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The show was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but it returns this year, set for Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in Madison, Wis.

Fran O'Leary, Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

September 27, 2021

5 Min Read
Exhibitors and attendees at  World Dairy Expo trade show
TRADE SHOW: Exhibitors will unveil their newest products and services at this year’s World Dairy Expo. Courtesy of Trevor Olson Photography

Some of the top dairy cattle in North America are set to return to Madison, Wis., to parade across World Dairy Expo’s famous colored shavings Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. World Dairy Expo features five full days of world-class cattle competitions, exhibits by global dairy companies and educational opportunities for dairy producers. The show was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 but returns this year.

Eight international breed shows will culminate with the crowning of Expo’s 2021 Supreme Champion on Oct. 2.

Before COVID-19, typically more than 65,000 visitors, including 2,500 international guests, would be expected to experience the largest dairy-focused event in the world, held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Due to the pandemic, there likely will be a smaller number of international guests and a reduced overall attendance, but there still will be numerous valuable experiences for those involved in the dairy industry.

The theme of this year’s event is “Instrumental to the Industry.”

“Along with educational favorites like Expo seminars, virtual farm tours and dairy forage seminars, World Dairy Expo will bring back Knowledge Nook sessions — presentations highlighting new products, research and services,” says Katie Schmitt, World Dairy Expo communications manager. “Combined with Expo’s trade show, dairy cattle show, youth contests and networking events, there is something for everyone.”

According to Schmitt, people come to World Dairy Expo because it’s where the dairy industry meets.

“Since 1967, World Dairy Expo has been the meeting place of the global dairy industry,” she says. “While some of our global audience will likely be experiencing Expo virtually through ExpoTV this year, those who make the trip to Madison will find new networking and educational opportunities like Career Connections, Tanbark Talks and the Sunset Celebration.”

More than 850 companies took part in the 2019 World Dairy Expo trade show. A somewhat smaller group will showcase their newest products and services this year as a result of continued border restrictions related to COVID-19.

Expo’s trade show offers a wide array of modern dairy farm equipment and products in the Outdoor Trade Mall, Coliseum, Trade Center and Exhibition Hall. Everything from the latest in manure handling equipment to robotic milking systems and animal health products will be on display. To learn about new products featured in the trade show, attend a Knowledge Nook session during World Dairy Expo or check out Innovation Unveiled.

Educational opportunities

World Dairy Expo also offers free daily seminars on dairy management and other industry issues. These programs offer visitors technical expertise to help them stay knowledgeable and competitive in the global marketplace.

New in 2021, attendees and exhibitors can start their morning at Expo with a Tanbark Talk. Presented Sept. 28-30 at 8 a.m. each day, these talks will give dairy leaders the stage to share insight on economics, farm financials and the future of the industry.

Forage experts will share valuable information at free seminars on the dairy forage seminar stage, now located in the Trade Center, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2. Attendees can also view the winning entries in the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, on display adjacent to the dairy forage seminar stage.

Virtual farm tours allow attendees to explore a variety of successful dairy operations from across the U.S. without leaving the Alliant Energy Center. Each free visual presentation, led by dairy producers, is followed by a question-and-answer session.

Back again this year, World Dairy Expo’s participating companies will showcase their newest research, products and services to help dairy producers improve their operations during Knowledge Nook sessions. The sessions will be presented daily beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Knowledge Nook, located in the atrium of the Exhibition Hall.

The World Dairy Expo Tech Spotlight will be held for the first time on Sept. 28 at 10:30 a.m. This program features 10 dairy tech startup companies and their products, along with a panel discussion by industry experts.

Expo also hosts numerous competitions, including national and international judging and skills contests at the 4-H, FFA, intercollegiate and postsecondary levels.

Show info

Visit the World Dairy Expo website for the latest on COVID-19-related policies.

Hours for the Expo trade show are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2. Daily admission is $12 per person, and season passes are $35 per person. Parking is free.

Visit worlddairyexpo.com, download the World Dairy Expo mobile event app, call 608-224-6455, or email [email protected] for more information.

Winner and dairy cow at the world-class cattle competition


2021 show and sale schedule

To complete eight cattle shows in five days at World Dairy Expo, several breed shows must take place at the same time in the Coliseum.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

7 a.m.       International Ayrshire Show

7:30 a.m.   International Junior Holstein Show

3:30 p.m.   International Jersey Show — heifers

4 p.m.       International Milking Shorthorn Show — heifers

Wednesday, Sept. 29

7:30 a.m.   International Jersey Show — cows and groups

1:30 p.m.   International Milking Shorthorn Show — cows and groups

2:30 p.m.   International Brown Swiss Show — heifers

Thursday, Sept. 30

7:30 a.m.   International Brown Swiss Show — cows and groups

1:30 p.m.   International Guernsey Show — heifers

1:30 p.m.   International Red and White Show — heifers

Friday, Oct. 1

7:30 a.m.   International Guernsey Show — cows and groups

7:30 a.m.   International Red and White Show — cows and groups

1 p.m.       International Holstein Show — heifers

7 p.m.       World Classic ’21 Holstein Sale

Saturday, Oct. 2

7:30 a.m.   International Holstein Show — cows and groups

4 p.m.       Parade of Champions and Selection of Supreme Champions

Read more about:

World Dairy Expo

About the Author(s)

Fran O'Leary

Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

Even though Fran was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Wisconsin. She moved to the state when she was 18 years old and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Fran has 25 years of experience writing, editing and taking pictures. Before becoming editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist in 2003, she worked at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson as a writer and editor of farm business publications and at the Janesville Gazette in Janesville as farm editor and feature writer. Later, she signed on as a public relations associate at Bader Rutter in Brookfield, and served as managing editor and farm editor at The Reporter, a daily newspaper in Fond du Lac.

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