Organizers officially cancel 2020 Canadian Dairy XPO

Organizers of this year's Canadian Dairy XPO -- originally scheduled for the beginning of April -- have officially cancelled the event.

A cow takes a close up during the Canadian Dairy XPO on Thursday April 4, 2019 in Stratford, Ont. (Terry Bridge/Stratford Beacon Herald)

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Nearly two months after the 2020 Canadian Dairy XPO was set to hit the Stratford Rotary Complex on April 1 and 2, organizers of the annual dairy tradeshow have officially cancelled the event for this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“After substantial consideration, internal discussion and consultation with the Stratford Rotary Complex staff, the mayor of Stratford, the medical officer of health, Dr. Miriam Klassen, (and) the Province of Ontario, it with great sadness that the 2020 Canadian Dairy XPO will be cancelled,” event organizers wrote in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“This final decision was ultimately made by government and health officials with significant parameters around large-scale events and gatherings.”

According to the statement, the Dairy XPO’s more than 350 exhibitors and sponsors have now received a 10 per cent interest payment on any exhibitor or sponsorship fees paid for the 2020 event. More than 70 of those exhibitors and sponsors have, in turn, chosen to donate that 10 per cent to the Canadian Mental Health Association, resulting in roughly $25,000 being directed to agricultural sectors across Canada.

“We sincerely thank the industry and producers for your patience in these times of uncertainty,” organizers said in their statement. “There is immense strength in the dairy industry and the greater agricultural community. We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. … We very much look forward to seeing you at (Canadian Dairy XPO) 2021 – April 7-8th 2021.”

Organizers of the Canadian Dairy XPO also have plans to host the first-ever Canadian Poultry XPO in November. They have not yet announced the cancellation of that event.