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Since October 2008, the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) has purchased approximately 110 million pounds of non-fat dried milk (NFDM).

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Almost 50 years ago the growing number of mastitis cases and accompanying costs sparked the need for producers, allied industry professionals and researchers to join together in an effort to reverse this negative, costly trend.

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Dairy owners, managers, industry directors, processors, marketers and distributors will develop the “mind of a manager and heart of a leader” at Managers Academy Jan. 20-22 in Orlando, Florida.

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Dairy women across Pennsylvania gathered for the third Women in Dairy Conference, held at the end of November in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

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Q. What’s new for dairy producers at World Ag Expo this year?

SIMON: Dairy producers will have the opportunity to search our new digital showgrounds and plan their own agenda from more than 600 dairy exhibitors and 1,600 total exhibitors. This new feature will allow each producer the opportunity to customize their experience and search out the newest and most innovative dairy technology before they arrive.

Q. What’s the most unique thing many don’t already know about World Ag Expo 2009?

SIMON: For the first year, World Ag Expo and E. M. Tharp Inc. Golden State Peterbilt will be auctioning off a Peterbilt 340 truck equipped with a 4,000-gallon water tank. The auction will take place Feb. 11 in the afternoon. All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Children’s Hospital Central California. Children’s Hospital has touched the lives of many of us in production agriculture. We felt like this would be a great opportunity to say thank-you.

Q. How did the introduction of electronic registration change last year’s WAE visitor experience?

SIMON: Digital registration gave attendees the opportunity to pre-register their information and have their World Ag Expo badge mailed to them before the show. This made it easier for attendees to enter the showgrounds and cut down on waiting times at the gates. Nearly half of the 2008 attendees registered early. In 2009 we expect even more attendees to pre-register.

Q. How will doing electronic registration again make for a better visitor experience?

SIMON: The badge also comes with a personalized bar code, so for those who would like to request more information from an exhibitor, all they have to do is have their badge scanned and the exhibitor will have all the data he or she needs to send the producer more information on a new technology.

Q. How do you anticipate a slower U.S. economy to impact this year’s show?

SIMON: We expect to see a similar number of visitors for 2009 as we have seen for the last number of years. Agriculturalists who are looking for the very best in agriculture technology know that there is only one place to go to get a comprehensive look at what’s new in the ag industry. They trust that we will deliver on their needs for the next year. That is what we have built our reputation on over the last 42 years.

Q. How do you foresee the show being different in five years?

SIMON: Expo will continue to be a global resource for agricultural technology and equipment. This year we made a strong push to expand onto the web. We will continue to develop this tool so that we can educate attendees and connect qualified buyers with new technology year-round.

Q. What non-dairy exhibit should all dairy producers visit?

SIMON: I always recommend the ride-and-drive exhibit. There is no better place to test new agriculture equipment than in the driver’s seat with the engine running. PD

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