Shows bring technology to farmers

Dave Bergmeier

As the days turn from winter and a step closer to spring events provide an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to see the latest in innovation.

The Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri, was recently finished, the 3i SHOW in Dodge City, Kansas, is set for March 12 to 14, and the Oklahoma City Farm Show is set for April 4 to 6 in Oklahoma City.

In recent years farm show organizers have had their share of challenges in the post-COVID era as corporate sponsors have realigned their goals. Today signs of normalcy are returning. Farm also remain a staple of commerce and tourism for host communities.

An opportunity to meet

More importantly, farm shows provide an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to meet with vendors and exchange ideas as they plan for the 2024 growing season. One of the underrated aspects of farm shows are the opportunities that urbanites can also learn more about production agriculture.

Many farm shows, including the upcoming 3i SHOW have planned activities to help teach children about the importance of the dairy industry, which continues to grow in the High Plains.

A mobile dairy classroom, a project of an alliance of dairy farmers, will be teaching youth about various aspects of the industry. It helps to shed light on how milk and cheese arrive to their home or school. The dairy classroom is a traveling milking parlor, featuring a live cow and oral presentations.

Milestone year

In the case of the 3i SHOW, it has reached a milestone year—70 years and is a testament to the vision of the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association

The early shows were a “traveling show” where multiple communities rolled out the red carpet to see the latest in farm equipment and services available for farmers and ranchers, said Eddie Estes, president and CEO of the Western Kansas Manufacturers Association.

He has helped oversee many 3i SHOWS and attended many other farm shows. Eventually the 3i SHOW rotated between Garden City and Great Bend for 32 years. In 2012 the show was made permanent in Dodge City.

As with the case with the most farm shows, many millions of dollars of equipment, services and supplies are on display. The networking opportunities are endless. Stories abound about conversations in which a farmer and rancher learned about no-till planting, a new tarp, a grain handling auger, or a portable corral—just several of many examples—changed their operation. Efficiency pays for farm and ranch operations.

Time is money and going to a farm show is an investment in the future. The best part about the shows are the admission price—they are free. 

We’re hoping that the farm show season over the next couple of months provide an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s your time.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].