By DAN PILLER, DesmoinesRegister.com
For LeRoy Kostroski, who works for New Holland farm implements, the first day of the 57th Farm Progress Show was a success.
"A lot of people were here (Tuesday), and that’s good," said Kostroski, a native of Wausau, WI, who sets up shows across the nation for New Holland.
"A well-attended show puts people in a good mood, and this is the best-attended show of them all," Kostroski said as he gestured across the seemingly endless rows of tractors, combines, sprayers and grain bins among the more than 500 exhibitors at the show.
The three-day show (held August 31-Sept. 2) was expected to bring 240,000 visitors to Boone, Polk, and Story counties, fill more than 3,000 hotel rooms in Des Moines alone and put about $20 million into the central Iowa economy, officials said.
The show is held on land owned by Boone County, which made improvements to get a 20-year contract to be the every-two-year site of the giant exposition. In odd-numbered years, it is held in Decatur, IL.
From all indications Tuesday, local promoters were getting their money’s worth.
"Traffic has been very good," said Jason Luster, general manager for LeMar Industries Corp. of Des Moines.
LeMar Industries symbolizes the growth of agriculture. It makes the ladders and catwalks necessary to work on the huge grain storage bins that now dot the Iowa landscape.
"We started in 1982 and for a long time served mostly the big elevators and grain companies," Luster said.
"But now individual farmers have gotten bigger, and they’re putting up three-quarters-of-a-million-bushel storage bins, and they need our kind of product."
LeMar also makes the equipment for the cone-shaped, temporary outdoor storage bins that grain elevators use for their overflow. Demand was heavy for that kind of equipment last year as corn prices dropped and farmers and elevators chose to store their grain rather than sell it immediately.
At the Farm Progress Show, just about everybody is a salesman.
Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant spent time in his company’s three tents, then stopped in at the Monsanto-owned DeKalb seed processing center across Iowa Highway 17 from the 600-acre Farm Progress Show grounds.
"This is an important show, because it’s where our customers are," Grant said. "The timing is perfect; right toward the end of the growing season and with the harvest coming up soon."
While Sept. 1 is traditionally the kickoff for the seed sales year, Grant said both Monsanto and its customers will take more of a wait-and-see attitude before seed-selling begins in earnest.
"We’ve learned that farmers don’t decide about next year’s seeds until they see the old crop from the top of the combine," Grant said. "We’ll wait with them."