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Dairy community considers future

More than 450 people attended the recent “Dairy Strong” conference to explore the industry’s latest innovations, celebrate its collaborations and delve deep into sustainability. Conference attendees included farmers representing 280,000-plus cows along with industry experts and representatives from allied business sectors. They listened to keynote addresses, panel discussions and presentations regarding the latest technology and sustainability tactics. More than 40 vendors shared their products and services during the tradeshow. The event, themed “Growing Stronger Through Sustainability,” was held at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

“For over a decade Dairy Strong has been a hub of information for all those involved in the dairy industry in Wisconsin and throughout the entire Midwest,” said Lee Kinnard, Dairy Business Association president. “The name Dairy Strong speaks to the dedicated and resilient people who make up our dairy community. Dairy is never short of challenges but we continue to overcome them through innovative forward-thinking solutions.”

Strategist and bestselling author Thomas P.M. Barnett shared insights regarding the latest demographic studies and what steps the United States can take to win over the globe’s growing middle class, which will help U.S. farmers with selling their products abroad. He said the world is going through three major transitions – climate change, demographic transition and a growing global middle class.

Scott Caine, president of Aimpoint Research, discussed key concerns for dairy farmers going forward and the steps needed to keep the industry secure.

“Food security and how we produce that food is a national security issue,” said Caine, a U.S. Army-intelligence-officer veteran. “We have the ability to supply the food, fiber and fuel not only for our country but to export that as well.”

Attendees also heard from baseball’s “iron man,” former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr., who played in 2,632 consecutive games.

“People always ask me how I played in so many games and what the secret was to my longevity, and it was about the power of perseverance,” said Ripken, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a lifelong milk drinker.

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