The Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo, born from the ashes of the Indiana/Illinois Farm Equipment Show in 2018, continues to improve and expand with a successful event in 2019. Its three-day run at the Indiana State Fairgrounds recorded a significant increase in attendance, new exhibitors and events, a redesigned exhibit floor, and an upgraded look and feel. “This is the best this show has been in a long time,” noted one long time exhibitor.
Despite adverse winter weather on opening day, total attendance increased by 28% over the 2018 show reaching 4065 attendees. “This is particularly exciting given the current state of the farm economy,” said Gary Thoe, with Mid-Country Media, part owner of the event. “We would have hit our goal of 5,000 if we had not had a snow storm on opening day.” The Expo began registering all attendees in 2018 to get a more accurate number.
Several new Expo features proved to be very popular including a free opening day breakfast for attendees and exhibitors; free parking vouchers for those who pre-registered online or clipped them from Farm World Newspaper; a second, free, coffee shop area; and a bigger grand prize drawing. A redesigned show floor provided better traffic flow, and a new decorating scheme gave the Expo a fresh look.
Recover, Renew, and Innovate was the theme of the 2019 Expo, reflecting the very difficult growing season most farmers experienced. The free, seminar series focused on equipping producers with the knowledge and skills they need to profit in 2020. “Those who came to the Expo are glad to have survived 2019 and are determined to do what is needed to profit in 2020,” said Gary Truitt, President of the Expo and organizer of the seminar series. “New tools and new technology will allow them to farm more productively, efficiently, and sustainably.”
Many of those attending the Expo expressed optimism that 2020 would be a better year for their operation and for the farm economy than the past two years have been.
“This is a relationship show. You get a chance to spend time and build relationships with customers,” said Erika Jeffries, with Seed Genetics Direct. Similar sentiment was expressed by other exhibitors about the slower pace and more casual nature of the Expo compared to larger, more crowded events. The Expo also provided a bit of levity with a selfie station featuring an “I survived farming in 2019” sign and a visit by Santa Claus.
Agricultural media coverage of the Expo was extensive with two farm radio networks and three leading radio stations all broadcasting from the Expo. Farm World Newspaper, WRTV Channel 6, Inside Indiana Business, and Indiana Public Broadcasting also covered the event. Two social media reporters employed by the Expo posted dozens of photos and videos from the Expo on a number of social media platforms.
Show manager Toni Hodson reports that exhibitor renewals are running very strong for the 2020 Expo, with some asking for larger spaces. American Family Insurance, the presenting show sponsor, has committed to return for the 2020 show with an even bigger and more exciting prize package. Details on the 2020 show will appear soon on the Expo website: www.indianafarmexpo.com.
The Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo is a production of Midwest Ag Events, LLC, a joint venture of Hoosier Ag Today and Mid-Country Media.