above photo and others on his site: flickr.com/photos/zimmcomm/sets/72157602243087496/
Beautiful fall day and evening. 64 F at 9:30. Went to the World Dairy Expo at 3:15. Visitors from Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, UK, many other countries. Venders of dairy products, most from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa but also from Eastern states. Many free samples of cheese, cheese spread and other dairy products. Auctioning in a tent - during the time I was there Airshire calves and heifers. Most were going $2,000 - $5,000 or more. Also auctioning embryos and semen. Judging going on in the arena was dry cows, heifers, and then kids 9 - 11 years for showmanship could bring in any breed or age - most kids had young, small cattle. Breeds included Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Red and White Holstein, Black and White Holstein, Guernsey and Short Horns. Photographers working next to the pond with willow trees in the background had 4 - 5 guys to position the cattle properly with the front feet slightly elevated. A Collie was on hand to get the cattle's interest. If the Collie wasn't interesting enough they had other toys and as a last resort a feed basket to hold high and shake and drop the feed back into. This is an annual huge event where hotels in Madison and near area are booked full a year in advance. On leaving a vendor (breeder?) tent had free plastic glasses of beer. The tent was packed with people and several cows were on one side. Most of the cattle seemed quite contented and happy to put up with all the grooming and handling. Some were tired of kids pulling them around and wanted to stand their ground. Also, they don't take naturally to the posed photography positions - that was the only part where I saw confusion on the part of the animal. Even their hooves were thoroughly cleaned.
The World Dairy Expo, or World Dairy Exposition, is a cattle show held annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. It is held the first week of every October and has been going on since 1967. Many consider it the largest and most important Dairy Cattle Show on North American soil.
One of the unusual aspects about the World Dairy Expo that makes it different from the many other Dairy Cattle shows is its themes. Ever since the late 1980's every Expo has had its own theme. Every year the showring is decorated with two backdrops that correspond to that years theme. Themes have ranged from the simple to the extravagant, like the "Excitement is Building" theme which had a huge construction like backdrop. The World Dairy Expo is known for having colored shavings in the showring. The shavings have been died many different colors including teal, bright red, and green. Last year's theme was "Dairy Central", which was a train station theme. The theme for 2007 is "Bright Lights, Big Show."
Hundreds of dairy cattle from all over the United States come to the show. Breeders from Canada and Mexico would come to compete before the borders closed. All seven nationally recognized breeds (Brown Swiss, Holstein, Red & Whites, Guernsey, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, and Ayrshire) have a show. After a grand champion from each breed is selected, a final show is held to determine the best two cows in the show. This is held on the last day of the World Dairy Expo (Saturday) and is often referred to as the main event. The show starts out with an introduction of each cow and leadsman (person at the end of the halter) listing both of their achievements. After this is done the cows are judged by all of the breed judges from the past week. After they decide on a cow, the Supreme Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion is announced.
The World Dairy expo is also home to an enormous trade show from companies that come from all over the world. The trade show is so large because the World Dairy Expo attracts over 65,000 attendees. Companies like Toyota, John Deere, Case IH, Chevrolet, Bayer, Semex, American Breeders Service, and many more make the trip to Madison every year.
Another part of the trade show is the numerous educational seminars that are given. Some of these are given by successful farmers, who explain how they did things .
The World Dairy Expo offers many different conferences for the youth in the dairy industry as well. There is a judging contest in which teams an individuals from high school FFA (National FFA Organization) chapters and 4-H programs can compete in as well as a division for Collegiate level teams. There is also a separate cattle show for contestants who are college age or younger. This cattle show is separate from the main show but has all of the same stuff. Supreme and Reserve Supreme champions are named the same way as the older contestants. Winning the junior show is almost as prestigious as winning the main one.
Each year, they travel thousands of miles to Wisconsin to see the latest the dairy industry has to offer.
