The National Farm Machinery Show is here!
The National Farm Machinery Show is almost here! From a young age, before skiing became my favorite winter activity, the farm show was the thing I most looked forward to each winter. I would mark it on my calendar each year like Christmas day. At the show, I could climb on equipment, eat ice cream and, if I was lucky, go to the tractor pull and stay up way past my bedtime.
Growing up only an hour from the show, I failed to realize what a big deal the show is in the farming world. Every major business and brand in the agriculture sector will be represented in the exhibit areas. In fact, exhibitors completely fill the 1.2 million square feet of available space at the Kentucky Exposition Center, making the show the largest indoor farm show in the United States! It is one of only a few events each year that completely utilize the expo center. Farmers from all over the United States and Canada will attend the show. If you don't believe me, try to book a hotel in Louisville this week!
Farmers use the show as a place to network with people in the agriculture sector, see several brands of equipment under one roof when comparison shopping, and see the latest farming advancements in person. Since there are literally thousands of pieces of farm equipment from all over the country that manufacturers would prefer not to haul back home, there are sometimes deals to be made on the spot for local farmers like me. Over the years, I have bought a few pieces of equipment at the show and picked it up a few days later directly from the expo center!
NFMS is great for families as well. One of our favorite traditions in our family is our yearly tire photo. Each year since our first child was born, we've taken a photo inside a tire at the show. The tire is pretty much the same each year, but the family inside is constantly growing and changing. The boys have gotten so big that pretty soon it may take a twister like feat of gymnastic skill to get us all in there!
Another draw of the farm show is the free swag! Exhibitors compete for the attention of overwhelmed show goers with candy, hats and other free trinkets. During Megan's time working in the non-profit sector, I think half of the office pens and note pads she used were from the farm show! To this day, I'll face criticism when I get home from the farm show if I don't have some pens and paper with me. In fact, when meat customers stop by our freezers there will likely be an ag related note pad and pen on the desk.
While it is a great resource for farmers, NFMS draws interest from farmers and non-farmers alike. If you have small kids, the big machines and activities geared toward children are sure to be a hit. Every small child I've ever known is wowed by the massive combines and tractors on display. For non-farm kids, this is one of the few opportunities to crawl up in farm machines and check them out up close!
In addition to the agriculture displays, the NFMS also hosts the Championship Tractor Pull in Freedom Hall. The pull happens each evening after the machinery show and culminates in a Saturday night finals performance made up of the best competitors from the week. The pull is the most prestigious indoor tractor pull in the country and competitors haul their tractors from across the country to compete in Louisville.
If you're looking for something to do with your family this weekend, the National Farm Machinery Show is February 15th to the 18th at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The show is free to attend (parking fees apply) and is open daily from 9-4.
Forty years in and I still look forward to the farm show each winter. I no longer climb on equipment I don't intend to purchase, but I still eat ice cream and stay up past my bedtime! See you at the farm show!