WEST FARGO, N.D.—The smell of popcorn and fried food and the roar of 1,000 conversations filled the air amidst the swirling mass of people attending the 32nd annual Big Iron Farm Show at the West Fargo Fairgrounds this week.
The show was expected to attract more than 800 exhibitors and vendors and more than 80,000 people from around the world.
“This year we have just over 100 international visitors from 14 different countries around the world,” said Brittany Posey with the Big Iron International Visitors Program. The IVP celebrated its sixth year at this year’s show, and Posey said attendees came from diverse locations including Uruguay, Romania, Russia, Kenya and South Africa. Erlan Idrissov, the Kazakhstan Ambassador to the U.S. attended the show, as did a group from southeast Asia on a reverse-trade mission seeking soybeans.
Dean Gorder, Executive Director of the North Dakota Trade Office said the Big Iron Farm Show is a positive for agriculture, going beyond the tri-state region.
“Big Iron as a show is just a showcase for all the equipment manufacturers to market to all the farmers in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota,” Gorder said. “The International Visitors Program is to showcase these products and technologies to visitors from different countries.”
In a news release from the NDTO, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said the state’s rich agricultural heritage has made North Dakota a world leader in agribusiness.
“The Big Iron International Visitors Program enables North Dakota companies to demonstrate their agricultural expertise to serious international buyers,” Dalrymple said. “It’s a great way to leverage the draw of the Big Iron Farm Show and build on the growing demand for North Dakota’s high-quality products.
For many exhibitors at the show, the chance to get in front of a large, local audience provided a great opportunity for marketing as well as sales.
Wade’s Service Center, representing Bad Boy Mowers, was one of the Valley City businesses that had a booth at the show. Owner Wade Hatcher was partnered with Bad Boy sales representative Danny Finch, who had traveled from the company’s base in Batesville, Ark., for the show.
Finch said business had been excellent at the show.
“We’ve moved two big machines so far,” he said.
Craig Larsen, president of the Valley City-based High Plains Water, also said the show was going well and he had a lot of traffic at his booth so far. This was the company’s first year exhibiting at Big Iron.
“We’re just here to market our product, to get our name out,” he said.