The 2012 World Dairy Expo broke new records last week, with a record number of cows on the grounds, trade show exhibitors and possibly attendees.
Attendance numbers weren’t in by Saturday night, but World Dairy Expo Communications and Public Relations Manager Janet Keller said she expected this year’s Expo visitor total to be as strong, if not stronger, than last year’s 68,000.
"We had a real strong week," Keller said. "Attendance this year will probably be closer to 70,000, from 90 countries." [Editor's note: World Dairy Expo on Tuesday released final 2012 attendance numbers of 71,788.]
This year’s Expo also saw a record number of cows – 2,977 -- that were checked in for the week’s cattle sales and judging events. All seven dairy breeds were represented.
The number of exhibitors reached a record 860. "That number includes at least 150 exhibitors who were brand new to the show," Keller said.
Additional trade-show space enabled many who have been waiting for years to display their new products and services on Expo’s show grounds at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. This year's group of exhibitors hailed from 30 countries.
At 2,700, the number of international visitors was at least as strong as last year’s foreign attendees, Keller added.
"There was a lot of palpable excitement at this year’s show because we had so many new things this year," Keller said. "We try very hard to remain connected with dairy producers and make them feel this is an important and necessary place to be."
The annual economic impact of World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin is $50 million, added Keller.
Business at Expo’s gift shop, the Purple Cow, echoed the week’s strong performance. Increased attendance and weather boosted this year’s sales of hats, clothing, children’s items and Expo-related souvenirs.
"It was a record, smashing week," said Annette Zielger, World Dairy Expo’s accounting manager who also doubles as the Purple Cow’s manager. "The warm temperatures earlier in the week sold a lot of t-shirts and hats. The cold weather at end of week sold sweatshirts and jackets."
The week also saw Expo highlighted by special guests, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
World Dairy Expo’s top cattle pick for 2012 was RF Goldwyn Hailey, owned by Gen-Com Holstein Ltd. of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, Quebec. She captured the Supreme Champion title Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, Hailey was named the winning Six-Year-Old & Older Cow and Senior Champion of the 2012 International Holstein Open Show, adding on to her title of Grand Champion.
For more cattle show results, click here.