I’ve never been to a World Dairy Expo or any dairy expo, but I’ve been salivating for weeks at the thought of booth after booth of cheese samples. I’m on my way this morning. The dairy farmers are in crisis at oversupply/low prices, so I figured they’ll be extra excited to see me, although I expect I’ll have to hide from them the fact that I’m hardly a new customer.
The Wisconsin State Journal somewhat derailed my enthusiasm by describing the main buzz at the event as a machine that will “remove the odor from liquid manure.” I investigate, and learn the booth categories range from Animal Genetics to Sanitation Equipment; the closest they come to cheese is Milk Marketing; and the food concessions include Pizza Hut.
The NYT jumps in to say, accusingly, that the milk glut is the farmers’ own damn fault, because they sorted the sperm and grew too many milk heifers.
Wisconsin dairy leaders respond to the crisis by going over to China and modernizing their dairies. (“We’re trying to teach Chinese people to like cheese, because right now they don’t like cheese very much unless it’s on a piece of pizza,” Nielsen said [of what is Wisconsin’s fifth-largest customer base]. Can we teach a nation of lactose-intolerant people to love cheese? Should we?) The China news spawned a lot of nasty comments out here in Dairyland, let me tell you.
I say it’s time to build up our nation’s artisanal cheese caves.