Dig into Dairy
A  WebQuest for Middle School Students, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

Did you know that there are more than nine million dairy cows in the United States?  They produce milk for us every day of the year.  Your mission is to learn more about the many aspects of the Dairy Industry. You will learn about different dairy cattle breeds of North America and the reasons these animals are so important to our lives. The dairy industry has gone through many changes over the last few decades.  These changes have been driven by the economics of supply and demand and other economic issues.  Have fun as you research the exciting world of the dairy cow!!!   

Your task for this WebQuest is to explore the six major dairy breeds of North America. Then after completing your research, you will complete a project consisting of an oral and poster presentations.  You will present your findings to the class


► Read this page thoroughly.  Know what is expected of you.

► Visit the 4-H Virtual Farm and Agripedia to find the six major dairy breeds of North America.  Each dairy breed has its own association to keep its records. Visit each association homepage.  Make sure that you can identify each breed. If you will be tested on dairy breeds, here are some review questions.

► After your research, prepare an oral report and poster presentation that both compares and contrasts the six major breeds.

► Your presentations must include such items as breed origin, distinguishing characteristics (examples would be volume of milk produced, color, size etc.)  and other major contributions to the dairy industry. Make sure you know the correct names of the parts of a dairy cow for your presentation.

► You may use any format you wish on the poster as long as it is neat and legible.  It must include pictures of the breeds.  These pictures can be drawn by hand or be of computer origin.  Remember you are comparing and contrasting!!! Include these findings on your poster via charts, graphs or any other appropriate format.  

► Submit your notes and poster to your teacher after the oral presentation.  Your grade will be based on the scoring guide below.

► At this web site, you will see that there are many more breeds of cattle than just these six.  Read about six other breeds of cattle (not the six major dairy breeds) of your choosing.  Write a brief description of each. Explain why you think each of them did not become one of the six important dairy breeds in the United States.  Then select your favorite dairy breed and explain why you think it is the best breed of dairy cow.  Make sure you write at least one page.


NAAB:  Dairy Cattle Breed Associations

You have successfully completed your task.   Please listen to everyone’s report very closely and take notes as needed. You will be responsible for questions covering all six major dairy breeds.


Project Scoring Guide
Oral  Report Points Possible Points Earned
Evidence of Research and Planning    
Oral Presentation skills    
Note Usage    
Appropriate length    
Report follows all criteria as to comparing and contrasting dairy breeds    
Teacher’s Comments





Research Poster Points Possible

Points Earned

Evidence of Research and Planning    
Neatness  and legibility    
Assignment includes pictures, charts, graphs etc.    
Poster covers major dairy breeds    
The breeds are both compared and contrasted    
Teacher’s Comments




This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.


Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.
This page was developed by RaMona Andrus, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau