By Margy Fischer and Nate Birt
Third Ag Connect Expo and Summit moves to the Midwest and grows its exhibit footprint
Farm machinery technology is ever-changing. In light of this trend, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) launched Ag Connect Expo in 2010 as a new kind of event for agriculture.
"Our exhibitors have worked hard to make this is not just another farm show," says Charlie O’Brien, agricultural sector leader, AEM. "Ag Connect has become a platform for the industry. It’s an opportunity for key influencers to exchange knowledge and needs for the future."
This year’s show, held Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, was moved to the Midwest at the Kansas City Convention Center. Nearly 11,000 people from every state but Hawaii attended Ag Connect.
Approximately 11% of attendees came from outside the U.S, and 50 countries were represented.
"We’ve sought out to deliver a forum and a venue to not only showcase products, but this event has migrated to a focus on technology and really allows dealers and customers to see what’s going on across this industry," O’Brien says.
More to see. On the show floor, 400 exhibitors spanned more than 220,000 sq. ft. of displays, which was the largest Ag Connect to date.
To highlight accomplishments in product engineering, in conjunction with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, a Gold and Silver Award program was launched at the opening ceremony. Gold Award winners were AGCO Corporation, DuPont Crop Protection, John Deere and Spectrum Technologies. Silver Awards winners were Case IH, Great Plains Manufacturing, Hypro-Pentair Water, John Deere and TeeJet. Winners had special decals for recognition on the show floor.
Also at the opening ceremony, machinery company Claas kicked off the celebration of its 100th anniversary.
Just a short walk from the expo floor, Farm Journal Media hosted a series of seminars. Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer led a Corn College Planter Clinic to help farmers get ready for planting. Dairy Today and Beef Today hosted forums with timely information on livestock management, particularly in the fallout of the drought, and market updates from ProFarmer’s Chip Flory. Part of the popular Farm Journal Legacy Project, Certified Financial Planner Josh Sylvester hosted a Legacy Project Workshop with details on how to start a succession plan.
Due to the show’s industry-wide appeal, the number of co-located events continues to increase with more than 30 events at the show, including 10 association conferences, eight educational seminars and more than 13 exhibitor events. This year included AGCO’s national dealer business meeting, a large group of Case IH dealers and VIP customers, and a group of John Deere dealers and VIP customers as well.
"The 2013 event was a positive stepping stone for us," O’Brien says. "We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback, but we aren’t totally satisfied. We look to grow the show with more attendance and continue to make this better and better."
Ag Connect is a biennial show. The next event will be held Jan. 27 to 29, 2015, in Indianapolis.
You can e-mail Margy Fischer at email@example.com.
For complete multimedia coverage, including videos, of the 2013 Ag Connect Expo and Summit, visit www.FarmJournal.com/2013_Ag_Connect