Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: IA

Learn about 'My Family's Dairy Farm'

TAGS: Dairy
Tyler Harris Close-up of dairy cow at feeder
AG RESOURCE: “My Family’s Dairy Farm” is the ninth in a series by Katie Olthoff, Iowa children’s book author. Olthoff writes the books for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to provide nonfiction, ag-based resources to schools.
New book by children’s author Katie Olthoff helps students learn about dairy farming.

A new nonfiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff tells the story of raising cows and producing milk on an Iowa farm. “My Family’s Dairy Farm” is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The story follows Lucas, an 8-year-old boy in Iowa who helps on his family’s dairy farm. Lucas takes readers on a tour of the farm and discusses how his family cares for the cows, which produce milk that is made into cheese and other dairy products. He discusses the quality care the cows receive and other aspects of sustainability that the farm practices. The book is written at a third grade reading level and has supplemental text that gives additional background information for more advanced readers.

The book is the ninth in a series by Olthoff, a former teacher who understands the importance of having high-quality, relevant nonfiction books for students. Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50% of student reading be informational or nonfiction. Olthoff writes the books for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to provide nonfiction, ag-based resources to schools.

Importance of dairy

“Milk is the third-largest beverage category. Dairy production is important and essential to the food supply,” says Will Fett, IALF executive director. “’My Family’s Dairy Farm’ offers the opportunity to teach about how cows are cared for and how milk can be used for a variety of dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, ice cream and so much more. We can also discuss important topics like sustainability and protecting natural resources.”

Olthoff lives on a working turkey farm in central Iowa with her husband and family. Her first book detailed how turkeys were raised on their family farm. She currently works for ChopLocal as director of communications. She is active in the agriculture community in Iowa and beyond as a volunteer for Common Ground, a national network of farm women who share information on food and farming with consumers across the country. She has experience teaching and communicating about agriculture with her blog.

Health and technology

The book features the technology used on dairy farms to track production and health of cows. It explains the feed rations that create a healthy diet for cows. It explains how milk is collected, tested and then transported to the processor to become cheese.

“Understanding where milk and dairy products come from is important,” says Jenna Finch of Midwest Dairy. “This book will help students connect the dots between the high-quality care the cows receive and the tasty dairy product that they get to enjoy.”

Copies of the book are being made available to all Iowa elementary schools and additional copies are available on request. The book is a special project of IALF with financial support from Midwest Dairy. The book also has two lesson plan companion resources to help teachers integrate the book into a science or social studies lesson. The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

For more information about the book or other education resources, contact IALF at

Source: IALF, which is responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and its subsidiaries aren’t responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.