By Bram Steijn
Netherlands Consulate General in Chicago
@NLinChicago

Microchips that tell farmers when their cows are sick. Automated robots that push feed closer to cows as they poke their head through the openings in their pens to eat. And better flooring so cows can rest easier and more comfortably in barns.

These are just a few of the innovations from Dutch farmers that were on display last week at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, showcasing the strength of and innovations within the Dutch dairy industry.

By the numbers

The expo provided an ideal location for Dutch dairy farmers to display their expertise.

According to the Dutch Dairy Association, the Netherlands is home to 1.6 million cows, 78 percent of which live free-range lives. Those cows are responsible for 6.6 billion euros in export value, and the US is the third largest importer of Dutch dairy products outside of the EU.

And according to the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands machinery is the most profitable Dutch export product. It shows that there is a market for Dutch machinery, which is not surprising. The Netherlands ranks third in the 2017 innovation index by country.

Innovation sells, and we sell innovative, hi-tech machinery, including that which was on display for the World Dairy Expo last week.

Dutch innovations on display

Wisconsin is known as “America’s dairyland,” making it the perfect state to host this international dairy event. Similar to past years, this edition of the World Dairy Expo featured nearly a dozen Dutch companies that are looking to enter the US market or expand their overseas ventures.

While the World Dairy Expo is held in the US, Rick van Rissum and Erik van den Brandhof from Agriprom said a large portion of the people at the expo speak Dutch.

“Dairy farming is a very Dutch thing,” they both said.

As such, many of the family-run dairy farms in the US have Dutch roots. Rick van Elling from JOZ said that “being a Dutch company is an added advantage here.”

That being said, claiming Dutch heritage does not guarantee a successful transition into the US dairy market. Companies have to offer something of value and meet high expectations.

Mark van Kroese from Trioliet, which produces some of the most advanced autonomous dairy feeding machines on the market, said innovation is key.

“We retain our competitive position through innovation,” he said. “We are capable of producing the most technologically advanced (feeding machines), which is what makes us competitive.”.

Interested in reading more about the Dutch dairy companies? Be sure to check out the LinkedIn and Twitter pages of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago.