Why go to World Dairy Expo?

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Why go to World Dairy Expo?

If you aren’t from the dairying community, you may have never heard of World Dairy Expo (WDE), but you’re truly missing out. WDE is like Christmas for those in the dairy industry; heck, planning for the next year’s expo starts the day after it’s over, if not even before. WDE is the joining and intertwining of over 77,000 dairy producers, enthusiasts, and businesses from around the globe. It’s a weeklong event in Madison, Wisconsin that promises plenty of ice cream, cheese, and fun. Everyone has a favorite reason to go to Expo, but when it comes down to it, the main reason is to form an alliance of dairy farmers. A common group that will support each other and the interest of the dairy industry as well as promote the product of their toil to consumers throughout the world.

The Competitions

Obviously, one of the biggest parts of World Dairy Expo is the cattle shows, but did you know that a plethora of other competitions exist at Expo? WDE offers a variety of competitions for visitors of all ages. There are three dairy judging competitions: 4-H, Post-Secondary, and Intercollegiate early in the week, where students get to show off their ability to place cattle and talk reasons to the judges. Reasons are the contestant’s opportunity to talk about why they placed the animals as they did. Contestants memorize a set of reasons and go into a room to present their points to a judge who gives them a score based off of the accuracy of their explanation. A forage competition is held for both corn silage and hay, allowing producers to show off their ability to make delicious and nutritious feed for their cows. A fitting contest is held to allow youth to showcase their ability to clip and style their animal’s hair. One of the contests I’d love to judge is the dairy products contest. Companies bring their dairy products to be scored, and the winning products are auctioned off.

New Technology & Innovations

Expo is home to a trade show of over 850 dairy related companies; if this doesn’t thrill you, I don’t know what will! The companies come with their products and staff to communicate with the producers. Buildings are set up with aisle upon aisle of booths that have pens, candy, and other promotional materials for you to take and look into further. The amount of cutting edge technology and new products showcased at Expo is top notch. Dairy producers can talk to sales representatives about how they could implement these products on their farms to become more efficient and allow the cows to be more comfortable. Seminars are also hosted so producers can learn more about specific topics that they can take home to become more profitable.

New Genetics

World Dairy Expo hosts six premiere cattle sales for visitors to take home new additions to their herds. With Expo being one of the top shows in the world, the cattle that sell are from some of the best bloodlines available and their pedigrees would bring excitement and marketability to any herd. Being able to find such a good looking and great pedigreed group of dairy females anywhere else would be hard to do.

Friends & Family

To me, this is one of the best parts of WDE. Getting to see friends from other states all in one place around the animals we love most is priceless. I’ve heard countless stories about friendships blossoming at Expo, which then serves as their one-week reunion each year. I know a couple who has a special place for Expo in their heart, as they got engaged their last year. Expo isn’t just about the cows and ribbons, it’s about the memories made and the time spent with friends and family.

Watch the Beauties Dance

There is nothing more exhilarating than watching the Grand Champions walk in the ring for Supreme Champion selection on Saturday. The lights are down low, and each cow is introduced and spotlighted as she is escorted into the ring like a woman going to the dance. Most people couldn’t care less about the other things to do at WDE; they would be happy enough with plopping down in the Coliseum and watching those silky cows and heifers prance on the colored shavings for hours upon end.

All in all, World Dairy Expo is much more than just a cow show. It’s where dairy farmers from around the globe come to meet and discuss the pressing issues of our industry. They get to form an alliance with others just like them. It’s their little home away from home that understands that sometimes cows just understand your problems better than people. Some people may not understand the importance of it, but to those who do it means everything.

Day 8: National Shows

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The ladies of Char-La-Don relaxing at NAILE.

If you know nothing about the dairy showing world, I have a little explaining to do. When talking about shows there are three levels. First level consists of county 4-H shows and county fairs. Second level is made up of state fairs and state breed shows. The third and highest level is made up of North American International Livestock Exposition (Louisville, Kentucky), All-American Dairy Show (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), and the big one, World Dairy Expo (Madison, Wisconsin.) The third level would be called “National Shows.”

The National Shows are a lot of fun not only to show at, but to attend also. People from all over the world go to World Dairy Expo, as it is the largest dairy event held. There is not just a cattle show but also a trade show. There are vendors from equipment companies, feed companies, and so many others that sell products that relate to the dairy industry.

Today Olivia and I are showing in the junior Holstein show NAILE. My parents left from home on Wednesday to take the cows and will be here until Tuesday. We will also show in the open show on Tuesday. Our family has four milk cows here, Amber and Adriann are five-year olds (Amber is mine and Adriann is Livy’s), Luau who is a Sr. 3 (she’s Leann’s daughter), and Cupcake who is Livy’s Jr. 2.

National Shows are exciting because the competition is a lot harder, and the quality of animals is higher. If you do well at a National Show, you know that your cows are worth all the time and effort you put into them. It’s also nice to see people from all over the U.S. and other countries, especially those who you know and haven’t seen in a while.

Being able to go to National Shows, as well as having cattle that are competitive in their classes is a real blessing. I am so thankful that our parents enjoy showing so much that they take the time to attend these events and allow us girls to enjoy them too.

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Amber and me, Expo 2014.

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Olivia and Adriann, Expo 2014.