Thousands of dairy producers and companies caused a boost in the regional economy as they gathered this week for the World Dairy Expo which has been hosted in Madison since 1967.

According to Madison Region Economic Partnership spokesperson Betsy Lundgren, people from close to 95 countries come to Dane County every year specifically to attend the World Dairy Expo.

Lundgren said 863 companies attended the 2012 World Dairy Expo, bringing roughly $20 million into the local economy as a result of drawing people from the worldwide dairy industry.

She said Dane County gains many benefits from hosting the event, but the biggest perk by far is the economic impact, drawing about 72,000 people to the region from all over the world.

In additon to the $20 million, which Lundgren said is a substantial amount of money, the city also sees gains in the local tourism industry, she said.

According to a Madison Region Economic Partnership statement the event, which is held in the Alliant Energy Center, serves as a forum for dairy producers, companies and dairy enthusiasts to compete and showcase the newest technology in the industry.

As a result of this large event and the crowd that it draws, the agriculture industry and its sectors in Madison also thrive as their importance is highlighted, Lundgren said.

Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, who serves on the Madison Food Policy Council said having the World Dairy Expo in Dane County presents various industry and agricultural advantages. Specifically, Zellers said the event is important in promoting Wisconsin’s reputation.

“I think it helps solidify our reputation as the premier dairy state,” Zellers said.

Dane County and the state of Wisconsin’s reputation of being producers of dairy made it an obvious choice as the location for the World Dairy Expo, Zellers said.

“I would assume we’ve got a great location for it and also given that we are the dairy state it seems logical to me,” Zellers said.

Lundgren said since the World Dairy Expo is more or less an annual event for Dane County, it can be expected to continue to grow in coming years, both economically and publicly.

Lundgren said the Alliant Energy Center has already been working on facilities that will specifically help the World Dairy Expo expand in upcoming years.

“Dane County announced earlier this year they will be building some new facilities at Alliant this year that will be specifically to serve World Dairy Expo,” Lundgren said. “The new facilities will allow the event to grow even larger.”