Thirty years ago, when I was still in high school, one of the things I enjoyed the most was being a member of my school’s track and field team. I was one of the team’s sprinters, running distances between 100 and 400 meters. While I was never the fastest kid on the squad, I was quick enough to have earned my share of trophies and medals. I always enjoyed receiving these honors as the crowd clapped in appreciation.
Today, my running days are long behind me. Instead of receiving trophies, I now find joy in giving them out. The phrase “it is better to give than to receive” comes to mind. Later this week, I will present the annual Product of the Year trophy to one deserving company. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with award, the Product of the Year honor was started three years by our ag retail equipment magazine, CropLife IRON. The award is meant to recognize the one product that our readers deem “the best of the best.”
In the Product of the Year contest, our readers and a few industry experts nominate five worthy candidates. Then, it’s up to the readers. During one month in the fall, we accept votes for these finalists.
For the 2009 competition, the finalists were the RoGator 1184 from AGCO, the LB-3303 from DuoLift Manufacturing, the Condor G-Series from Miller, the Patriot 3330 from Case IH, and the LoadCommand system from John Deere. In all, more than 500 votes were cast, with two products earning more than 150 votes each and the winning item receiving more than 200. The winner will be announced at this week’s Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association meeting in Peoria, IL.
I, for one, can hardly wait to present the Product of the Year trophy. I remember vividly the look on the faces of the 2007 and 2008 winners — a mixture of surprise, joy, and humility at being recognized by industry peers as having produced such a special product for the marketplace. It’s also gratifying to attend trade shows throughout the year and see images of the trophy (or the trophy itself) accompanying the winning product to these events.
Look for details on the winner of the 2009 CropLife IRON Product of the Year in next week’s e-newsletter.