|Lucinda Williams (left) and Diane Henderson of the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board feel time at Expo is time well spent.
No doubt these are tough times for the dairy industry. So when Gale Moser travels to Expo this year, he plans on making the most of his time as a representative for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) to promote the dairy industry and its products.
"One of the reasons we come to Expo is because television and print advertising is so expensive,” says Moser, who owns and operates a commercial dairy near Preston, Idaho. "And, unlike advertising, at Expo we can actually get out and visit with people, inform them about what we're doing and learn from producers about what we can do to help the industry.”
DMI, which has exhibited at Expo since 1995, is one of several organizations that is funded by producers themselves, through commodity checkoff programs each year.
These organizations see the event as a critical opportunity to meet directly with the producers who invest in their programs and also with the consumers who ultimately support the industry through purchasing products.
There are nearly 70,000 people who attend Expo each year.
"Expo is just an excellent way to promote the dairy industry and the products we have to sell," Moser says.
Adds Joe Bavido, director of industry relations for DMI: "Expo is the best venue in the country to reach producers and consumers face-to-face.”
Both Moser and Bavido recognize that with decreasing commodity prices, their job becomes even more important.
"We are the advertising, promotional and research organization for the dairy industry, and our charge is to increase demand for all dairy products. There are ups and downs, but the long-term viability of the industry is dependent upon increase in product demand, and that's our goal,” Bavido says.
|Gale Moser represents Dairy Management Inc., one of several checkoff-funded organizations with a presence at Expo. Photos: Eric Grant
But it's not just about educating producers about the work their checkoff is doing; Expo also offers a critical opportunity for DMI to learn more about what's taking place in the industry.
At the 2008 trade show, for instance, DMI worked with FFA members to survey ag students and other youth about the future of the dairy industry. The information they gathered will help DMI develop programs and tools to help young farmers remain in agriculture.
"One of our goals is to find ways of attracting the best and brightest of the next generation and get them back into dairying,” Bavido says.
The beef checkoff, too, has found a home at Expo's commercial trade show.
Diane Henderson, communications manager for the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national $1/head beef checkoff program, points out that Expo is the best and most cost-effective event for the organization to meet thousands of dairy producers all in one place.
"One of the great things about Expo is that there is a constant flow of producers, and it really offers up the opportunity to connect with our target audiences,” Henderson explains.
"It's critical for any commodity-promotion organization that you take the opportunity to speak with your investors, and there's no other single show where you are going to get this many people who have dairy on their mind,” Henderson says.
"A few days at Expo's commercial trade show is time well spent,” she adds. "It's an exhausting time in one sense because you see so many people, but I would recommend to anyone who wants to reach this audience that they need to be here to take advantage of this opportunity.”