Optimism returns to World Ag Expo

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Optimism returns to World Ag Expo

Fri, 02/11/2011

Bad memories weren't forgotten, but the passage of another year made for a noticeably more upbeat atmosphere Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week at World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.

Credit for some of that had to go to weather that is rarely seen during an entire show: bright, clear, warm skies. The result was an abundance of sunglasses, shirtsleeves and even shorts. If it wasn't the nicest run of weather ever seen at the show, it's at least on the list for discussion.

Attendance looked better than 2009 and 2010, but did not seem not outstanding. (The show doesn't announce attendance figures.) As other farm shows have seen many times before, dairy producers and other farmers often stay home to work while the opportunity was so good.

What we did notice rather distinctly was a much more upbeat attitude among milk producers compared to recent years. There also looked to be more of them, especially from out of state. The last two years we hardly saw any; this year there were many. Attitudes were also positive and upbeat, thanks to surprisingly robust Class III price futures and heavy culling that have left several producers we talked to with their youngest herds ever. Feed price concerns were always part of the discussion, but they took a while to come up.

Overall, World Ag Expo 2011 clearly reflected the optimism that has returned to the dairy industry in the form of higher attendance, more exhibitors, and more smiles.