As machinery editor here at Grainews, attending farm shows is an essential part of my job. Although for me — as for most machinery enthusiasts — having a job that requires you to walk through equipment displays hardly qualifies as work. And if keeping up to speed on what the machinery market has to offer is important to your farming operation, attending farm shows ought to be high on your priority list as well. Here’s why.
The technology component of modern farm equipment is now moving forward at a breakneck pace. And manufacturers often introduce new features and products at regional events like the Western Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina.
For those who fall into the “professional farmer” category, that is very large-scale operators, most new products hitting the market these days offer a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Telematics come to mind as one. Heading to a major farm show is a great way to really find out the details about products like that. Even if they were introduced elsewhere, companies usually have marketing specialists at their booths who know the all new products inside out.
Dealership salesmen are generally pretty good at helping you understand their products, but it’s hard to beat talking to someone right from the manufacturer. Talking with company marketing reps is the best way to get the lowdown on any machine or technology.
If high-end items like telematics and auto guidance aren’t in your future, the same benefit applies to small-scale machines or those with basic, no-frills features. Farm shows are great places to make the kind of product comparisons you need to consider for any kind of equipment purchase. You can walk from one booth to the next and really compare apples to apples, all at the same place on the same day. I don’t think there’s a better way to shop. When you’re finally ready to buy, all you need to do at a dealership is talk price.
And, of course, while you’re at a show why not take a look at those things others are using. Even if you won’t be using a 600-horsepower tractor in the foreseeable future, you’ll probably have a chance to sit in the cab of one and daydream a bit.
One of the things you may not associate with farm shows is the chance to find a bargain. Many of the smaller-product retailers typically offer special “show prices” on their merchandise. I picked up a great auto-darkening welding helmet at a pretty big discount during year’s show in Regina. (I needed it to match the new mig welder and plasma cutter I got a deal on during Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon.)
And here’s one final — and significant — reason to consider attending the WCFPS, if you farm in Western Canada. This show focuses on dry-land farming equipment, exactly the kind you work with. There are a lot of great shows all across North America each year, but few focus specifically on the kind of machinery that is common in our part of the world the way the Regina show does. I’ve been at several events across North America and into Europe, so you can take my word for that.
If you do make it to the WCFPS in Regina this month, Lee Hart and I will be at the Grainews booth for a while, so stop by and say hello. †