by SUSAN MANN
The addition of another dairy show in Ontario next year shows businesses supplying equipment, products and services are optimistic about the industry, says the chair of Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
The optimism is there despite the international pressure Canada is facing to alter the decades old supply management system that’s used for dairy, egg and poultry sectors. The country has come under fire for the system during trade negotiations such as the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks currently under way.
“I think they (exhibitors) are confident the industry is such that it may attract people” to attend both shows, says Ralph Dietrich.
The Western Fair District announced Sept. 1 it is launching the new London Dairy Congress to be held Feb. 4 and 5, 2016. Two months later, farmers can attend the Canadian Dairy XPO, scheduled for April 6 and 7, 2016 in Stratford.
This year 15,200 people from across Canada and 350 exhibitors attended Dairy XPO. In 2016 the event will have been running for four years.
Asked if there’s enough interest among Ontario dairy farmers for two shows dedicated to the dairy industry, Dietrich says, “the organizers feel there is.”
Cheron Chamberlain, Western Fair District agriculture manager, says, “we feel there is” enough interest among farmers for the addition of another show.
A prepared, unsigned statement dated Sept. 14 from the Canadian Dairy XPO says the XPO “does not see the London dairy event concept as direct competition” to its show.
Deitrich says attending shows are valuable because they give farmers an opportunity to investigate the equipment and supplies they need for their businesses.
“You want to keep a look around and check out what’s what,” he says. The shows provide farmers with an opportunity to see new technology and ideas in action.
“You always want to expose yourself to the most modern ideas because capital investments are done over a number of years and you want to make sure you’re as up to date as you can be when you’re planning that investment for your business,” he says.
In addition, “the younger generation coming into the business are looking to the future” along with thinking about the next two to five years so the shows are valuable for those farmers too, he says. BF