Part of the fun of my job is meeting people from all over country and even the world. And last week's Hay Expo was no exception.
The Hay Expo was held June 19 and 20 on the Regancrest Dairy farm north of Waukon. A record number of exhibitors put their latest technology and equipment on display. Field demonstrations included mowing, tedding, merging, raking, baling, hay handling and forage harvesting. I'm sure the farmers who had to stay home and finish planting or make their own hay were disappointed to have to miss such a great event. But, "you do what you have to do," as one farmer told me.
Of course, in addition to the field demonstrations, there were plenty of exhibits dealing with seeds, chemicals, and technology of interest to hay and forage growers.
But back to meeting people – near the close of the show on the first day, a couple guys stopped by the Wallaces Farmer booth in the Haying Industries Tent. I offered them a chance to sign up to win a welder. 'It wouldn't be worth it. If I win I couldn't take it home. I'm from Brazil,' said Adriano Penteado, who with his father, Gabriel, travelled from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Waukon, Iowa, for the hay show. The Penteados grow around 50 hectares of hay in the Sao Paulo area.
Naturally, I was interested in how they learned of the hay show here in the states. Andriano was monitoring a hay and forage forum on the Internet and someone mentioned the Hay Expo. 'I searched your (Hay Expo) site and learned about the field demonstrations. That's why we came here,' he explained.
Still unconvinced someone would travel from Brazil for the Hay Expo, I asked, 'This is the only reason you came?'
His father said, 'Yes, we have plenty of equipment distributors in Brazil, but we have no opportunity to see the equipment operating side-by-side in actual field conditions. That's what we came to see.'
He added that besides seeing the field demonstrations, they wanted to learn as much as they could about new hay and forage technology while at the hay show.
Andriano and Gabriel admitted they did visit some friends in Michigan since they were in the states, but it was a short visit and the real purpose of the trip was the Hay Expo.
Naturally, quite a few hay show visitors are from Iowa but we saw folks from all over the country. Now, I didn't meet all of them, but I know there were some folks neighboring states in attendance but also from places as far away as Texas.