By Blake Garner, Exhibit Farm Sales and Marketing
(Originally posted on LinkedIn.)
The Exhibit Farm team escaped the Polar Vortex in Michigan and spent last week in sunny Orlando, FL, attending the 2019 Commodity Classic from February 28th to March 1st. It was a great opportunity to showcase what we can bring to the table as the leader in agricultural exhibits and displays.
Hosted at the second-largest convention center in the United States, the Orange County Convention Center, the Commodity Classic by far exceeded our expectations.
The convention center, the hotels, the service, the food, was all executed remarkably well. We had the honor to attend the Michigan Attendee Reception on Thursday hosted by our friends at Michigan Corn Growers Association and The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan. There, we had the opportunity to catch up with current clients and expand our network over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Friday morning we had the opportunity to sit in on the General Session featuring leaders in American ag and a special appearance by the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, who addressed major issues in the American Ag industry.
Friday evening, we attended the National Corn Growers Association Awards Banquet at the prestigious Hyatt Regency Hotel’s 26,921 sq. ft International Ball Room. Having the opportunity to dine with thousands of the nation’s agricultural families and officials was quite the experience. The relationships we made through simply sharing one meal were everlasting. My biggest takeaway was the magnitude of impact the American farmer has on our nation and our world. The agricultural community is one close-knit, grounded family, and we were very grateful to have joined that family.
The Breakdown of Booth #2774
The Exhibit Farm booth was quite a sight to be seen. Featuring some of our beloved past projects and some exciting new pieces of work, we were a hot commodity for sure. Directly off a main aisle a few rows back from the grand entrance and red carpet, booth 2774 had a prime location to attract both attendees and other exhibitors.
From our grass flooring to our artificial plant models, the unique elements of booth #2774 were the center of attention. One big learning curve we discovered is that most people are not familiar with what a sugarbeet looks like. Being native to Mid-Michigan where we grow them (and smell them) left and right, it never dawned on us how much of an attraction our artificial sugar beets would be.
Other booth highlights included custom weathered LED lit crates, a scenic field backdrop, our artificial plant models (corn and soybean nutrient deficiency models), an arcade-styled trivia game, and our center table which featured an epoxied dent corn surface. Additional products such as our Panel Pack Display Towers, the Tabletop Dairy Cow, the Corny Cornhole, and the GMO Display also made an appearance. We, of course, topped it off with custom literature, unique flash drives, t-shirts, soybean modeled earrings, and keychains to provide our new connections with some Exhibit Farm swag. Having the opportunity to bring all our favorite creations together and create an exquisite display was a beautiful moment for those on the Exhibit Farm team.
The Lasting Impact
The week was full of excellent networking events, educational sessions, and social events. But the biggest takeaway for our team was the impact we made on all types of members in the agriculture industry. From farmers, agri-marketers, agribusiness professionals, executive directors, and everyone in between, we felt that we made a lasting positive impact on the ag community. The response that we received over the educational tools and displays we offer was unbelievable. Here’s one comment made by a visitor to our booth:
“I want to thank you for doing this. Seeing a company care about helping the ag community and provide ways to educate consumers… it’s a breath of fresh air.”
We’ve only been back in the mitten state for two business days and our phones and email accounts have been buzzing off the hook. Our team here has spent time reflecting on the last week: the memories, the new connections, and the brand promotion. We’re looking forward building these relationships and bringing new products and display elements to our new friends. Thanks, Commodity Classic, for a great week! See you next year.