The big tractors for the Fort Wayne Farm Show will be entering the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum early in the week of Jan. 13. To Fred Cline, show director at Tradexpos Inc. which puts together the event, it’s always a sight to see: “It’s like watching dinosaurs come in!” he exclaimed.

But the tractors will only be part of the expo: visitors can expect some typical farm information — like grain outlooks and weather information. But Cline said that this expo also serves as a sort of continuing education seminar for agricultural specialists.

Tradexpos cooperates with the Department of Natural Resources, the Northeast Indiana Soil and Water Conservation District, Purdue University, and other organizations to put together information that farmers in the Fort Wayne area can use. Plus, there will be specific talks about the latest farm technology, farm safety, legal tips, drones, and soil health, to list a few. “We wanted this to be a sincere farm show, not just an attraction,” Cline said.

When the concept of a farm expo was first launched 31 years ago, the originator was Jack Thill, the owner of an implement dealership. He sold Oliver tractors, and understood that interest rates were very high for those who wanted to buy farm equipment. Since farmers have to make every dollar count, Thill thought it could be convenient to create a gathering where all the options for seed, feed, tractors and more could be compared. Enter the idea of the farm show — similar to boat or house shows that lets consumers check out the latest ideas.

“January is … when field work is (at a standstill),” Cline pointed out. He also explained that for most farmers, the financial decisions of the year are still being made, so this makes it the perfect time to show what is available, and what they can plan to use in the warmer months.

Of course, it being January means that there could be some inclement weather. This, however, hasn’t stopped the show from drawing an annual attendance of about 30,000. “Most of the attendees have four-wheel-drive trucks, so they can get through,” Cline chuckled. “We’re very fortunate (to draw that audience)!”

Cline has been with Tradexpos for 26 years, and while he was not raised on a farm, the Austin, Minnesota, resident had a grandfather and uncle who were. “People in agriculture (are) great to work with,” he said.

As part of his job, Cline handles the latest farm equipment and tools, and he’s seen an interesting fact: many of the products he sees are created by the people who use them. A lot of the implements are made by farmers who were trying to make life better, he noted. “I find that absolutely fascinating!”

The grand prize giveaway at this year’s Show will be a Toro 50-inch Myride Timecutter MX5075, which is a 0-turn lawnmower. When asked what the most expensive piece of equipment would be at the show, Cline laughed and exclaimed, “I don’t know!” What he would say was that there will be three new tractors and combines on display, with the latest technology installed.

So, if you’re interested in farm equipment, crops, services, or anything else ag-related, the farm show is the place to start looking. There will be plenty to see at the coliseum. “We’ve taken every bit of display area that they’ll offer us,” Cline said.

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