2015-04-20   facebook twitter rss

Canadian Dairy XPO to Move to April

After 3 years of exponential growth, the popular Canadian Dairy XPO looks forward, embracing phase-two of their strategic operating plan. The confirmed and scheduled 2016 XPO dates will be 6th-7th April 2016, as opposed to the first week of February annually.

The event will then continue to follow the first week of April date sequence going forward. The Stratford Rotary Complex venue and the commercial dairy production focus will remain unchanged.

The jam packed Cow Coliseum erected for CDX

The jam packed Cow Coliseum erected for CDX

In an exclusive interview, Jordon Underhill, GM and Founder of CDX, explained “Phase-one was to take an idea from paper and make it come to life, against any and all adversity. We needed to build momentum and culture behind the brand and most importantly justify the value proposition to both attending dairy producers and the supporting industry.”

It’s reported that only 2 in 10 tradeshows survive past their second year of operation. Now heading into its forth year of operation, the XPO currently has 350 qualified exhibitors representing 32 countries and an attendance of 15,200 dairy producers from across the Country. This particular event has a unique 45% market share, against all other generic farm shows operating in Ontario and Canada. “They come for the exclusive dairy content” states Donna Powell, Marketing Manager for CDX. “We have not and will not waiver from delivering dairy and only dairy, education and innovation.”

Exponential growth has not come without its hurdles, whether it be exceeded capacities of parking, onsite food, seating, aisle width and of course extreme cold fronts with accumulating and severe snow loads. The closest call was seen in 2014, the second year of CDX, when all major road arteries into Stratford were closed for almost 3 days, just one week before the opening day of CDX.

We asked Underhill, why change something that already works?
“Our quest is to continuously improve the XPO, and that starts with customer safety. Phase-two of our strategic plan is to protect the safety of our customers traveling from across the country and to move the event away from travel risk and ultimately the devastation of road closures during the week of CDX. The event has been vastly embraced by the Canadian dairy industry and now it’s our job to protect both our people and our product.”

Underhill also talks about the “eminent need to embrace growth”. It’s reported that there is a significant waiting list for new exhibiting companies to obtain space at the XPO, with more than 30% of existing exhibiting companies requesting more exhibit space to display additional product lines and conduct Canadian and North American product launches. Underhill further commented that there are no plans to move the XPO from the nucleus of commercial dairy production: Stratford, Ontario. However, April will allow for outdoor exhibit space growth and the potential construction of a large, onsite pole barn structure. He explains that a permanent parking lot will be constructed this summer (2015) and meetings will begin with the City of Stratford Mayor, the local MP and MPP as well as the Ag Ministers to discuss funding options for facility expansion.

Careful and calculated date discussions have been ongoing within the CDX Steering Committee for the last year and a half. A professional research survey company was hired to analyze data collected from both producers who attended the 2015 XPO and producers from out of province that have not yet attended CDX. Cropping dates per province were considered as well as crossover with other industry events; and of course the important Easter holiday. Ultimately 73% of the current CDX exhibiting companies support the new April dates, with 15% undecided. 72% of producers currently attending CDX support the new April dates; 86% of producers from out of province (which have not yet attended CDX, but plan to) support the new April dates.

“We did not expect 100% conclusive survey results, but we needed real data to move forward with phase-two of the strategic operating plan” states Underhill. “I run cattle myself and I know how busy April gets on the farm. That said, we are not in the fields the first week of April and I believe producers realise the value in taking a day off to be educated, see the latest dairy innovations and network with peers. By moving to the first week of April, we can significantly reduce the risk, increasing the efficiency for everyone traveling to CDX, all the while increasing the value onsite when they arrive. We ask that the greater dairy industry of Canada continue to rally around this showcase, custom built for Canadian dairy producers and their families. We ask for your continued patience and support as we make this final operating transition.”

Interestingly enough, when we researched successful farm shows that take place during traditional busy times on farm (mid April to mid September), we found 18 total farm shows across North America in operation. Attendance of these events range from 5000 to 130,000. Clearly farmers are intelligent individuals and if the value exists, to help improve their operation, they will make the time to attend.


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