Despite inclement weather and parking capacity challenges, the doors were once again blown off the Stratford Rotary Complex by dairy farmers from across Canada and beyond. The Canadian Dairy XPO (CDX), with mass support from industry and producers has earned the title as the largest dairy stage in Canada.
When asked why the exceptional turnout, Founder and General Manager Jordon Underhill states "Canadian dairy producers are of the finest in the world and they strive for perfection in the milk commodity they produce. They are hungry for information, innovation and enjoy the camaraderie of coming together in one place."
Total attendance over two days climbed from 11,600 in 2013 to 13,900 in 2014. Survey showed 91% of total attendance were active dairy producers, which speaks to how specialized this expo is. The dominant age bracket in attendance was between 20-35 years of age, followed by 36-50 years of age; representing another youthful and optimistic crowd.
Other stats from the expo are: 73% of attending producers reported milking between 50 and 250 cows and 77% reported cropping 250 2,500 acres. 66% of attending producers milk out of a free-stall barn set-up. 42% of producers said they are considering a milking robot with 19% reporting to already having one or more milking robots in operation. 21% of attendees traveled more than 150km and 16% came from out of Province or out of Country. The volume of long distance travelers increased significantly for CDX 2014.
An interesting result came from CDX attendees when asked what other Ontario based farm shows they attend. "The theory since the inception of CDX was that a specialized dairy focussed event would draw not only dairy producers that attend other farm shows, but would also draw those dairy producers that do not attend other farm shows. The latter component is what sets CDX apart and we need to work hard to retain this loyalty on an annual basis." states Underhill. Results show the top three ranking Ontario farm shows were; Canada's Outdoor Farm Show attracting 53% of the total CDX attendance, London Farm Show attracting 38% of the total CDX attendance and the Royal Winter Fair attracting 21% of the total CDX attendance. These dairy producers not attending other farm shows represent mass buying capacity and definitely add to the overall synergy that surrounds CDX.
The attendance increase did not come without challenges. Despite doubling their parking capacity from 2013, parking areas were maxed out several times over. One committed producer and family reported parking downtown Stratford and taking a cab into the Rotary Complex on the second day of the expo. "Not ideal" states Donna Powell, Marketing Manager for CDX. "We plan to fix the parking capacity issue immediately and publically announce the full 2015 parking plan in the next 30 days. By gaining access to the entire Stratford Fairgrounds of old and working with the adjacent land developer, our parking capacity is slated to grow from 20 acres to 60 acres of parking for 2015. We will now guarantee onsite/adjacent parking to our attending dairy families or your admission will be free, that's our guaranteed commitment to you for CDX 2015."
The City of Stratford also recognizes its responsibility to accommodate visiting industry and producers. City of Stratford Mayor, Dan Mathieson states "I can assure you that senior City staff and CDX management will come together to ensure we create an all-round positive experience in visiting the Canadian Dairy XPO and the City of Stratford. Aside from dramatically increasing overall parking capacity, options such as bus shuttle service from major hotels are under consideration, adding convenience and a reduction in total volume of exhibitor cars onsite."
Even with parking hurdles to overcome, exhibitors reported positive improvements to move-in logistics, better quality food and smaller food lines, high volume of quality sales leads and less crowded alleys due to nearly doubling the tradeshow footprint for CDX 2014. Representatives from the largest livestock show globally EuroTier based out of Hanover, Germany were in attendance and were reported as stating that CDX felt like a mature 10 or 15 year show. They complimented the quality and focus of the exhibitor displays and professionals. As a result CDX has been invited to exhibit at EuroTier 2014 this November.
CDX creates a significant fundraising platform for groups such as the Stratford Agricultural Society, Stratford Minor Hockey, 4-H dairy youth clubs, Junior Farmers and local church groups. The massive 350ft BriteSpan Cow Coliseum will be staying up for CDX 2015, so further fundraising opportunities for these groups and others may be possible throughout the year.
"Our ultimate thank you to the dairy industry for the resounding support can be seen in the God Made a Dairy Farmer video we produced and launched at CDX 2014. The video received more than 5,000 views in just 2-days and for that we are proud." states Underhill. If you missed it at CDX, download the Pride In Dairy video at www.dairyxpo.ca.
The Canadian Dairy XPO (CDX) is a business tradeshow, exclusive to the dairy industry, built for prducers and their families who are directly involved in the business of dairy farming. The largest dairy stage in Canada with over 13,000 producers attending and 350 dairy focussed commercial exhibitors.
Dates for the 2015 Canadian Dairy XPO are Wednesday Feb 4th & Thursday Feb 5th 2015 at the Stratford Rotary Complex, in Stratford Ontario, Canada. For more details contact Marketing Manager Donna Powell 226-381-0282 Ext #4 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dairyxpo.ca