SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An event celebrating the dairy industry is underway at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.
The Central Plains Dairy Expo is a two-day event, showcasing 272 exhibitors from 35 states and four countries.
“All of the new products, services, technology information,” Central Plains Dairy Expo Executive Director Renee Brod said. “Almost like a one-stop-shop during their off-season where they can come and learn as much information as possible to help their dairy farm,” Brod added.
Executive Director Renee Brod says this year’s dairy expo features more than 60 breakout sessions.
“So we have industry experts from forage all the way to how to raise your dairy calves to the nutrition that you’re doing,” Brod said.
Milk is produced in all 50 states but the number of producers is on the decline. That’s why the Central Plains Dairy Expo started Future Connections to help support the next generation of dairy farmers.
“We’re kind of gearing it from 17-years old to 30-years old,” Brod said.
The program includes a special session at the expo, while the Central Plains Dairy Foundation is providing scholarships and other opportunities.
“Every year we’re giving $25,000 to our foundation and then the foundation does all that legwork in helping to find all of those recipients for the scholarships,” Brod said.
“We have given over $30,000 in scholarships within the last year, plus there’s an innovator grant that you can actually come back wherever you’re at and say I have this great idea and have the funding to help back it,” Central Plains Dairy Foundation member Jamie Johnson said.
Jamie Johnson is part of the foundation and works at United Animal Health, and says this event is important to people of all ages.
“Central Plains Dairy Expo is a great opportunity to network, not only with your dairy producers but also with your industry, your academia,” Johnson said.
She also calls the dairy industry one big family.
“When you’re in the dairy industry, you’re in it kind of for life, one of those things so,” Johnson said. “We’re all supporting each other, but at the same time we want to make sure that everybody is successful too,” Johnson added.
The Central Plains Dairy Expo wraps up Wednesday. There’s a free pancake breakfast beginning at 8:00 a.m., while the trade show is open from 8:00 to 3:00.