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The farm equipment dealer's friend: 2012 Western Farm Show coming soon

By Susan McCabe

As a child, Brad Derr remembers going to the Western Farm Show each year, climbing atop the farm equipment and toting a bag full of exhibitor giveaways. Today, Derr, owner of Derr Equipment in Savannah, Mo., still looks forward to the Farm Show as he rekindles the enthusiasm of his youth and anticipates all the show has to offer in 2012.

The three-day Farm Show, Feb. 24 to 26, is one of the largest indoor displays of farm equipment in the Midwest. According to Derr, who attends other, smaller farm shows in the region, the Western Farm Show and its 51-year-old history is both the most notable and impressive.

"The SouthWestern Association does an outstanding job of bringing great exhibitors to the show and the exhibitors do a great job of answering questions," says Derr, who is also a member of the SouthWestern Association's board of directors. "Now, with the addition of the tractor pull, there's a whole new electricity to Farm Show."

Derr gives the Farm Show kudos for continuing to appeal to both youth and older adults. For the region's youth, he says the Farm Show's partnership with the FFA is an important link to reaching a future generation of farmers. In fact, the Western Farm Show coincides with National FFA Week. On FFA day, Feb. 24, nearly 3,000 FFA students from the bi-state region are expected to gather for day-long activities at the show. Derr says that whether a young person's interest is in the field or in another area of agricultural, the Farm Show is the perfect backdrop to the introduction of farming.

"For the very young, there's nothing like seeing a shiny tractor and being able to climb into the cab and check it out," Derr says. "Unlike other farm shows, the Western Farm Show doesn't lock its equipment. People can get up close and see what exhibitors have to offer."

Likewise, Derr believes Western Farm Show officials provide attendees with the most up-to-date look at equipment, technology and farming practices--everything they need to make smart purchase decisions and manage successful farming operations. As a SouthWestern Association board member, Derr knows show organizers have cultivated a good relationship with equipment manufacturers and established strong dealer advocacy programs that ultimately benefit its members.

"Every dealer should be a member of the Southwestern Association," Derr says. "Time and time again, I meet farm equipment dealers who come to the show and realize what a treasure the organization is for dealers and wonder what they've been missing before joining."

In business for 65 years, Derr Equipment is both a Case IH and Kubota dealer. And in that time, Derr says technology is the biggest change to the industry. In fact, he believes changes in technology will hasten in the next two to three years, with more emphasis on precision farming. According to Derr, much of what 2012 Farm Show attendees will see in the way of new farm equipment will have technology inspired by NASA.

Of course, this year's Western Farm Show will be held at the American Royal Complex in Kansas City from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 26. More than 500 exhibitors will be on site, as well as The Family Living Center and Health & Safety Roundup. Two of this year's big attractions are the Tractor Pull and the Livestock Demonstration. Discount tickets for admission to the Farm Show are available by visiting or at any SouthWestern Association dealer. Children 12 and under get in free. Tickets to the Tractor Pull are available on-site at the Farm Show and, while the Livestock Demonstration is free to Farm Show attendees.

"Nothing in this region even compares to the Western Farm Show," says Derr. "I know I get way more out of it than I give."


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