Having never been to the World Dairy Expo (WDE) before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been to a lot of trade shows before, so I knew what the basics would be like. The sheer variety at WDE, however, was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
There were booths, of course – I expected that – but there were also massive displays of equipment, cows of every shape and size and all of the best dairy foods pressed into a one-mile radius. One thing stood out to me above all else, however, and that was the sense of camaraderie.
WDE is the kind of place where everybody knows your name. Families know each other from the farm, friends recognize each other from school, and farmers get a chance to catch up with people they haven’t seen since the last time they were at the Expo.
I got to experience these relationships first-hand while spending time at the Dairy Farmers of America booth. DFA members from all over the country spoke with attending DFA employees like they were old friends, and everyone was excited to share their experiences from WDE.
Although I didn’t know many of the people there since I’m a ‘new’ employee (coming up on six months!), I immediately felt welcomed by everyone I met. I may not have been in familiar territory, but the members and employees at the DFA booth immediately made me feel at home.
I only had a chance to go to WDE for a day, and boy did that day go by fast. It felt like a matter of minutes from the time I pulled into the parking lot in the morning to the time I frantically searched for my car in the enormous lot at the end of the day. I found it, thankfully, but I was still sad to leave.
As social media manager, I get the privilege of monitoring WDE’s daily events from a birds eye view, but watching a twitter feed will never compare to the experience of really being there.
The show is not even over yet at the 2014 World Dairy Expo, but I already can’t wait for next year!
Photos by Liz Kelly, social media manager for DFA.