2011 Gateway Farm Expo, Nov. 16-17 | TheFencePost.com

2011 Gateway Farm Expo, Nov. 16-17

Samantha Bates Kearney, Neb.

Photo courtesy of the Gateway Farm Expo.Attendees from last year's Gateway Farm Expo enjoy the free barbecue lunch which is also offered at this year's expo.

The 2011 Gateway Farm Expo is right around the corner and preparations are nearing their final stages. The expo will be held Nov. 16 and 17 in the relatively new Exhibition Building at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney, Neb. The event offers free admission, food and agricultural information to those who attend as well as door prizes.

The event is coordinated by the Kearney Area Ag Producers Alliance (KAAPA) and is meant to enhance the exhibitor’s marketing success. The producers, cattlemen and agri-businessmen who attend will be treated to over 300 booths and 180,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring the latest agriculture equipment and information. Attendance is estimated at 8,000 to 10,000 for the two days.

Gateway Farm Expo Coordinator Regan Jennings says her favorite part of the expo is the atmosphere. “As a volunteer-driven event, everyone is so helpful and personable that it creates a great, friendly environment for the exhibitors and attendees alike,” Jennings said. “You can find ag related exhibits at every farm show, but you can’t find people willing to bring the exhibitors a meal so they don’t have to leave their booth, or serving attendees a free barbeque dinner.  The result is a great show for everyone.”

This is the 42nd consecutive year for the expo. Some of the new features of this year’s expo are the speaker sessions occurring throughout the day in the conference room of the Expo Hall. There are four sessions held each day beginning at 9:30 a.m., and running throughout the day. Sessions range in topics from Ag Risk Consulting: “$10,000 land and $4 corn, now what?” to Dreamland Industries: “Creating Prosperity with Safflower.”

Jennings says that the abundance of information available at the event is the main reason for people to attend the expo. “Technology in agricultural is expanding and developing as fast, if not faster, than it is in every sector of our economy,” Jennings said. “Gateway provides a great opportunity to see and learn about the latest in technology, as well as in services and equipment.”

The expo opens Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. and runs until 6:30 p.m. with an Agriculture Appreciation Reception at 4:30 p.m. Both days of the expo include a barbeque lunch at 11:30 a.m. with live entertainment at 11:45 a.m. Approximately 2,500 lunches will be served each day. The expo closes at 5 p.m. on Nov 17.

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Preparing for this event every year is strenuous and continues year round. “With nearly 300 exhibitors, you could probably plan a total of five hours per exhibitor to account for phone calls, faxes, mailings, bookkeeping, setup, coordinating signage, show event details, and clean up,” Jennings said. “Yearlong administration of the paperwork and the next year’s planning probably accounts for another two hours per exhibitor.”

Jennings knows how important the staff and volunteers are to the expo and how the work they do each year would be tough to do without the people she works with. “This work is accomplished by the show staff coordinators and by volunteers so it is quite manageable and worth the effort,” Jennings said. “It takes countless hours of a multitude of volunteers to have a successful show.”

For more information on the Gateway Farm Expo, please visit http://www.GatewayFarmExpo.org.