Getting Ready for the Winter Shows in Agriculture
The calendar has flipped, Christmas decorations have been put away (in most households), and winter has finally arrived for the nation. In addition to these watershed events, many within the agricultural community are busily preparing for the upcoming growing season. And in many cases, this will involve a trip or three to some of the industry’s annual slate of trade shows.
Throughout the month of January, many state associations will hold their annual events across the country. A few of the ones I’ve found useful in the past include the Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic, where I first learned about the potential trouble dicamba off-target application could have on the marketplace, and the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, where I got the inside story of the West Fertilizer disaster from now retired The Asmark Institute head Allen Summers back in 2014.
Besides these state events, there are a pair of national agricultural shows in February that help insiders in the industry learn about how the upcoming growing season might play out. At mid-month is the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. Attracting some 300,000 attendees, this event usually showcases the best and brightest farm equipment, including plenty of new introductions and technology debuts. At the end of the month, attendees will gather for the Commodity Classic, this year being held in Orlando, FL. Typically, this event features more product announcements from crop protection product suppliers. But it also tends to have a few high-profile speakers on hand talking about issues important to agriculture. In fact, it was at the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, CA, where I first heard Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speak, and affirming attendees of his commitment to the nation’s growers.
“Hear me clearly, all of you,” said Perdue. “I have not and will not support any policies that undermine demand and are harmful to our agricultural producers.”
As always, not every trade show is for everyone in agriculture. However, they can provide some important insights into how the overall marketplace will perform during the upcoming year.