Louisville, Ky. – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is working on a deal that would involve them in the management of the nation’s largest farm equipment show beginning next year.
AEM President Dennis Slater was in Louisville February 15 for the opening of the National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS) where he signed a letter of intent that will lead to a partnership with the Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB), the owners of the event.
The pending alliance will be a platform for AEM to take an active role in organizing, managing and presumably expanding the NFMS. “It’s not that the show lacks anything, it’s about adding something to it and getting our members behind it,” Slater told AgWire at the ceremony.
The AEM represents manufacturers of heavy equipment for agriculture as well as construction, mining and other related industries. AEM also organizes CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the Las Vegas triennial that includes a number of farm machinery producers among its more than 2,500 exhibitors. Slater will have a lot of space to work with at the Kentucky International Exposition Center. The center has 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space and is tied for fifth place on the Trade Show Executive World’s Top Convention Centers. It was not immediately known how many net square feet the NFMS averages each year.
The NFMS also takes up a great deal of room, but is largely a Winter consumer show for Midwest farmers to look over the new models and sit in on various seminars on the latest agriculture practices and trends. Admission is free and even parking fees are minimal for crowds that reach around 300,000. There are a host of entertaining distractions for visitors, not the least of which is the noisy Championship Tractor Pull, which draws about 70,000 tractor pull enthusiasts at Freedom Hall on the grounds of the Expo Center.
The NFMS attracts more than 800 exhibitors, but also has a waiting list for exhibitors. Fitting in more booths will be one of the issues to be addressed. “Every year, hundreds of exhibitors are wait-listed for America’s largest indoor farm show,” KFSB President and CEO Jason Rittenberry said in a statement. “This partnership will bring new opportunities for current and future exhibitors, and will expand the experience for our attendees.”
Details of the pact will be worked out in the near future, both parties said. “This is a first step in a partnership that will benefit all the stakeholders in the National Farm Machinery Show and the ag industry,” said Slater. “AEM’s commitment to its core services, like public policy and our success in leading tradeshows, naturally lends itself to our new partnership.”