Ag Expo sees large turnout

Jan. 26—The Owensboro Convention Center was a hub Wednesday for area farmers and those in the agricultural sector as the facility hosted the 49th annual Ag Expo.

For Clint Hardy, extension agent for the Daviess County Extension Office, he was happy with how the event was shaping up early in the day.

"We're very pleased, good crowd," he said. "We had this program in-person a year ago, but the newspaper headline that morning said COVID numbers were up; but of course, 12 months later that's behind us and the weather is in our favor."

The expo, presented by Grain Day, Inc., included educational sessions that focused on topics including grain markets and profitability outlook, soybean pre-harvest desiccation, tips on improving herbicide performance, corn fungicide and a top-tier management panel discussion.

Hardy said the topics derive from what the demographic is looking to learn more about or things they've had obstacles with.

"We've got a planning committee of farmers and ag business representatives, and the topics for this year's program are derived from the issues and challenges that we had during the previous growing season," he said.

Outside the sessions, attendees were still able to expand their knowledge by attending the trade show, which included more than 75 vendors on-site, such as Conrad Duplooy of Big H Ag Supply in Philpot.

Duplooy said attending the event gives him and the company a chance to see people they've worked with in the past, while also being able to let the public know about the continued advancements in equipment.

"Of course, we are farmers ourselves, we really like to help our neighbors and help our neighbors improve and (vice versa)," he said. "It's nice to help somebody (and) to be able to do something better and improve on their farm (and) to help each other. That's what we're all about."

For attendee Susan Zoglmann, who taught agriculture at Owensboro Catholic High School for 12 years, she was glad to see some of her former students gainfully employed in the field at the trade show.

"It feels great," she said.

Zoglmann touched on how the expo allows people to chat with different entities in one place while also having a space for people in the field to talk about the stresses one may endure and have the chance to share with one another.

"This gives everybody a time to just connect with people," she said. "Farming is a very singular occupation; unless you're doing it with brothers, or uncles or cousins, you're by yourself a lot."

Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, who made a stop at the expo, echoed Zoglmann's comments.

"It's ... an opportunity for farmers, before things get real busy at planting season, to get together, share some stories and check on each other as well," he said. "It's as much a social event as it is an outreach event."

Quarles also recognized the event's importance and impact.

"It draws farmers from all across Kentucky," he said, "and it's also an opportunity for producers and vendors to show off the latest equipment, software and efficiencies — which are more important now than ever before with the cost of inputs continuing to increase ...."

Hardy said that while social media has advanced in terms of how people engage and receive information, "you can't replace in-person" gatherings.

"The opportunity we have here with our vendors, it's a small expense for them to be able to see a lot of their customers in a very brief amount of time," he said. "It's a win for our ag community, and it's special to be able to just visit and see people in-person."

Being the 49th year of the expo, Hardy said that plans for the milestone celebration are already in the works for 2024.

"....Next year will be (the 50th), and we're going to springboard from today to next year," he said. "Our planning committee is already at work developing some plans to make that event extra special."