Ag Connect Expo: Global Gathering

Mickey Mouse cut his teeth as a ship captain in the cartoon “Steamboat Willie,” but for one week in January, he rode a tractor.

Agriculture took over the Orange Country Convention Center in Or­lando, FL, last month when the inaugural Ag Connect Expo, hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), presented more than 150,000 square feet of equipment innovation, educational sessions, and networking opportunities.

Some 2,000 producers were among the attendees, representing more than 60 countries and 49 states. At presstime, attendance was reported at 7,000 including all exhibitors, but the final number had not been released.


Attendees appreciated the relative exclusivity of Ag Connect, says Charlie O’Brien, AEM’s vice president of agricultural services.

“In talking to producers here, they told us that if the vision is to provide an environment where they have the opportunity to go to an exhibit, conduct business, and talk directly to the experts within those exhibits, then Ag Connect is a success,” said O’Brien.

At the exhibits, engineers, product managers, and whoever may have been involved in developing the product were on hand to provide attendees with the opportunity to have a real dialog with exhibitors, he added. “Attendees wanted to have access, and that’s all about quality,” said O’Brien.

Atlanta’s World Congress Center will host the next Ag Connect Expo, scheduled for Jan. 7-10, 2011. After that, the event will be held on an every-other-year basis.

For more information on the event, visit

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