Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo draws in variety of agriculture business
February 10, 2017
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Participants at the Buffalo Bill Farm and Ranch Expo in North Platte would be hard pressed to find a segment of agriculture not represented at this show. During the 26th annual event, 120 vendors traveled to North Platte with everything from machinery and bulls to drones, fertilizer and seed corn.
Kathy Swain, who organizes the annual event, says 10 new vendors were represented in this year's show, which is no small feat. "Some of those had been on a waiting list for some time," she said. "I think the returning vendors are great, but it is also nice to have new vendors that can participate in the show, so the crowd can see something new."
With the large variety of vendors, Swain says 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.
New vendors brought displays featuring electric post hole diggers, working ecosystems, Hit and Run Improved Product Technology, Crossroads GPS, Gro-Rite Crop Resources, Sullivan Seeds and the Wild Turkey Federation, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Ag Venture Pinnacle and Agri Inject Chemigation.
In addition, eight cattle producers brought 11 pens of bulls to the expo. "We added this to the show about five years ago," Swain said. "It has grown and been very successful since then. A lot of people come to the expo just to look at the bulls. These bulls are for sale, so a lot of the people go to the ranches to purchase them," she said.
Several vendors also hold demonstrations in their booths, so potential clients can see how their products work. It also gives them an opportunity to show off their new technology. "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. It also allows these farm and ranch sales people to work together and talk with one another. They are all here to make money," she said.
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Randy McNitt with Plains Equipment has been coming to the Expo for 22 years. He said the show features some of the latest technology, and provides him an opportunity to show off the newest models of equipment they have to a large number of potential customers.
Brad Stickelman of Farmers National Co. says coming to the show provides him with a way to meet with a lot of potential customers at one time. "It is very good for our business, and it is nice to see a lot of good, old friends, too," he said.
RosTech Wireless started attending the expo about three years ago. The company's display is drawing a lot of interest from expo participants who are becoming more concerned about safety and security around their homesteads. The company also offers barn cameras that can be used to monitor calving cows, preventing so many trips to the barn. Clint VanderWey of Valentine said putting the company's display at the expo has been a good way to show what the company has to offer. "It is a good way to talk to customers, and generate more business," he said.
One of the newest vendors is already making plans to return next year. Kent Aden of Working Ecosystems based in Cozad, uses drones for projects he works on for customers to take before and after photos. "The customers really appreciate this service," he said. "We do a lot of cedar tree work in the Sandhills, and pasture work controlling noxious plants like leafy spurge."
Aden said he also uses an air boat on the Missouri River and Lake McConaughy spraying big, tall grassy phragmites. "This was my first year at the show," he said. "I was really pleased with the crowd here, and the amount of interest shown in my company."
Travis Hassebrook is another first-year vendor. His company, Precision Irrigation Specialties out of York, is a three-person team who operate the largest independent Trimble dealer in Nebraska. "I think we have had some good conversations at this show," he said. "It has been good to get to know people and their operations, and it has allowed us to show them how adding a little more efficiency can help them become better. We are hoping this show generates some sales. We have had some good conversations with farmers looking to make some changes to their operations," Hassebrook said.❖