The Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference was held in La Crosse this month. This event can be considered the “Facebook” of the cheese industry, sporting a business casual atmosphere where the attendees can be on neutral territory. This show lays the ground work for competing manufacturers and vendors to talk to each other, not trading secrets, more to the tune of confirming industry rumors, personnel changes, company buy outs, and regulatory or equipment changes.
The 2011 show had record attendance and we had non-stop visitors to our exhibit. One observation I made was the number of plants that are expanding or making equipment changes in 2011 – plants of all sizes – making big dollar changes. This has to be a positive sign in reference to our existing economy. On the negative side, fuel costs continually came up in our discussions, not only over the road fuel, but fuel for plant boilers.
Shows like this are important. It is always good to talk with customers outside the work environment.