World Dairy Expo's Board of Directors approved three new members at their annual meeting, held in March at the Alliant Energy Center. The board is composed of a variety of dairy business professionals from the United States and Canada. Established in 1970 as World Dairy Expo, Inc. (WDE), the board serves in an advisory role to the management. Three new members will join the board of directors. The new directors include: Olivier Hiers, Larry Purdom and Steve Blessing.
Olivier Hiers, representing BouMatic, is the Global Marketing Director of that company. He had previously headed the European Marketing Division of BouMatic. Olivier has extensive marketing experience with RFID and medical device development. Additionally, he has hands-on experience as a milker in an Australia dairy. Olivier, Marissabel and their son, Kenneth, recently relocated to Madison.
Larry Purdom, representing Dairy Farmers of America, serves on DFA's board of directors and as chairman of the Dairy Educational Political Action Committee. Active in the industry, he is chairman of both the Missouri Dairy Association and Congressional Agriculture Advisory Committee and serves on the Midwest Dairy Association and the county Farm Bureau boards. He previously served on the National Dairy Board. Purdom, along with his wife and daughter, milk 140 cows, grow corn silage and hay and raise a small herd of beef cows on 700 acres in Missouri.
Steve Blessing, representing the Purebred Breeders of World Dairy Expo, owns Blessing Farms along with his brother, Stan. They have developed a globally recognized Brown Swiss herd, breeding and showing more than 40 All-American Brown Swiss animals and numerous leading A.I. sires. Steve and his family have exhibited cattle at World Dairy Expo for more than 40 years including winning grand champion twice and reserve supreme champion at World Dairy Expo. Over the years, Steve has served as president of the Indiana Brown Swiss Association, a member of Indiana Farm Bureau and deacon of his local church. He has also judged at state and national dairy cattle shows. Steve and his wife reside in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
The current WDE Executive Committee includes Mike Holschbach, president; Debbie Crave, 1st vice president; Steve Larson, 2nd vice president; Al Deming, secretary/treasurer and Finance Committee Chair; Bob Kaiser, Interim General Manager; Jim Crowley, Jr., Dairy Cattle Show Superintendent; Dean Hermsdorf, Commercial Exhibitor Committee Chair; Tom Morris, Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee Chair; Jeff Lyon, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Bill Barlass, Purebred Breeders of World Dairy Expo and Bill Hageman, Jr., at-large director.