When I tell to my friends about the career path I’ve chosen, the question invariably comes up about agriculture’s busy vs. slow times of the year. I explain that the most intense times of the year are spring, when planting takes place, and the fall harvest/application season. In the lulls between these two times of year, the industry spends much of its time with trade shows and association meetings.
Now in mid-January, the winter show season is in full swing. Earlier this month, ag aficionados had the chance to see ag equipment at the AG CONNECT show or the Wisconsin Crop Management Conference. This week, much of the industry will gather at the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association meeting in Peoria, IL (including myself). In February, Western agricultural representatives will likely visit the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA, while their Eastern and Midwestern counterparts will see new equipment at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY.
Besides getting the chance to see what’s new in ag retail-oriented equipment and catch up with old friends, the winter shows serve as a benchmark of sorts as to what kind of year it will be. So far, I’m pleased to report, the outlook for 2011 is good. At the recent AG CONNECT show, AGCO had a massive display booth highlighting the company’s precision ag efforts. Likewise, precision ag bellwethers Trimble and Raven Industries are preparing several new systems for market debut. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the larger equipment manufacturers such as Case IH and John Deere had new launches up their sleeves before the winter show season ends at the Commodity Classic in early March.
So I hope to see many of you at some of this year’s events. Based upon the early buzz, 2011 will be a great year for agriculture, which will make the equipment offerings making their market debuts all the more interesting . . .