Clark, K. J.1; Bentley, J.2; Wilmes, E.3; Erickson, T.4; Hall, F. M.5
1Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, Lincoln, NE, 68583
2ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Field Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Decorah, IA, 52101
3Extension Educator, Livestock, University of Minnesota Extension, St. Cloud, MN, 56301
4SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist, South Dakota State University Extension, Watertown, SD, 57201
5Northwest Iowa Extension Dairy Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Orange City, IA, 51041


In its 15th year, I-29 Moo University is a collaboration of University Extension educators and specialists with expertise in dairy production and management from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. I-29 Moo University, formally known as I-29 Dairy Outreach Consortium, began in response to the limited number of dairy specialists and educators across Land-Grand University Extension systems. Dairy extension faculty in this five-state region have collaborated resources, educational materials, and programs to reach a larger audience with a limited number of extension faculty.

The objective of the consortium is to enhance a sustainable dairy community along the I-29 corridor while providing resources and science-based education to meet the growing demand for food through best management practices, utilization of research-based expertise and resources, and advocating the benefits of a vibrant dairy community through a collaborative effort.   

In the first ten years of existence, the consortium offered an annual conference for dairy producers. In 2015, the consortium expanded their programming and began offering a tour, short course, and multi-state workshop series each year to better meet the needs of dairy producers. The annual conference was eliminated at this time.

The use of technology, including webinars, e-newsletters and webpages, has been at the forefront of this consortium to provide information, articles, and updates. In 2018, the consortium began offering webinars throughout the year, and in 2019 the consortium created a webpage to house the consortium’s resources, proceedings, newsletters, and recordings of webinars.

The consortium faces several challenges for measuring impact of programming and information delivered. One challenge is the measurement of changed behaviors and practices as a result of the information shared in newsletters and during webinars. Another challenge is measuring economic impact from these programs.

Since the consortium began there has been more than $57 million in direct economic impact from 37 programs including workshops, tours, and webinars; 36 newsletters; and booth exhibits. Since 2013, more than 2,445 attendees have participated in programs and more than 500,000 cows have been represented.  The longevity, economic impact, and reach of the consortium have indicated multi-state extension collaborations are sustainable and impactful.

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