BUFFALO, Minn. – Minnesota’s dairy industry will convene this December for a conference unlike any other event of its kind.
    Minnesota Milk Producers Association recently announced a collaboration with Midwest Forage Association and the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association for the annual dairy conference and expo set for Dec. 3-4 in Welch, Minn.
    “The purpose of the expo is to connect the farmer side of the industry with people in the industry,” said MMPA Education Director Jenna Davis. “Each organization has a niche part of the industry that can benefit from this partnership.”
    The conference will function similarly to events in the past, but with educational sessions also catering to forage producers, field representatives and Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspectors. During this event, both MMPA and UMDIA will host their annual meetings, while MFA will use the conference as the second leg in their Tour de Forage educational series.
    In 2018, roughly 500 farmers and vendors convened for MMPA’s annual conference at Treasure Island Casino.
    This year, Davis expects attendance to be boosted with the addition of two organizations and their members. MFA and UMDIA typically attract 100 and 70 attendees to their yearly events, respectively, said Davis.
    “Most importantly, this event will let people network and expand their opportunities,” Davis said. “Maybe they’ll talk to someone they’ve never talked to before and take home a solution or idea that will help their farm.”  
    Such collaboration is something MMPA has been looking for to create greater value for its producer members. In speaking with the other organizations, Davis found the interest was reciprocated.
    While both MMPA and UMDIA are evidently reliant on each other, as dairy farmers, MFA also holds value in the industry. Plus, the forage organization is looking to garner more interest from livestock producers, Davis said.
    “It all ties together so nicely,” Davis said. “We’re able to bridge the gap and combine all aspects of the dairy industry.”
    With board members’ approval of the partnership, Davis and her co-workers set to develop a conference catered to each industry organization.
    Although, hosting a larger conference in the same location as previous shows has been Davis’ greatest challenge.
    “The biggest thing we’ve had to figure out is the logistics and flow of the agenda,” Davis said. “We want to make sure there’s something for everyone and everyone has the opportunity to listen to whatever session they want.”
    With just over two months until the new conference, Davis is looking forward to offering an educational networking opportunity for dairy farmers unlike any other in the state.
    “We all want to be here for dairy farmers,” Davis said. “This is our chance to be one big cohesive group that connects the dots of different segments of the industry.”
    For the full agenda and registration details, visit www.mnmilkexpo.com.