The World Dairy Expo in Madison (USA) is the exhibition for everyone involved in the dairy industry worldwide: everything about cows and what happens on the farm. Interesting for producers, (farm and dairy) companies, the supplying industry, governments and universities. Intended to exchange ideas, sell and gain knowledge about the latest technologies and materials. And this not on a boring exhibition floor. No, you will (of course) see many cows (there is also a livestock show), machines and demonstrations. A great stage for networking! The fair took place from October 2 to 6 and there were about 900 exhibitors present.
Holland Dairy Valley booth
'This is where we should be with a stand,' thought both NOM and Dairy Valley. Joep de Vries, Foreign Direct Investment NOM says: 'With a lot of farming activity in the Northern Netherlands, NOM is naturally interested in this fair. Just like Dairy Valley (an initiative of the Province of Fryslân), two municipalities, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences and companies like Uniform-Agri, CRV and Lely of the DDC (Dutch Dairy Center).
Together we looked at what we could get done. Eventually, with help from the RvO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency - within the framework of the Top Sector Agri & Foods), we managed to pay for a stand. The 'Holland Dairy Valley' booth was manned by NOM, the consulate and the embassy. Also present were two Dutch startups and a matchmaker to connect companies with each other.'
'The main purpose at this fair is trade promotion, and we achieve that by acting as a networking body. It is important that communication between the Netherlands and the United States is easily established. And that will only succeed if we actively link companies, universities, colleges and governments.' And why the U.S. is so important? First, companies that want to export to Asia must first show figures on how they are doing in the US.
So investing in the US is important for trade with the rest of the world. And secondly, the US is also paying more and more attention to sustainability, nature and the environment. They can learn a lot from us in that area. Conversely, we can also learn a lot from them, of course. For example, they have much more experience in managing huge companies.' To promote activity in the booth, Marieke Gouda cheese was distributed in addition to drinks and dinner. These initiatives were very well received.
Building out in the coming years
All in all, it was a good fair. 'In the coming years we are going to expand this considerably, in cooperation with the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, among others. America is simply important for the dairy industry and it pays for the trade in (the north of) the Netherlands to put a lot of effort into networking and cooperation.'
Matchmaker: Case Dorrestijn
Case has 30 years of dairy farming experience and has lived in Madison, USA, for many years. He owns New Horizons Agriculture LLC, a consulting firm for dairy farmers and companies focused on dairy farming. This World Dairy Expo was its 25th edition. 'NOM asked me to help with the organization as well as to connect people at the fair.
I have a thing about cows and I have a thing about people so this role is tailor-made for me. The World Dairy Expo is primarily a networking event and I was able to bring various parties together.
My two main goals were:
- Connecting Dutch companies with international organizations.
- bring the Netherlands to the attention of American companies that want to enter Europe through the Netherlands. We look back on a very successful trade fair participation and I hope I can get involved again next year.
The role of the NL Embassy Washington and NL Consulate General Chicago
The Dutch Embassy and Consulate General support the Dutch business community abroad by organizing economic missions and trade fairs. An important part is building and maintaining a strong network: 'your contacts are your currency'. A strong network is instrumental in promoting relations between Dutch and American 'Midwest' companies in the dairy industry.
The Dutch government is an important intermediary to link the right contacts from the Dutch and American sides. The Dutch network in the U.S. is looking for potential opportunities in the future. Where is the dairy sector headed? What challenges do companies face? How can the Netherlands respond to these challenges with knowledge and innovative technology?
Although the "World Dairy Expo" takes place in the US, this fair has a large Dutch presence. Representation includes farmers from the Netherlands, farmers who emigrated to the US years ago, representatives of companies from the Netherlands and Dutch companies already established in the US.
Companies have plans to expand and are looking for investors and partners to make this possible. It is important to support Dutch activities at this fair from the government, for example with a Holland Pavilion. With a Holland Pavilion, companies can together stronger
profile under the innovative image of the Netherlands with expertise and attention to animal welfare.
According to NOM and the Dutch Embassy, the fair was very successful. The Dutch companies greatly appreciated the support offered from the government and NOM. In addition, first steps were taken to put the Netherlands on the map as an innovative 'dairy' country in this region. The network events contributed greatly to the sense of belonging among the Dutch companies and farmers and also ensured that the various parties worked on cooperation and business development. Everyone is looking forward to hopefully coming back next year!