Frebruary 28 – March 2, 2013. Commodity Classic, we hear, is “Where America’s farmers meet with success”. It’s touted as the leading event for America’s soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum farmers, showcasing the latest innovations, along with game-changing ideas from the people who created them. Grower education is a key element of Commodity Classic, from major keynote presentations to intimate, focused seminars, from new product rollouts to thoughtful discussion of important issues. Delegates could meet growers and ag leaders from across the nation, talk one-on-one with top agribusiness representatives, and take in the exhibits at the trade show. Grassroots groups debated, discussed and developed policy to protect farming as an industry. Anyone passionate about agriculture, especially if they were “a bit foggy about the agribusiness industry’s future” needed to be there, we heard. You said soy milk in your coffee, right?
January 15-18, 2013. The banner above the registration desk showed a little orange backhoe surrounded by greenery, so we were clearly in the territory of growing stuff, and clearing the ground on which to do that. Topics on attendees’ minds? Well, how about “Greenhouse Water, Media, and Nutrition”, “Care of Herbaceous Perennials in the Landscape”, or “Creating Fantastic and Fun Outdoor Container Gardens Throughout the Year “? Oh, you think nothing can POSSIBLY go wrong? Then you wouldn’t have needed the sessions on Best Management Practices Identifying and Managing Common Plant Diseases, Basic Weed ID and Control, or the Turf Pest Control Update. In fact, you probably would have left everything in the hands of those “Beneficial Insects”…
Dec. 4-6, 2012. Seed Expo is purportedly the largest seed industry trade show in the country. And it’s run by ASTA, the American Seed Trade Association. Membership consists of more than 700 companies involved in production and distribution, plant breeding and related industries. “From Alfalfa to Zucchini and all the agronomic crops in between, the American Seed Trade Association and their partner seed associations are charged with representing the interests and concerns of the seed industry, here at home and around the globe”……… we were reliably informed. “Wherever there is a need for perspective and experience involving seed, ASTA and your state and/or regional seed association are there”. Well, you plant a seed, and in due course…..
Dec. 4-6, 2012. Over 4,000 people from 42 states and six Canadian provinces registered for the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo (which cohabits with the Michigan Greenhouse Growers’ Expo — since you ask). This is the show for Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Farm Marketers and Greenhouse Operators. Some of the types of companies that were exhibiting included seed, nurseries & packaging companies, chemical & fertilizer companies, equipment providers, processing equipment, lending and leasing, insurance, and investment companies… as well as Greenhouse-related products. Sessions that delegates could opt to attend included… Bakery Ideas for the Future, “Cheese-making 101 for Farm Marketers”, a seminar on the “Fan, Like and Follow” World of Social Media, and Taking Customer Service to New Heights. Oh, and, yeah: the pre-show ( you had to sign up early!) Farm Market Bus Tour visited six top farm market and agri-tourism locations in southwest Michigan. An opportunity to “veg out” before the main event, maybe…?
Oct. 2-6, 2012. Designed for dairy producers and industry partners, World Dairy Expo is a showcase for elite dairy cattle, cutting edge research and modern technologies. No other dairy event in the world compares, we were told. Visitors could graze through the commercial exhibit display area, or watch the virtual farm tours, or get corralled with the Coliseum crowd to see the dairy cattle exhibitors compete for coveted awards, or get caught up in the lively bidding at one of the breed sales, to get your hands on top genetic lines. Producers and their family members could compete in the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, Champion Dairy Products Contest, and the Youth Fitting/Showmanship Contest. 65,000+ dairy industry enthusiasts were reportedly enjoying the fun. That many? Hey, don’t have a cow, man…
Aug. 8-9, 2012. Farmfest claims to be one of the largest agricultural events in the world, and it brings products and services to an audience drawn from every Minnesota county, with many visitors from five neighboring states. What does Farmfest do? Well, a lot of things. Like connecting 35,000+ attendees with over 600 local companies in the farming industry. Like mounting successful field demonstrations which feature the latest technological advancements in farming. Like offering topical educational and political forums highlighting topics relevant to issues that face today’s farmers. The program included a Congressional Candidate Forum on Agricultural and Rural Issues, and a session on The Renewable Fuel Standard…Fueling the Agricultural and Energy Industries. Much of the talk was of the effects of drought on the industry…
June 6-8, 2012. There’s something about the title “World Pork Expo” that conjures up wonderful images of senators, congresspersons and legislators of all types convening for a good old snuffle at the pork-barrel, and reminding us what it is in politics that persuades the power-hungry to stand for high office. But no, this gathering really IS about… pork. The meat. As the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, we heard, World Pork Expo brings in some 20,000 pork producers and allied industry professionals for three days dedicated to porcine innovation and pig-husbandry. Aside from browsing (or is that snuffling?) among the nearly 500 trade show exhibits, attendees could take part in seminars covering a wide range of pork industry topics, including animal well-being, business and environmental management, and pork production efficiencies. This little piggy went to market….