MVEC Supports Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation And Robotics Milking System
CALMAR--Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC) recently collaborated with eight Iowa electric cooperatives and the Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) Community Foundation to make a $19,000 donation to the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation. The donation supports dairy education and a new robotics milking system being installed at Iowa's Dairy Center, located just south of Northeast Iowa Community College's (NICC) Calmar campus on highway 150.
Gary Kregel, Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation president, recognized the organizations for their support of agriculture, the local livestock industry and emerging robotics technologies that are vital to the success of the dairy industry in Iowa.
"Communities where livestock or value-added agriculture are present are more vibrant due to expanding economies and population growth. The participating cooperatives recognize the importance of having a livestock industry and we thank them for that," Kregel said. "They've shown their support of the robotic technology being implemented at the Dairy Center and the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation believes that such technology will be instrumental in keeping the dairy industry growing in Iowa."
In addition tot he labor benefits gained through automation, robotic milkin systems are also more efficient in terms of their energy consumption, particularly during peak demand times. According to MVEC CEO, Jim Lauzon, "Energy costs for all members are impacted by the cost of power that is higher during peak demand, typically 5-9 p.m. Robotic milkin helps level the demand for energy, in turn saving money for both the cooperatives and their members".
Iowa is the nation's 12th largest milk producing state with about 215,000 dairy cows. A recent economic impact study, sponsored in part by IADG, indicates each cow generates $22,300 annually in economic activity. Mike Meissen, IADG's Vice President of Valude Added Ag said, "Farming is important to us as well as our cooperative members. At the end of the day it's about putting more disposable income in our member's pockets."