Sami Jo Small, a goaltender with a storied career, including multiple stints with the Canadian Olympic team, will be bringing her puck-stopping prowess to Stratford next week in an attempt to motivate Canadian dairy producers to work more efficiently. She will be the keynote speaker at this year’s edition of the Canadian Dairy XPO, and Jordon Underhill, the two-day event’s general manager, explained how Small’s knowledge of kick saves will translate to better milk output.
“We wanted to have a strong female that has experience in assembling teams and motivating teams because, as these dairy operations grow, producers need to fine-tune their teams and grow their teams and motivate them and get them communicating,” he said Thursday over the phone from his farm north of Guelph. “That was the thinking behind having her.”
While not speaking specifically about the dairy industry, the 42-year-old Winnipeg native will be conveying a message of teamwork, motivation and communication while behind the mic inside the Stratford Rotary Complex Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
“In general, in the ag industry, we’re trying to bring outside people to bring fresh ideas and fresh thinking,” Underhill said.
Automation and robotics continues to be a fresh aspect of both the industry and the show, he noted. About 33 countries were represented on that front last year and more than 40 will be on hand next week, many focusing on how technology relates to milking, nutrient management and feeding.
“That’s definitely what keeps the show fresh, that automation that advances on an annual basis,” he said.
A total of 16,400 people showed up over 48 hours in 2018, with a third from outside the province. Organizers anticipate between 16,000 and 18,000 this spring. It’s a unique scene having that many farmers, salespeople and experts under one roof.
“There’s just something magical about bringing like-minded people that are passionate about the same thing together,” Underhill said. “It definitely comes down to the people.”
Cheesefest, a free community event featuring local processors and live bands, runs Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on activities, tickets and a full schedule, visit the Dairy XPO website.
Source: Stratford Beacon Herald