Earlier this year, Laura Herschleb was announced as the new World Dairy Expo general manager. It goes without saying that she will have many tasks to tackle in leading and overseeing the organisation of this well-known major dairy event in Wisconsin, US. We caught up with Herschleb, touching on sustainability within the dairy sector and dairy’s role in the future food supply.
What are you most looking forward to in your role as general manager of World Dairy Expo?
World Dairy Expo is truly energising! One of the things I am most looking forward to is welcoming attendees back to Madison, as they bring and share that energy and passion for the global dairy industry. Along with our attendees, I am eager to hear and see our Trade Show exhibitors and Dairy Cattle Show exhibitors rolling back onto the event grounds. There is nothing quite like the hum of clippers as cattle are clipped and the pounding of hammers as displays are assembled at Expo. And seeing the next generation participating and attending the event is very special and certainly something I will never take for granted.
In your new role, what would you improve or adjust in terms of steering the future course for the Expo?
Expo is in great shape; I’m not coming in with a list of changes. Rather, I’m ready to continue building on the foundation those before me worked so hard to create. I strive to lead through active listening and by engaging our incredible Expo staff, leadership and volunteers for ideas, guidance and inspiration. Looking ahead, the organisation is preparing to create its next 5-year strategic plan this winter, which offers stakeholders an opportunity to deeply influence the future of Expo. World Dairy Expo’s success comes from the fact that just 1 person doesn’t decide its course; it is influenced and led by the community it serves.
There will be new innovations present at this year’s event. What will we see in terms of sustainability and reduction of emissions?
Certainly, one of the special characteristics of Expo is the wide array of companies showcasing their products and services for the dairy industry as well as the new products being introduced. Throughout the Trade Show, we anticipate businesses that focus on a variety of different forms of sustainability, from environmental to economic.
There is also a possibility that companies will present new research or highlight new products and services related to sustainability in the Knowledge Nook. If readers are looking for a product or a topic in particular, we recommend looking at the list of participating companies at worlddairyexpo.com or in our mobile event app.*
In your opinion, can the dairy sector do more in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability is top of mind for dairy farmers, day in and day out. Working the land in a sustainable fashion, building a herd that will last for generations, managing an operation so the next generation can be involved… The list of sustainability measures used by the dairy industry is second to few others.
At the Expo, dairy industry enthusiasts can truly learn about and see first-hand cutting-edge technology that will continue to set up the global dairy industry for sustainable success for generations to come.
What are your thoughts on dairy’s role in feeding the global population in the years to come?
I feel the sky is the limit in terms of dairy’s role in feeding the growing global population. Given the ever-growing number of dairy products available around the world, dairy is a natural health choice to meet protein, calcium and an array of other nutrient needs. The constant evolution and launch of new dairy products onto global grocery shelves is exciting and something everyone involved in the dairy industry should be very proud of.
Can you tell us about some of the challenges you expect?
Dairy production infrastructure is certainly a limiting factor in some parts of the world. In addition, the cost to transport products remains high; in some cases, it is cost prohibitive. The dairy industry features some of the most intelligent minds in the world; I believe in their work and the constant evolution that will continue to meet the needs of a growing global population.
What trends in the current US dairy sector do you think will shape or impact Expo in the future?
This year marks the 55th World Dairy Expo. To achieve such a storied past, the event has needed to continually evolve to stay in step with the global dairy industry. The trends of today surrounding technology, labour, feed costs, infrastructure and sustainability will certainly have an impact, but World Dairy Expo also has the power to influence those trends as global leaders meet in Madison to create solutions to challenges and lean into opportunities.
For those attending Expo for the first time, what is it about the event, besides the scale, that makes it so special?
In my mind, World Dairy Expo is like the Super Bowl of the dairy industry. Absolutely, the scale makes it impressive; but it’s the combination of the globe’s leading dairy companies and the top industry experts from around the world alongside North America’s best dairy cattle that make it truly unique. There is no other event that gathers as many people from around the globe with such a deep passion for dairy. Coming to Madison every autumn for the Expo is like coming home for a family reunion; it’s so special, energising and invigorating.
* The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play by searching ‘World Dairy Expo’. World Dairy Expo will take place from 2-7 October 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin, United States.