About 100 World Dairy Expo officials, county, state and local politicians, the Wisconsin ag secretary, and members of the media were on hand for the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the two New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Tuesday morning.
The New Holland Pavilions span 290,000 square feet, and are equipped with modular stalling systems, modern ventilation and livestock exhibitor amenities.
Pavilion 1 is two stories in the front and is 90,000 square feet. It features the New Holland product display area. Pavilion 2 is 200,000 square feet. The barns are designed to hold up to 2,600 dairy cattle.
"What a great day," said Wisconsin Ag Secretary Ben Brancel. "I can't imagine what the dreamers who created the vision for World Dairy Expo 48 years ago would think of these buildings today. They (the dreamers) had been to Iowa and they had been to Chicago and they said, 'Wisconsin can do it better.'
"We can stop dreaming, we can live in reality and we can enjoy this new facility," Brancel added. "It's going to be hard for places like Pennsylvania, Louisville, Ky., and Kansas City to rip it out of our hands now."
The pavilions were completed in less than six months. Demolition and recycling of the old barns began April 14, the day after the Midwest Horse Fair concluded at the Alliant Energy Center. Construction workers were putting on finishing touches last week before cows started arriving on Thursday, Sept. 25.
The $24 million building project is being paid for through a combination of public and private partners. Dane County, the State of Wisconsin, World Dairy Expo, Midwest Horse Fair/Wisconsin Horse Council, Centerplate, New Holland and BouMatic joined together to contribute to the construction project.
Gov. Scott Walker praised the addition of the new pavilions to World Dairy Expo and the Wisconsin dairy industry.
"The economic impact of agriculture in Wisconsin is $88 billion per year, according to new numbers from the NASS. About half of that, $43 billion comes from dairy alone," Walker said. "This is a great way to show off the economic impact of dairy to 70,000 people from across the world."
Scott Bentley, general manager at World Dairy Expo, believes it is fitting that World Dairy Expo is the first to use the new pavilions.
"We now have world class barns to house world class cattle," Bentley said.
World Dairy Expo continues through Saturday, Oct. 4.