27th Annual Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo featured a variety of products
February 14, 2018
This was the first year the Nebraska Bull Service displayed at the Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo in North Platte, Neb. After spending two days at their booth, amongst more than a hundred other vendors, they found the expo well worth their time.
"We are based out of Ashland, but we just added a new facility in McCook," said Jake Reimers, who is the head herdsman for the company. "Our business is custom bull stud collection, and we are hoping to expand our market. This show has been a great opportunity for us to visit with ranchers and explain to them what we have to offer."
The expo is in its 27th year, and the people who attended the event would be hard-pressed to find a segment of agriculture not represented at the show. Companies with seed corn, livestock feed, machinery and equipment, drones, banking and insurance were just a few of those represented. During the first day of the expo, area ranchers brought some of their bulls in to exhibit in the Bull Alley.
With the large variety of vendors, Kathy Swain, who organizes the event, said the show represents the newest and greatest in agriculture. "The vendors bring their newest technology, and they work hard to put on a great show," she said. "Our unique location brings farmers and ranchers together. People come from not only Nebraska, but also neighboring states, to attend this expo."
This year's show had a total of 120 vendors, and 13 of them participated in the show for the first time. Some of those were Plains Irrigation, Stone Carpet, Farmer-Ranchers Coop, Hamilton Builders, Ogallala Ag Supply, B & C Ranchers, Barn Owl, Nebraska Bull Service and Chipperfield Ag Services. "Many of them have been on the waiting list for a long time, so I was glad we were finally able to get them in," she said. "The show is always a complete sell-out."
Courtney Douthit, who is a lab processing technician with Nebraska Bull Service, said the foot traffic was great during the two-day event. "It gives us an opportunity to meet potential customers and visit with our existing customers," she said.
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One of the more popular displays at the expo was Big Iron Auction Service, which is in its fourth year attending the expo. Kevin Bellamy, who is a district manager for the company, said they work with farmers and ranchers, helping them sell equipment they no longer need or want. "We help them understand what the markets are doing," he said. "We buy and sell everything from ATVs to construction equipment and farm equipment. We are an online internet auction business."
Bellamy said he has seen Big Iron grow significantly in recent years to the point where it is nearly nationwide. "It helps coming to shows like this," he said. "The foot traffic has been good this year, and a lot of people have stopped and visited with us to see how our auction service works."
Several vendors also held demonstrations at their booths, drawing in potential clients to show them how their products work and answer questions. "What I like about this show, is it is a chance for vendors to not only show off new technology, but to do business right here at the show, Swaim said. "It also allows these farm and ranch sales people to work together and talk with one another. They are all here to make money."
One of the more unique displays was a partial car at the Mid-Plains Community College. The college, which is located in North Platte, offers programs in areas like business and technology, applied technology, and building construction. Preston Sanchez, who is currently a student in the building construction program, shows people who stop at their display the furniture they have built through the building construction program. "We work on projects like this during the winter when it is too cold to be outside," he said, pointing out some wooden bookcases and blanket chests made by students at the college.
"When it is nicer outside, we build a house from the ground up, and learn about things like exterior framing," he said. The knowledge will come in handy for the youth, who plans to own his own business flipping houses someday. "I plan to buy houses and completely renovate them," he said.
The wooden furniture they build at the college is raffled off, and the money they raise goes toward covering the cost of materials, with the rest going into a scholarship fund. Sanchez said the expo has been a good opportunity for students to interact with the public and educate people about the various programs at the college. ❖
— Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.