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World Dairy Expo grounds are ever-changing

PD Editor Karen Lee Published on 19 September 2012

There is something new coming to World Dairy Expo this year that you won’t want to miss. Actually, at 26,000 square feet, the New Holland Trade Center will be just plain hard to miss.

“I’m really excited about this,” exclaims John Rozum, World Dairy Expo sales manager. “It is the biggest new thing on the grounds since the Exhibition Hall was put up in 1995.”

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Over the past 17 years, demand for exhibit space at World Dairy Expo has risen steadily. “We’ve been working with a sell-out trade show and extensive wait list for a number of years,” Rozum says. “Plus, there are always existing exhibitors at the show looking to expand their space.”

Based on this high demand something more needed to be done. “The ultimate goal is for the facility to be added onto,” he says, “but meanwhile we’re taking it into our own hands.”

This temporary structure is similar to the clearspan tents used for extra cattle housing at the expo, but with some fancier features. The end of it will be cloaked in New Holland blue and gold to pay tribute to the sponsoring company.

The sidewalls will remain closed but there will be windows lining the tent to let in natural sunlight. Lights at a higher output than what is needed in the cattle tents will hang from above, and glass doors on the ends and sides will allow for the crowds to enter in.

Eighty companies can be found inside the trade center, more than half of which are brand-new to Expo.

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Each year a select group of new exhibitors is welcomed to the show to offer something new and exciting to attendees and, this year with the added space, the expo was able to bring in an additional 30 new companies that wouldn’t have made the cut otherwise. The show was also able to accommodate a few existing companies’ desire to expand.

There will be a “very eclectic mix” of exhibitors inside the trade center, Rozum reports. Patz Corporation has moved there from the Exhibition Hall to gain additional space.

FABCO Equipment, Inc . has transitioned inside to seek shelter from its previous outdoor exhibit, and Lancaster Dairy Farm Automation Inc., with its milking robot, has moved inside from the Arena building.

New companies in the trade center include SCR Dairy, Inc ., a provider of precise dairy herd management solutions; Urban GmbH & Co. KG , a calf-feeding technology company from Germany; and Zurex PharmAgra, LLC, an agricultural technology and animal health company.

“It’s a snapshot of expo itself from ultra-modern high-tech down to simple basic operations for dairy farms,” Rozum says. “It is also a mix of familiar faces with the largest congregation of new companies in one place at expo.”

He encourages people to go to the interactive maps to see all of the companies at this new location by scrolling over each booth on the screen. Click here to view.

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For those familiar with the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, home to World Dairy Expo, this 260-foot by 100-foot tent-like structure will be erected in front of the Exhibition Hall parallel to the Arena building.

It will take up less than one-quarter of the previous Outdoor Trade Mall, Rozum says. Some of the Outdoor Trade Mall exhibitors were moved to a new location on the grounds in order to accommodate for this new space; however, the show does not take up any larger footprint than it did in previous years.

Therefore, it doesn’t infringe on the available parking areas. “We’re very cognizant of not doing that,” Rozum says. “We want to make sure everyone has plenty of parking.”

World Dairy Expo’s General Manager Mark Clarke mentions, “We are getting really creative in how we can use the existing facility as efficiently as possible. We could add tent after tent but we need to take parking into account.”

While the expo is able to fulfill some of its needs with temporary structures, an Expansion Exploration Task Force has been convened to determine if something more permanent is in the best interest of the Alliant Energy Center, which welcomes more than one million people attending more than 500 events annually.

Last December, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi assembled a very diverse group of people to consider the short-term and long-term possibilities for the county-owned facility.

Clarke was called to serve on this task force to represent World Dairy Expo. It is one of the largest events held at the facility.

“We have a wish list of our own that pertains to the show,” he says. It ranges from the facility’s size to various amenities that could be enhanced. “At the same time, we are conscious that we only use it for one week of the year.”

The other 360 days the 164-acre Alliant Energy Center plays host to a wide variety of events. For example, during one August weekend there was a barrel horse race, a dog show, a pottery show/sale and two weddings, all happening concurrently.

“While it would be great to see the facility expand to fit our needs, it is not necessarily practical for all users,” Rozum says.

Even though space constraints can be tight at this location, Clarke notes the facility offers a lot of amenities that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. “There are a lot of flat open spaces out there for a tradeshow,” he says, “but when you add 2,600 head of cattle to the mix and the fact they need to be milked, that can be hard to find.”

This particular facility is unique in that the taxpayer does not fund it, Clarke says. Even though the county has owned the Alliant Energy Center for more than 100 years, it is 100 percent self-sufficient, supported by the venues that use it throughout the year.

Because of its successful operation, there is always something being done to the grounds that enhances the expo experience. “The county has put a fair amount of work into the facility the past few years,” he says.

Three years ago it invested $2 million into a new roof for the Coliseum – and all of the barns, Arena building and Coliseum have brand-new lighting for this year.

“The showring will be something they’ve never seen before with so many bright lights. It will be great for showing cattle,” Clarke says.

In addition, the Coliseum will be sporting a new four-sided LED scoreboard that Expo hopes to take full advantage of for the cattle show.

As for the task force, Clarke reports the group has done its due diligence this spring and summer. At the end of August, it was nearly ready to put its final blessings on a report for the county executive. Once the recommendations are turned over to Parisi, it will be his decision on what will happen next.

Stay tuned for further developments but, for now, enjoy the show and all its features, from some that may not be noticed to those that are too big to miss. PD

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