September 1, 2014

Push for $18 million upgrade to World Dairy Expo

State Ag Secretary Ben Brancel tells the Assembly Agriculture Committee on Tuesday that World Dairy Expo is a premiere destination location for 3,000 guests from 90-plus countries, with a great deal of international trade taking place in Wisconsin because of the event. “And what I can tell you about most international guests that come to World Dairy Expo, they spend two to three days at Expo and they spend a week to two weeks traveling the state of Wisconsin.”

The governor’s budget includes $9 million for improvements at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison; county funds and private donations would match that amount. Brancel touts the economic impact of World Dairy Expo — over $50 million to the region — but he says the facilities are no longer sufficient. “And, in fact, in the last number of years they’ve used tents to house livestock.”

Under the plan, existing barns at the facility would be demolished and replaced with two larger buildings.

Ignoring the grounds is not an option. “One of the things that World Dairy Expo has told us … they will continue to observe and monitor other locations that would have the capabilities of housing World Dairy Expo.”

The upgrades to the facility would also benefit the Midwest Horse Fair and the Dane County fair, which take place at the Alliant Energy Center.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:40