SouthWestern Association prepares for 51st annual Western Farm Show
By Susan McCabe
There's always a sense of enthusiasm and excitement among attendees when the Western Farm Show debuts each February in Kansas City. The sentiment is much the same behind the scenes at the Farm Show nerve center—The SouthWestern Association—where the member-based dealer organization works eagerly to bring the largest indoor farm equipment show to the Midwest.
As an important legislative, communication and education source for dealers, the SouthWestern Association works year-round to foster successful dealer and manufacturer relationships. The Western Farm Show is a celebration of those relationships, bringing together 500-plus exhibitors in one place to spotlight the newest equipment trends and technology in farming.
"The show is in its 51st year and it looks like we're going to have another great year," says SouthWestern
Association CEO Jeff Flora. "We have great dealer, supplier and manufacturer support, a terrific facility here in Kansas City and we're looking, hopefully, at some ‘cooperative' weather. The stars have aligned for us!"While the Farm Show draws a number of international attendees, this mostly Midwestern crowd often puts the day-to-day operations of farming aside for three days to see what the farm equipment industry has to offer. Flora anticipates technology, particularly precision farming, will continue to be the number one consideration among this year's Farm Show attendees.
"We've always positioned the Western Farm Show as the trade show for professionals in farming, and now that's even more the case because agriculture is big, big business," Flora says.
Flora emphasized the role the producer plays in feeding the world and being "good stewards of the land," while noting how technological advances have improved yield and every other aspect of farming. Such changes in technology are happening at a rapid pace, he says, which means the Western Farm Show must pass the knowledge and education onto its members.
"We can't cut corners—not that we ever should. But everything is happening faster these days and we have to be more sophisticated in everything we do for our members," says Flora. "The Farm Show is one of the venues that allows us to pass on new trends and information."
Flora says the Western Farm Show is also the perfect venue for other important farming information, such as the Health & Safety Roundup exhibit that features hands-on learning about rural safety and the Livestock Demonstration geared to anyone involved in farming. There's even some fun scheduled into the show with the second-annual Tractor Pull. In fact, this extremely popular event has been expanded to three days this year.
"We have a great partnership with Doug Roberts of the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association and we want to encourage everyone to come out to both the Farm Show and Tractor Pull and have a good time," says Flora.
The SouthWestern Association reminds attendees that the show runs Feb. 24 to 26 at the American Royal Complex. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 26. Discount tickets for admission to the Farm Show are available by visiting WesternFarmShow.com 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 WesternFarmShow.com, while the Livestock Demonstration is free to Farm Show attendees.