States recruit dairies looking to relocate
Dairy producers looking to set up operations in a new locale will find there are plenty of people at World Dairy Expo anxious to talk to them about opportunities.
Sprinkled throughout Expo’s commercial trade show are a dozen or so exhibit booths staffed by representatives of state departments of agriculture, economic development agencies, dairy producer groups and industry, all looking to convince dairy producers from around the world to take a closer look at their state as a place to do business.
"The main mission for our organization is to get more dairy producers and dairy cows in North Dakota," says Gary Hoffman, executive director of the North Dakota Dairy Coalition.
It’s more than the sheer number of dairy producers attending that makes having a presence at Expo worthwhile for recruitment organizations. "It’s the progressive and visionary type of dairy folks who are always coming to World Dairy Expo. They’re looking for new ideas and new opportunities," says Mark Russell, a representative of the Missouri Dairy Growth Council. "These are the kind of people we’d like to see become more interested in doing business in the state of Missouri."
Each recruitment group looks to put forward messages about the advantages of dairying in its state. Low feed costs and marketing opportunities are among the benefits that David Skaggs, a dairy development specialist for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, brings up with the people who stop by his booth.
The challenge is more funda-mental for Matthew Lange, dairy development coordinator for the North Carolina Dairy Advantage program. Education is the priority. "People will come up to the booth and chuckle and say, ‘Goodness, I didn’t even know there were dairy farms or dairy cows in your state,’" he says.
"So one of our goals at Expo is to let people know that North Carolina has a rich dairy heritage," he adds. We want dairy producers to know that we have plenty to offer. We have available land, abundant water resources, good forage production, competitive cost of production and a pretty straightforward permitting process. We also pay a good price for milk. Typically, we’ll have the second or third highest farm milk prices in the country."