What does it take to put the Gateway Farm Expo together?
"Hours and hours and hours," said show coordinator Regan Jennings with a laugh. "Time is what it takes."
But all that time hundreds of volunteers spend getting ready for the 2011 show translates into about 300 vendors interacting with more than 8,000 attendees.
Jennings says one of the two-day expo's goals is to give producers an close up look at the latest technology.
"There are a lot of different new ag products out there that we'd like to showcase," she said. "We tried to get a few different vendors with some different products to share [this year]."
Organizers say this year's show also featured more speakers and seminars than past years. It's part of Gateway's renewed emphasis on education for both ag producers and agribusiness.
"[The goal is] to get people out here, to recognize some of the equipment that's changed, and the services that's out there - you've got to stay ahead of it," said show chair Jack Lindstrom. "We've had some excellent, excellent speakers come to educate the producers that want to listen, the businessmen too. That's been a really neat deal that we've expanded on - the educational part."
One speaker says that just like investing in new equipment for next year, everyone in the ag industry needs to be looking ahead. The president of AgWest commodities says there are a lot of "wildcards" in play when looking at 2012's market, including Europe's current economic instability.
"In agriculture there's forward thinking marketing things that need to happen, and yes, there's certainly some things folks can do to shore up what right now could be a very very good 2012 for them," said Steve Knuth.
Other expo seminars also focused on the future of risk management, new kinds of crops, and the ethanol industry.
The 2012 Gateway Farm Expo is scheduled for November 14 and 15.