This column should be called “View from the Exhibit Booth” this week.
As I write this, I have just finished a day of watching people stroll through the rows of exhibits at the Midwest Ag Expo inside the Gordyville U.S.A. facility near Gifford. The annual winter event draws quite a crowd and is my favorite farm show of the year.
Many growers enjoy Gordyville because of its “down home” feel, unlike shows which are held in big cities inside massive arenas. Heck, this place even has a dirt floor in some areas. It was my first year having a booth here for The Central Illinois Farm Network and I plan to be back in 2018. Thanks to Pete Manhart and Curt Kimmel of Bates Commodities for allowing me to file reports and setup next to them. I even managed to give away a few Coffee Steamer gift cards (congratulations Kahle family from Chatsworth).
Freebies are in strong demand at Gordyville. Stone Seed is a big it with its free large white buckets. You won’t go away hungry when you visit the show – countless businesses offer up tasty treats, such as the ice cream cones from Ken’s Oil Service and the hot chocolate chip cookies off the grill from Hicksgas. I was even able to devote an entire story to farm show food. The best part was sampling everything!
My in-laws, Norman and Karen, even brought Kenadee by to see me. This was a special visit since Kasen also saw the show when he was the same age, although that day I brought him myself and there was no time for official business. Each year seems to go by faster than the last and before you know it, the kids are in school and aren’t able to take advantage of these shows anymore.
The next big event to cover will be Pork Expo at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. This show seems to get bigger every year and it really is a great way for the Illinois Pork Producers Association to promote the pork industry in Illinois. Look for complete coverage from The Central Illinois Farm Network in the coming days.