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What to Know About the National Farm Machinery Show

What to Know About the National Farm Machinery Show
Tips for getting the most from the show without killing yourself!

Critical details: Dates, Feb. 16-19

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern daily

Official Website:

Hotline for questions: 502-367-5004

Admission: free to the show, parking at site $8 per day

Location: Kentucky Exposition Center

Area under roof: 1.2 million square feet

No. exhibitors: 850

2010 attendance (counting tractor pulls): 299,137

Ticket info for pulls: 800-745-3000

Tom's tips for seeing show

#1- Avoid Saturday! If at all possible, pick another day. People with off-farm jobs come on Saturday. The show is jam-packed. Vendors have little time to talk. They will stay until 6 p.m.

#2- Consider going first day- Attendance at shows is usually strong the first day, but heavier in ensuing days. It might be a good time to catch the people you want to see when they're not as busy.

#3- Work one building at a time- Although you can stay inside and cove the entire 1.2 million square feet, you'll wear yourself out in a hurry unless you start at one end and work the other way.

#4- Know who you want to see- Use directories and have the 'must-sees' marked before you start. That way you won't get to the west wing and find out company x that you wanted to check out is in the east wing.

#5- Remember Freedom Hall is the hub- If you haven't been there, or not for a while, you can keep your bearings if you remember that Freedom Hall is in the center. You can walk through a large hallway that surrounds it. It's where tractor pulls are held.

#6- Set specific location to meet- If you're going to meet up with a group or a friend, 'east end of west wing around 3 pm' won't cut it. There are too many people, and pretty soon everything looks alike. Set a specific booth or location to meet.

#7- Reset your stomach to eat early or late- There's great food, especially from the Kentucky Pork Producers, but eating and finding a spot to sit in the food court from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. is a zoo! Plan another time to eat. 

#8- Mark your location in the parking lot- Know which lot you parked in, and which row- because of the circular layout around a hub, parking lots begin to look alike. Make special note of it before you leave your vehicle.

#9- Be prepared to wait to talk and deal- It's a typical farm show- some exhibitors work their booths harder than others. If you want to see someone with a popular product and who is out meeting and greeting, you may have to wait a few minutes to talk to them.

#10- Save purchases for end- If you're buying something small enough that you're carrying it home, mark your spot and come back and buy at the end of the day. Bags get heavy by day's end.

#11- Pay attention to service booths- You'll find booths like Purdue's Agra-ability exhibit that offer services you may want to check out. Not everyone there as a vendor is selling a product.

#12- Ask location of vendor's business- Make sure the vendor you buy from is close enough or has a dealer in your area to service you. Vendors come from all over, and it may not be apparent exactly where they're from unless you ask.

#13- Is it really new, or 'Memorex'? –Signs depicting something as new may be truthful, and they have been on the same equipment up to a year ago, or at other shows. Ask details. If you're after latest technology, make sure it's not rehashed with a 'new' sign to attract attention.

#14- Look for product introductions- Some companies will introduce brand new products at the show. Others will even bring prototypes not yet on the market. If you're interested in those concepts, find out when they will know price, and when such tools will actually be available.

#15- Carry a camera- Snap a few pictures if you're serious about comparing three or four brands of one implement. It will help you compare later, and perhaps make it easier to discuss it with a partner at home.

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