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World Dairy Expo kicks off today

00:00AM Sep 26, 2008
By Jim Dickrell

The 42nd rendition of World Dairy Expo kicks off this morning here in Madison, Wis. Dairy Today's editorial team is already in place, and we'll be here throughout the week to report on the latest news.
I came down Sunday after the Packer game. Yesterday, Western Editor Cathy Merlo flew in from California, and on-line Editor Kim Watson came up from Texas. We'll be providing eUpdates each morning this week, so be sure to check your e-mail for the latest news. 

I've actually lost track of the number of Expos I've attended, starting back in high school. But I know this is at least my 25th Expo—and every year I get excited as the show approaches. 
If you've ever attended, you know that just about everything you ever wanted to see or touch related to dairy can be found here at the Dane County Fairgrounds. This year's show will prove no different.

With the re-opening of the U.S.-Canadian border, closed since 2003, this year's cattle shows will increase in excitement and competitiveness. Once again, we'll have our Canadian friends sitting on one side of the Coliseum cheering on their Holsteins while we Americans are on the other cheering on ours. It's a friendly rivalry—one, that if I didn't know better, the cows themselves even seem caught up in.
Last year's show brought in almost 2,500 head of cattle from all the major dairy breeds plus a few exotics. With the border open, look for that number to climb even higher as eight cattle shows progress through the week. 
Five cattle sales—featuring Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey—will also be held in the evenings following the cattle shows. The first sale, The Top of the World Jersey Sale, starts at 7 tonight.  These top dollar sales, with a bids reaching five and even six figures, will get the adrenaline pumping.
And then there are 1,600 commercial exhibit booths, with 102 new exhibitors this year. Anything and everything you need for your operation can be found here. All totaled, these exhibitors are coming from 44 states, seven Canadian provinces and 22 countries. Total gross square footage of the commercial exhibits is 710,000 square feet, or more than 16 acres. If you come, wear comfortable shoes.
If you can't make this year's show, as I mentioned, Dairy Today staff will be providing daily eUpdates. We'll be reporting on news conferences, educational seminars, virtual farm tours and industry meetings. In fact, Cathy, Kim and I will attend more than 40 events this week. Plus we'll be meeting dozens of producers at our Booth in the main corridor of the Exhibit Hall, Booth 4516 and 4517.
If you're at Expo this week, stop by to say hello. If you can't make it, check your e-mail each morning for our updates. We realize they won't be the same as being here, but we promise they'll be the next best thing.  Let the show begin!
Jim Dickrell is editor of Dairy Today. You can reach him via e-mail at

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