Considered the United States' largest outdoor farm show, the Farm Progress Show [www.FarmProgressShow.com] presents farmers and ranchers from across this country and around the world with the latest information on machinery, crop production and agricultural services.
International visitor numbers have steadily increased over the last two decades. The past three shows have experienced an even greater upward trend of show visitors from countries around the world. International visitors from at least 56 countries visited the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. in September, doubling the amount recorded in 2008.
University and CVBs Key Hosts
“To see such a dramatic increase in international visitors is very rewarding,” says Matt Jungmann, national shows manager. “Moving to the permanent sites has made it easier for international groups to arrange travel to visit the Farm Progress Show. Plus, a greater effort has been made to make international visitors feel welcome. Working with the local visitors bureaus and state universities in Decatur and Boone, Iowa, has really improved our international visitor relationships.”
The Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the University of Illinois jointly sponsored the International Visitor Center at the 2009 Farm Progress Show. The International Visitors Center staff polled the global visitors about their reasons for attending the show and found they wanted to see new equipment and products, visit existing suppliers and business associates, gather information and evaluate the show for future participation. The center also reports these visitors' agricultural ties include farmers and ranchers, government officials and equipment manufacturers.
“The look on the visitors' faces and the expressions they had when describing some of the things they were able to see at the Farm Progress Show was incredible. It was like looking at children at Christmastime,” stated Teri Hammel, director of finance and sales for the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
University of Illinois director of Special Events, Jeremy Robinett, enjoyed visiting with groups throughout the show. "A large number of South American groups stopped by the International Visitors Center for assistance. They appreciated having translators available, as well as a place to meet and relax after walking around the show. Even though the next show to be held in Decatur is two years away, we are already brainstorming ways to improve our services for the 2011 show,” he adds.
Multiple Tour Organizers
Francisco Albert "Pancho" Biener, from Argentina, has organized trips to the Farm Progress Show for his countrymen for more than 20 years. He tells farmers and ranchers they will see the future of farming at the show. “My reasoning is based on the fact that the main agricultural machinery manufacturers, agro-chemical companies, seed suppliers and service providers introduce their newest products in this exhibition; products that only six months later will be available in our country. I am not wrong with this slogan,” said Biener.
In addition to visiting the Farm Progress Show, international groups often take the opportunity to visit additional agricultural attractions, such as major manufacturing facilities, the Chicago Board of Trade, universities and American farms.
2010 Farm Progress Show
The 2010 Farm Progress Show takes place at its permanent biennial site located east of Boone, on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1-2. The International Visitors Center will be organized by the Convention and Visitor Bureaus of Ames, Boone and Des Moines and the Iowa Department of Economic Development. For more detailed information, visit www.FarmProgressShow.com.