Brent Adams | Rural Strong Media
By Brent Adams
After taking a year off in 2021, the National Farm Machinery Show and Championship Tractor Pull will return to the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville this week.
The show will be held Wednesday, Feb. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 19.
More than 300,000 attendees and exhibitors are expected to be present for the run of the show, which showcases the latest in new farm equipment, agriculture technology and innovation, educational seminars and the Championship Tractor Pull, one of the most prestigious events in all of motorsports.
“Everyone is excited about this year’s event,” said David Beck, president of Kentucky Venues, which operates the Kentucky Exposition Center and produces the National Farm Machinery Show. “It’s a major part of agriculture. It’s a major part of tourism in our state and it’s such a morale booster for our people. It was so disappointing to have to delay then finally, cancel last year’s event, so we’re excited about this year. Everything’s looking good.”
National Farm Machinery Show showcases innovation
Whether attendees are looking for the best mid-size farm tractor, hay rakes, tillage equipment, drones for farm field scouting, tips for soil testing and best weed control strategies, the show has them covered. The show’s offerings increase every year, and Beck and his staff work diligently to keep on top of agriculture industry trends, which continue to shape not only agriculture, but many facets of life.
“So much of what we have in society, that we use in our homes and in our businesses—new equipment, new ideas, even medicine—started in agriculture,” Beck said. “A farmer on a farm had an idea and he perfected it, modified something, made it work or made it more efficient or more effective, or an agribusiness person picked that up and did some research or universities might have been involved in creating things that eventually got to the marketplace.”
Autonomous equipment will be a focus of this year’s National Farm Machinery Show, as will any strategy for maximizing return on investment and minimizing costs at a time when fertilizer prices continue to trend upward and supply becomes scarce, Beck said.
“You can’t afford to waste an ounce of anything,” Beck said. “So you have to be very efficient and very effective in how you protect your soil, protect your water, protect your livestock, and every aspect of that’s part of this conversation. There will be some new technologies that people will be talking about.”
Seminars playing a greater role at the show
Educational seminars, which will be held in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center Feb. 16-18, continue to grow in popularity. They will cover various topics, including grain marketing, working around weather conditions, government policy and building better grain dryers.
The seminars are free for all show attendees.
“These seminars are producer driven. They are things (farmers) want to know more about, discuss and ask questions,” Beck said. “There is a lot that influences our industry and we have the ability to feed ourselves and a good part of the world … but it’s all based on innovation and efficiency and that starts on the farm” understanding topics discussed at the show’s seminars.
Championship Tractor Pull a major draw
Many National Farm Machinery Show attendees stick around each day for the Championship Tractor Pull, an invitation-only event that features the nation’s best drivers and machines in the Pro Stocks, Super Stocks, Modified and Alcohol Tractors division, as well as Two-Wheel and Four-Wheel Drive Trucks.
More than $200,000 in prize money will be on the line over five performances.
The Championship Tractor Pull culminates with a Finals round on Saturday, Feb. 19. The winner of that round will be crowned Grand Champion of the event.
Event times and prices vary by the day. Tickets range between $10 and $45 per person plus Ticketmaster fees, depending on the session.
“ You’ll see some of the best equipment and drivers and beautiful machines out here making a lot of noise and stirring up a lot of dust,” Beck said.
Exposition Center following state COVID-19 protocols
Kentucky Venues staff is working to keep this year’s National Farm Machinery Show safe for all participants. Beck said the show will follow state guidelines, which require people entering the facility to wear a mask. However, that could change if the state changes its policy.
The venue also will work to make sure the event space, which covers more than 1.2 million square feet, is kept clean and up to stringent health and safety standards. Both Kentucky Venues facilities—the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center—were the first two facilities in the commonwealth of Kentucky to be accredited by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, which certifies that a facility knows how to prepare, respond and recover from infectious disease outbreaks and biohazard situations.
“We’ll have hand sanitizer, wipe-downs of all the high-touch areas like doors and entrance and restrooms are constantly being reviewed and cleaned,” Beck said. “We want to have a safe environment for our guests, exhibitors and employees, so we do not take (safety) lightly.”
Show admission free, parking is not
Admission to the National Farm Machinery Show is free, and registration for the show is mandatory. There is a parking charge of $10 per car or $20 per bus.
Additional information about this year’s show can be found at www.farmmachineryshow.org. Listen to a full interview with David Beck on Episode 12 of our “Tractors and Troubadours” podcast. The segment begins at the 6:22 mark.