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World Dairy Expo: 53 Years of History, Relationships, Energy and Emotions

Katie Humphreys

September 28, 2020

Madison, Wis., should be abuzz this week with dairy producers, cattle show exhibitors, companies and organizations coming together to compete, exchange ideas and knowledge and enjoy good company.

While the decision to cancel World Dairy Expo was a tough one to make in early June, it was no doubt the right decision, said Scott Bentley, general manager of World Dairy Expo, on “AgriTalk.”

“If you’re coming as an attendee who values the experience, this might be your family vacation. If you’re a commercial exhibitor, it might take you two to five months to really put together the booth and travel plans for your staff. And if you’re a cattle exhibitor, it’s going to take six months to a year to get your animals prepped for World Dairy Expo,” Bentley said. “Making the decision and communicating it early was the right one.”

However, knowing World Dairy Expo wouldn’t go on didn’t make the journey any easier over the past few months.

As Bentley described to “AgriTalk” host Chip Flory, the event is more than the competitions, the seminars and the trade show — it is 53 years of history, relationships, friendships, energy and emotions.

World Dairy Expo is known as the place to showcase new technologies. In keeping with that spirit, Bentley describes the following resources available at

  • Dairy cattle show exhibitors have access to an online space called Pavilion Promotions where they can feature all of the world-class items attendees have grown accustomed to finding in the New Holland Pavilions and Cattle Tent. 

  • In the Innovation Unveiled resource section, trade show exhibitors are showcasing new products and services.

  • Starting Oct. 1, the Global Dairy Tech Start-Up Spotlight will showcase 10 companies followed by a panel discussion with industry experts.

“We think of World Dairy Expo as a three-legged stool,” Bentley says. “We have a world-class dairy trade show, a world-class dairy cattle show and the third leg of the stool is the educational component/networking component/social component. We’re continuing to do the best we can without having an in-person event to support our exhibitors, both commercial and dairy cattle.”

As for what Bentley will miss the most by not having World Dairy Expo this year.

“Well, I can only speak for myself, and the great thing about that question is there might be 50,000 answers, but it’s the emotions that come with stepping foot on the grounds,” he described. “The first time you see that person you haven’t seen for a year or the first time somebody laughs or somebody cries, it’s the emotions. It’s the human component of not holding World Dairy Expo I personally will miss, and we certainly look forward to get back to that next year.”

There’s no question we’re going to be back, Bentley says.

“I think we have to enhance and expand our value proposition. We don’t want to take anything for granted, nor should we; we want to ensure our event is so meaningful, so impactful and so important that attendees want to attend, consumers want to attend and, most importantly, our exhibitors want to attend, whether it’s commercial or dairy cattle, so we can continue to drive this event forward,” he adds. “With not having essentially any trade shows for what will be most of a 12-month period of time, there will be pent up demand. They will be hungry to get back out to kind of beat the pavement if you will, face to face. We want to be one of those trade shows, one of those exhibitions, folks are putting their money toward and are planning to be a part of in 2021.


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