Agweek Farm Show returns for agribusiness, fun, food, music and important conversations
The 41st annual Agweek Farm Show in Rochester, Minnesota, brought in crowds of people as farm shows seem to begin a return to normal.
The words "return to normal" repeat often in the post-pandemic world but we all know the normal shifted. We forge ahead and keep chasing what we want to achieve. I thought about it while attending the 41st annual Agweek Farm Show in Rochester, Minnesota, March 7-8, 2023.
Agri-News and the Post Bulletin in Rochester, Minnesota, ran the show for 38 years until Agri-News merged with Agweek in 2019. Agweek's first year of involvement was in March 2020.
Then we all know how farm shows and in-person gatherings of any kind shut down and changed.
This year, for the 41st annual event in Rochester, our Agweek farm show manager and southeast Minnesota based sales lead McKayla (Wingert) Eversman consolidated the show into one building on the Olmsted County Fairgrounds, instead of having it spread out across two arenas.
We hadn't been allowed to gather in 2021 and ongoing restrictions had made it quieter than we planned in 2022. In 2023, we returned to a changed farm show, but the Agweek Farm Show continued on for its traditional two days in early March.
The local news covered it in the Post Bulletin, and three television channels came for interviews. Attendees stopped and shared about watching AgweekTV on Sunday mornings on ABC-6 in the Rochester area.
The farm show consisted of more than 40 area ag businesses or services targeting agriculture, and 70 booths lined the arena along with a stage and seating for food, programming and a classic country music concert.
The Olmsted County pork producers served a tasty Tuesday pork sandwich lunch. Agweek sponsored a free barbecue meal for Tuesday night supper with southern Minnesota-based classic country band 507 Country singing for two hours. Three Rivers Cattlemen served delicious beef sandwiches for lunch on Wednesday. Little Red Dairy served three flavors of cheese curds and held a tasting contest.
Eversman worked with Agweek Editor Jenny Schlecht and the editorial team to plan in-depth programming from an agriculture career discussion , third crop success with oats marketing , planning a successful legacy, farm-to-market road rules and the impact of higher land values.
The parking lot overflowed. The arena filled. Food, fun, music, conversation and farm chatter filled the arena. People sought out longtime columnist and former Agri-News editor Mychal Wilmes .
While things change and shift, some moments feel familiar, and farm shows are one of those for us in agriculture. We need these shared moments to visit, learn from one another, seek out new technologies, services and build relationships, in-person.
One vendor shared he had four more leads than he expected on the first day. Another shared that when the supply chain settles down, more agribusinesses will return to the farm show. As 507 Country finished up on Tuesday night, two business owners departed their booth and said so many more people came to the farm show for the evening than they expected, and they were the “good ones” they needed to talk to. Many thanked our Agweek team for pushing ahead to keep the important event going for southeast Minnesota and northern Iowa agriculture.
Putting on an event takes tremendous effort and a dedicated team. Thank you. You know this if you have worked to bring back events important to you and your community and businesses.
Take your passion, utilize the abilities of a team and lean on experiences and build for the future.
An attendee who I learned was an area agribusiness person approached me on the show floor to ask how he can be a part of the 42nd annual Agweek Farm Show. I paused and realized he was asking about 2024, next year.
I gave him McKayla’s business card and shared that by late summer 2023 he sign up his business for the 2024 farm show. The conversation reminded me to keep going in our Agweek pursuit to carry on with a longstanding agriculture tradition in Rochester and to keep building on the future of farming in small and big ways.
If you want events to "return to normal," sign up your business, advertise in ag media, and if you’re in ag, farming, ranching, or just interested in agriculture, show up at the events near you and important to you. Visit the vendors who paid to be there, to set up their booth, display their services and seek to build on the future of agriculture.
Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at email@example.com, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.