My farmer husband and I took a drive to a little farm show in Kansas City last week.
Okay, so the trip was actually 2,000 miles and the little farm show was the Ag Connect Expo which drew a crowd of 11,000. But, who’s keeping track?
We heard about Ag Connect through a direct mailing, RFD-TV and a few of the farming magazines we receive. It looked like a really interesting convention that featured a huge trade show, many education sessions and panel discussions from some of today’s greatest innovators in farming. My husband has really grown his farm operation over the last few years and we’re interested in continuing that growth. We thought Ag Connect would be a good way to get ideas and information.
So, we both took a week off of work, packed our bags and trekked from Wheatland, Wyo. to Kansas City, Mo. We made a real road trip out of it and took two-lane highways as much as possible. We drove through many small towns and saw miles and miles of farm land. We even stopped at a tourist trap or two. We thought it was great fun!
Immediately after arriving at Ag Connect we were really glad we’d decided to come. The Kansas City Convention Center boasted more than 220,000 net square feet of exhibit space and more than 400 exhibitors filled it all up. It featured everything from huge John Deere and Case IH displays to smaller booths brimming with the latest industry tools and technology. It took us three days to get through the whole thing!
We were able to get some really great one-on-one time with the real decision makers in the company’s we work with (and also some new companies we plan to work with). There were engineers, vice presidents and heads of departments on hand who were able to answer questions and receive feedback. We even saw some folks from back home! My friend Emily Priebe from Riverton, Wyo., who is a product specialist with John Deere, was there to talk about the latest innovations in John Deere combines. She impressed us with her knowledge of their products and advice for how they could fit our operation.
I was also impressed by the international representation at the show. About 11 percent of the attendees came from outside the US, with more than 50 countries represented. I personally saw or met folks from the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, China, Germany and Italy.
There were also several panel discussions hosted by Successful Farming that took place throughout the expo. We heard from some real “masters and mavericks” including Gregg Halverson of Black Gold Farms whose operation is located in 10 states and Kip Tom of Tom Farms who farms in the US (Indiana) and Argentina. We also had a blast sitting in the audience of a live taping of US Farm Report at the Case IH booth. If you ever have the opportunity to hear US Farm Report’s John Phipps speak, I strongly recommend it.
My husband and I also attended several of the education sessions that took place throughout the expo. We enjoyed presentations on managing for profit, precision agriculture, a “Mavericks of Agriculture” panel, social media, business management and farm policy. These were just a few of the sessions offered.
We came back with our brains loaded and lots of reference materials to drive us in the coming years of farming. We’re also marking our calendars for the 2015 show in Indianapolis! If you’re interested in learning more about Ag Connect, visit www.agconnect.com.
From RealFarmWife Liz Lauck – Wheatland, Wyo.