Why attending agricultural trade shows and conferences is worth the effort

Chelsea Johnson

These days, there’s more ways than ever to learn how to make your farm business more efficient and profitable. (Read our overview of a few of those ways here). Yet for all the benefits of online videos and magazines, nothing beats taking a day or two to attend an agricultural conference or trade show.

Agricultural shows are more than your local county fair. There are specialty expos on particular products, conferences to share university farm research, and regional conferences with field demos and tours of local farms. No matter what you want to learn, there’s a show or conference for you. Here’s why you should make time for attending an event this year.

Learn about new technology

Many trade shows feature the latest and greatest in new technology, tools, and agricultural research. You can attend seminars and lectures by researchers and industry experts, stop by booths to see demos of new products, and may even be able to attend a hands-on workshop. Because there’s always so many innovations in agriculture, it’s useful to see many of these new technologies in one place. If you see that technology again the next year, that’s a big hint it’s something to pay attention to.

Stay up to date with equipment and technology you already have

While the newest tools are sometimes the star of the trade show, events like these are also a great place to learn about the technology, tools, or other assets you already have. Because you have the chance to hear from experts and other farmers at conferences and shows, you can learn ways that businesses like yours have made more efficient use of commonly used machinery. Even if you’ve owned a piece of equipment or have been growing a crop for a long time, there’s always ways to become faster or save money.

Access to experts

With all the sources of agricultural information out there, sometimes people feel they can get everything they need online. However, don’t forget that one of the biggest benefits to attending events is the in-person access you have to experts. Especially if you have a complex situation, a specific problem, or if you prefer to learn through conversation, talking with experts is one of the most valuable things you can get from a trade show.

Meeting fellow farmers

One of the biggest sources of agricultural knowledge you can tap into is fellow farmers. While you may have a few farming friends you can call in your hometown, expanding your network gives you access to more ideas for your farm. Regional conferences are an especially good choice if you are looking to connect with people in your area. Some conferences have formal networking events, but you can also connect with people in your business’s specialty over meals, at exhibit booths, or at product exhibition events. Be sure to bring business cards to give out. Jot a few notes about the people you meet on the business cards you collect so you remember just who it was that also grows wheat in your area, or raises the same kind of cattle.

Upcoming agricultural conferences and trade shows

Minnesota Farm Fest – Redwood Falls, MN – August 1-3, 2017

Farm Science Review – London, OH – September 19-21, 2017

2017 World Dairy Expo – Madison, WI – October 3-7, 2017

Sunbelt Ag Expo – Moultrie, GA – October 17-19, 2017

Farm Journal AgTech Expo – Indianapolis, IN – December 11-13, 2017  

For more expos, check out this list from AgDirect