State Capital Budget Proposal Includes Funds for New Barns for World Dairy Expo, Dane County’s Alliant Energy Center

March 13, 2013
Carrie Springer, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Partnership between State, County, World Dairy, and Others Would Bring State-of-the-Art Agriculture Facilities and New Business to AEC


Dane County’s Alliant Energy Center is a step closer to having brand new, state-of-the-art agriculture facilities, thanks to funding included in the Governor’s capital budget proposal unveiled this week.  The new barns would ensure one of the largest trade shows in the world, World Dairy Expo, would continue to call Dane County and Wisconsin home.


“This is great news for Dane County, the State of Wisconsin and Wisconsin agricultural businesses,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.  “Partnering with the state on this exciting project means we will keep the World Dairy Expo where it belongs - - right here in Dane County.”


The announcement comes after nearly a year of collaborative work by the County Executive, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and World Dairy Expo officials to develop a partnership to help the event continue to grow.  Parisi also noted that hundreds of Wisconsin based commercial agricultural vendors and dairy exhibitors from across the state attend the show annually and this new development will help them continue to thrive.


“State, county, and private support for this project will change the landscape of our Alliant Energy Center grounds and make them a national and global destination for large scale agricultural and other events good for tourism,” Parisi said.


The state will fund half of the $18 million project with Dane County and private partners paying the other half. The project will demolish all existing barns at the Alliant Energy Center and replace them with two large, multipurpose buildings. One building will be 200,000 square feet and the other will be 90,000 square feet.


Pending state approval, construction could start as soon as late this fall and be completed in 2014. 


“One of the first things I heard after I was elected was that we might lose the World Dairy Expo. So I immediately starting working to keep it here. The economic loss to the county, state and Wisconsin dairy businesses would have been enormous if the World Dairy Expo left. 65,000 people attend the expo and our area would have lost out on all of the money they spend on food, lodging and transportation while they are here.  I am most appreciative of all the work Agriculture Secretary Brancel and his staff did to bring this to the attention of the Governor and am grateful he has agreed in the need to make a significant investment in this partnership,” said Parisi.


Northstar Consulting did a report last June that showed the World Dairy Expo has an impact of over $50 million and supports 693 jobs. Those figures do not include all of the sales generated for Wisconsin agricultural businesses by the World Dairy Expo. Nearly 3,000 international visitors from 90 countries attend the World Dairy Expo and see the products from hundreds of Wisconsin-based companies.


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