Farm Shows – What’s the Big Deal?

September 23, 2009

By Raegan Johnson

Farmers sign up for Monsanto's Yields of Tomorrow tour during Husker Harvest Days 2009

Farmers sign up for Monsanto's Yields of Tomorrow tour during Husker Harvest Days 2009

What is it about farm shows that draw such large crowds? Thousands attended Husker Harvest, and even more people attended Farm Progress this year—close to 300,000. People travel from across the country and different parts of the world to small towns just to look at trucks, plots and take tours.

Or so I thought…before I actually attended a farm show.

In 2008, I attended the Farm Progress Show in Des Moines, Iowa, and this year, Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska, Sept. 15-17. And let me tell you—these events are more than shows. They are great opportunities for both farmers and companies.

For farmers, it’s an opportunity to see up close and personal the latest and greatest products companies like Monsanto have to offer.

During both Husker Harvest and Farm Progress, Monsanto showed off its newest traits on the Yields of Tomorrow Tour. The tour allowed visitors to see the impact of some of Monsanto’s newest products like Genuity SmartStax Corn and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans.

On the plot, you’re able to compare crops with Monsanto products to crops without Monsanto products, and the difference is pretty amazing. But I don’t say that because I work for Monsanto—okay it may have a little something to do with it—but I say that PRIMARILY because I have seen it with my own eyes. And farmers want to see it too.

The farm show is also an opportunity for farmers to candidly ask Monsanto representatives those tough, important questions that affect their day-to-day operations—and ultimately their profit.

And in turn, it’s an opportunity for Monsanto to listen and provide those answers.

During the Husker Harvest Show, Nebraskan farmers brought their complaints about goss’s wilt to Monsanto reps in the Asgrow and DeKalb tent.

“They come in and tell us their situations,” Troy Westadt, Monsanto territory sales manager, said.  “They are a little concerned about the goss’s wilt situation here in Nebraska, but they came in and we were able to talk through that. They really appreciate the fact that we’re not scared to talk to them about the goss’s wilt and how to go forward with that situation,” he said. “They’re happy with our active stance on that.”

I think that’s the biggest advantage of farm shows—both companies and customers can converse, face-to-face about the issues affecting agriculture.

And that’s why so many flock to the show.

They want to see and hear for themselves how we’re really trying to help them on their farms as opposed to hearing about the benefits from a sales representative or a flashy commercial.

They want to see for themselves what we’re up to.

But I could be wrong. I don’t know. You tell me.

Raegan has worked on Monsanto’s internal communications team for the past two years. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Saint Louis University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is currently pursuing a PhD in public policy. In her free time, she loves to volunteer with children.

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