic dairies in Iowa. However, progress was stymied by the severe 2008-09 economic downturn that kept beginning dairy farmers from getting into the business, and also forced some current producers who were candidates to transition to alternative methods to exit the business.

Key Question

Are these model farms profitable, and can they serve as a viable model for both beginning dairy producers and those transitioning from a more traditional confinement system?


These model farms were very profitable in most years and still at least broke even, covering all costs, in the low milk and high feed price year of 2009. So, Iowa dairy producers can be assured that the model is viable and sustainable, though not without risk. The model can support a young family as a starting point, but just as importantly, the model can grow to even a more profitable scale.

Principal Investigator(s)

Larry Tranel


Robert Tigner

Year of Grant Completion