In a CTV interview, one producer from New Brunswick stated that the Canadian Dairy XPO was like "the dairy industry on steroids" and that he had "never seen the likes of this, here in Canada".
"That producer statement fits the original vision of CDX" states expo Founder & GM Jordon Underhill. "The idea was to drive maximum value and wow factor for the dairy producer and family. After all, these are the people helping to feed the nation and deserve only the best".
Simply mention the words dairy expo' in any Canadian dairy community today and hear firsthand the genuine feedback and experience on the inaugural Canadian Dairy XPO. There is a buzz in the barn and mass enthusiasm around the 2014 event. The expo was held the first week of February at the Stratford Rotary Complex, Stratford Ontario.
Massive crowds of dairy producers and pick up trucks congested the Stratford streets, parked on all roads up to 3km away. Farmers trenched through snow banks and slushy sidewalks to grab an early morning buttermilk pancake breakfast and finally experience the most talked about dairy show since the World Dairy Expo, held annually in Madison Wisconsin.
CDX reports 89% of individuals that came through the gate were active dairy producers and 86% came with their families. A family affair, that mixed big business with a social element of a grass roots meeting place. Producers came from afar, with 22% traveling over 150km to attend and reported producer representation from 6 Canadian provinces and 11 countries.
Attending producers came armed with $10 off admission coupons, compliments of exhibiting companies and CDX. They received significant value for the $15 admission.
"Our main marketing thrust was to drive a quality audience to the inaugural CDX" states Donna Powell, CDX marketing manager. "We reduced the cost of admission for the producers, which are customers of our exhibitors. We created personalized admission coupons which our exhibitors distributed via their dairy databases. The top 3 exhibiting companies with the most redeemed coupons are Grand Valley Fortifiers, Ag Sourcing and Progressive Dairyman magazine. These 3 companies and many others went above and beyond to promote the inaugural CDX and we will ask them to rally again for 2014".
"These dairy producers finally had a chance to experience what was long overdue for our Canadian dairy industry" states Underhill. "Attendance on our first day was 7,900 and the second day was 3,600; representing 11,600 dairy producers and family members. This figure does not include exhibitors, children under 6 or CheeseFEST attendees. That's a lot of quota passing through in just a 16 hour period".
The City of Stratford Facility Manager stated that the complex has never seen this volume of vehicles. Not even for established national events such as Skate Canada, The Tanker and Microsoft 3.0.
Hard to comprehend when there are just over 4,000 dairy producers in the province of Ontario. "The family turnout was incremental; they came from both in-province and out of province. We also believe there was a number of producers that attended for both days", states BriteSpan Cow Coliseum manager, Val Jones.
The atmosphere in the BriteSpan Cow Coliseum felt like home to dairy producers. The massive free-span structure was built specifically for companies to showcase live, their innovation and leading genetics.
Companies such as Drench-mate and Golden Calf Co. traveled across the border to perform live demonstrations with their leading innovations around rumen juice extraction and colostrum management. The four robot powerhouses stood strong and stayed actively engaged with producers for the duration of CDX. One genetic company in the BriteSpan Cow Coliseum reported the highest sales activity of any event in company's history.
Opening night in the BriteSpan Cow Coliseum also hosted a complimentary public CheeseFEST event. Hundreds of platters bearing high quality cheeses from four dairy species - cow, goat, water buffalo and sheep were available for sample. Celebrity Chef Jason Bangerter and Chef Lynn Crawford played off each other and performed a candid, live cheese cooking demonstration filled with plenty of comic relief.
A significant fundraising campaign for 4-H youth was conducted throughout the dairy expo, raising over $10,000. Perth and Oxford County 4-H kids were a big help in the BMO Homegrown Kitchen, pumping out homemade milkshakes and grill cheese sandwiches. GenerVations gave away a high genomic testing heifer calf and in addition donated over $5,000 to the Wellington County Dairy Club. CDX also made a 3-year commitment to a dairy youth travel bursary of $2,500 administered though the Stratford Ag Society. The annual winner will get an interactive trip to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI.
Canadian Dairy XPO dates for 2014 are February 5th and 6th. Anyone who had doubts about the inaugural project, now look to the 2014 CDX with immense optimism. It was built and dairy producers came!
For more information, visit www.dairyxpo.ca or contact Donna Powell at 226-381-0282 ext#2.