As the Canadian Dairy XPO enters its fourth year, the upstart dairy industry show is making moves to attract more producers and exhibitors.
The show attracted about 10,000 people when it launched in 2013. Local dairy producers have embraced the show, says CDX General Manager Jordon Underhill, “but what we’ve seen is an increase in farmers from beyond the one-hour or two-hour radius. We’re now drawing farmers from just about every province.”
Growing interest in the show pushed last year’s attendance over 15,000 and Underhill expects the growth to continue. He says CDX’s move from its original February timeslot to April 6 and 7 for 2016 is part of that strategy. “The show is a national event, so we need to make sure it’s at a conducive time for travel for farmers coming from a further distance,” he explains. The move is intended to shield farmers from rugged winter travel conditions and find a sweet spot before spring field work gets underway.
CDX is also making a permanent commitment to the Stratford Rotary Complex as the host site by literally putting a stake in the ground. Construction is now underway on a permanent 440′ x 72′ cow coliseum located on the south end of the complex. “Stratford is the home of the CDX today and in the future. There’s no question it’s worked here,” says Underhill who targeted the location due to the high concentration of commercial dairy production in the surrounding area.
The WeCover Cow Coliseum will be 6,000 square feet larger than the previous space. The added real estate will play an important role in accommodating current exhibitors as well as a growing number of international companies that will be attending CDX in 2016. “Farmers are coming from further away and so are exhibitors,” says Underhill. “We started off with dealer presence. That moved to corporate and now we’re starting to see international companies taking a look at the show.”
First timers for 2016 will include Australia’s Fodder Solutions, Israel’s Afimilk and ADF Milking from the United Kingdom. “These companies are coming here because of the vibrancy in the Canadian dairy industry. (CDX) has been successful in terms of drawing these producers and they want to be part of this event,” says Underhill adding that it will be the first chance for many farmers to see new technology from these companies.
Underhill is also excited about the ‘Blue Cow Spirit’ program, a joint promotion with Dairy Farmers of Canada designed to encourage producers to embrace the Blue Cow symbol to show support for their industry.
The Blue Cow Spirit Campaign will see gate admission to the CDX reduced to $15 and producers attending the show will be encouraged to wear Canadian Milk’s Blue Cow symbol to create a sea of blue at the show.
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