The 2014 Commodity Classic, held last week in San Antonio, Texas, broke several attendance records, conference organizers said Thursday.
"We knew it was the biggest event ever, but the numbers really surprised us as we saw them rolling in over the course of the event," said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Rob Elliott. "San Antonio was such a perfect venue for our growers, and Commodity Classic had so much to offer this year. We're thrilled with the numbers and the great feedback we had from our growers."
Total attendance was 7,325, representing an 18% increase over last year's record-breaking number of 6,214. Other records broken were the number of growers, at 3,874, a 16.5% increase over 2013's record-breaking number of 3,324; and the number of first-time attendees, at 1,261.
Additionally, the trade show featured an all-time high of 301 participating companies, representing a record 126,200 net square feet of booth space.
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"It's amazing the number of first-time attendees we saw at this year's Classic," Commodity Classic Co-Chair Wyatt Whitford said. "This means not only are we reaching a wider farmer audience, but will continue to do so as these attendees spread the word and encourage even more to see what Classic is all about next year."
The record attendance comes as Commodity Classic looks forward to two landmark events in 2015 and 2016. Next year in Phoenix, Ariz., the 20th annual event takes place in the city where it all started; and in 2016 in New Orleans, Commodity Classic welcomes a new affiliate, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
Commodity Classic is a joint venture between the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, with affiliates including National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.