When the event takes over the Alliant Energy Center today through Saturday, every continent except Antarctica will be represented. Some will come from familiar, nearby countries such as Canada and Mexico, while others will come from Serbia and Kenya, to name a few. According to event organizers, about 2,000 of this year 's attendees will be from 80 countries other than the United States.
For a German Holstein breeder, it is a sense of duty to travel once a life to the World Dairy Expo, " said Dieter Goldmann, who organizes agriculture trips and tours from Hanau, Germany. The group of 21 breeders will be led by Eiso Busemann, who said they will make the 4,000-mile trip to see bulls firsthand before buying semen.
Being able to show products to potential customers from around the world is a critical benefit of World Dairy Expo, said Janet Keller, spokeswoman for Accelerated Genetics in Baraboo.
"Dairy producers tend to be hands-on, " she said. "Literature is great, but the experience is a lot of the benefit (of Dairy Expo). "
The event has allowed Accelerated Genetics to build partnerships with international companies, such as SOP Group, an Italian company that makes bacteria-control and manure-management products. SOP showcased its products at Dairy Expo for the first time in 2006 and will be back with a larger presence this year, Keller said.
"This business has become more global than ever before, " she said. "It 's extremely important to meet new potential partners in the rest of the world. That 's probably the biggest power of this show, the networking that goes on. "
With attendance expected to be 65,000 to 70,000 over five days, expo visitors will spend about $13.5 million during their time in Madison, said Deb Archer, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Those thousands of people will take up most of the Alliant Energy Center, with nine barns housing about 2,000 head of cattle. Seminars and more than 1,500 exhibits will be held in Exhibition Hall while equipment will be displayed in an outdoor trade mall in an adjacent parking lot along with a food court. The Dane County Coliseum will be home to more exhibits and daily cattle shows.
But even with the show 's large footprint and attendance, Lisa Behnke, spokeswoman for World Dairy Expo, said it should be easy to pick out the international visitors, who will be wearing red ribbons.
"I think we can talk about a global dairy industry all we want and it truly is, " Behnke said. "But nothing drives it home that World Dairy Expo is a global dairy event more than when you see all of those red ribbons. "
Zoran Janjatovic, who runs Union Farms, a dairy consulting and supply company in Novi Sad, Serbia, will be one of those sporting the red ribbon. He said attending World Dairy Expo with eight of his countrymen will give him a chance to not only visit the world 's largest dairy show, but also see a dairy industry that is very similar to his.
"We 're looking at U.S. farms in Wisconsin that have similar technology (as those) in Serbia because that is more similar than looking into the rest of Europe, " he said. During the trip, the group will also visit several farms in southern Wisconsin and the Accelerated Genetics semen production facility in Westby.
Wisconsin 's climate, feed types and size of farms make it a good model for Serbian farmers, who are attempting to rebound after little or no innovation for 15 years due to conflict involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia, Janjatovic said.
"We want to catch up with production and technology and have our space in the dairy industry, " he said. And he expects his group will use the Dairy Expo to learn and make contacts to foster that growth.
"We need a lot of accurate information for the developing sector here because we really lost a lot of time, " Janjatovic said. "There is a lot of technology that is missing here. "
Prior to 9/11, there were about 3,500 international visitors each year at Dairy Expo. New travel rules cut that number severely, but the number of international visitors has steadily risen back to 2,000. Of the 675 companies exhibiting, 70 of them have their headquarters outside the U.S.
But this year, Mother Nature will keep some individuals from making the trip.
"I don 't anticipate seeing as many people from the Pacific Rim, particularly Australia, just given the horrific drought that country is experiencing, " Behnke said.
But there is value in having made that personal connection with dairy producers from across the world. It allows local people to truly understand the challenges all farmers face, she said.
"When you know people on a global basis, you can empathize with them, " she said. "It makes the industry seem a lot smaller. And in this day and age with e-mail and text messaging, you feel like they 're your next-door neighbors, not half a planet away.