The best way to attend a big equipment show when you're actually wanting to see things is the way that almost nobody chooses....alone. A couple of Fridays ago Melissa gave me the day off and I set out for my once a decade trip to Louisville to visit the National Farm Machinery Show.
Oh the things I saw ! It was like taking a little boy to a big candy store and telling him that he had the whole day to look around and sample things.
It was a long day; I left the house about 6 am Central time and I arrived at the show about three hours later (but on Eastern time...so actually four hours by the clock) which isn't bad given that Louisville is 230 miles to the northeast of us. In spite of going to the show alone the world of production agriculture is small enough that I didn't stay that way for more than a few minutes at a stretch. Several times an hour I would literally bump into someone I knew and if I had the time I'm quite sure I could have killed several days doing nothing more than visiting. One of my Aggie classmates from Ontario knew I was coming to the show that day and she brought me a couple types of Canadian candy that are unavailable in the US, bless her heart.
The primary reason for attending the show this year was to look at Brillion type seed drills. As farm equipment goes, these things are extremely simple, durable and very easy to maintain. If you know what a cultipacker is, think about mounting a grass box on top of it and you pretty much have a Brillion drill. Because I'm planting into silt loam, I would really like to add a coulter cart and/or a set of rolling harrows on a cart ahead of the drill to scarify the soil a bit first. I don't want a full no-till rig and I sure don't want to tear up my established grass....think minimum till and you'd be getting close. Although I've never seen a rig set up exactly this way I knew that all the manufacturers would have reps on hand and I correctly figured they could advise me on how well this might work as well as what sort of coulter caddy's (there are legions of different kinds) I might want to add ahead of the drill.
It's easy to put a set of blinders on and forget that there is a whole big world out there and I've found this is at least as true in business as it is in one's personal life. In both cases it's important to take the time to reconnect, recharge and perhaps most importantly to constantly re-open your mind to new ideas. Visiting with folks, looking at new equipment and attending seminars with people doing innovative things from all over North America is an excellent way to do this. Now that I'm home here farming full time I might have to figure out how to attend these sorts of events on a more regular basis.
[Boy spell check sure didn't like all the agricultural terms in this post. The whole thing turned into a sea of yellow. I think the best one was that the sole offering it gave me for "cultipacker" was Goldberg.] Tee Hee.
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