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Big Iron returns amid low crop prices

WEST FARGO, N.D. -- Crop prices and farm profitability are struggling, but you'll be hard-pressed to tell that by the lineup of exhibitors at the Big Iron Farm Show.

The 35th annual Big Iron Farm Show will be held Sept. 15-17, 2015, in West Fargo. File photo.
The 35th annual Big Iron Farm Show will be held Sept. 15-17, 2015, in West Fargo. File photo.

WEST FARGO, N.D. - Crop prices and farm profitability are struggling, but you'll be hard-pressed to tell that by the lineup of exhibitors at the Big Iron Farm Show.

"We'll be full (with exhibitors) here at the show again," says General Manager Bryan Schultz.

The 36th Big Iron will be held Sept. 13 to 15 in West Fargo, N.D.

More than 70,000 people are expected to attend the show, which celebrates what's new and innovative in agriculture. Events range from health screenings and a craft show to seminars and field demonstrations.

At the heart of Big Iron, and the source of its name, is big, new farm equipment - big-ticket items beyond the reach of some ag producers, given the current financial climate. The ability to buy crop input products, another Big Iron staple, also is affected by poor farm profitability.

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Big Iron, though not immune, has overcome that, Schultz says.

"With the economy (the way it is), a few of our vendors have decided not to come back this year," he says. "But we have a waiting list, that at one time, was 120, 130 people who wanted to get into the show. So we've been able to fill those spaces."

Some of the incoming exhibitors had been on the waiting list for two or three years, he says.

Move indoors

One notable change at Big Iron is a new home for its Issues and Events Center, which, in the past, occupied a tent. This year, it's moved indoors to the old Morton Building, alleviating the difficulty of hearing speakers in the tent on windy days.

The Issues and Events Center's lineup of events is:

Tuesday, Sept. 13

• 10:30 a.m.: Ag Weather Outlook

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• 1:30 p.m.: Market Outlook Seminar

• 2:30 p.m.: Land Values Seminar

Wednesday, Sept. 14

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: N.D. and Minn. FFA Foundation Silent Auction

• 10:30 a.m.: Managing Margins, Positioning for Success

• 1:30 p.m.: Market Outlook Seminar

• 2:30 p.m.: Land Values Seminar

Thursday, Sept. 15

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• 10:30 a.m.: Seven Wonders of the Cord Yield World and Six Secrets to Soybean Success

• 1:30 p.m.: Market Outlook Seminar

Big Iron's craft show will be held at Bonanzaville in West Fargo, Schultz says.

Weather and more

In the past, later-than-usual wheat harvests forced some farmers to miss Big Iron. But generally favorable weather this spring allowed most farmers to plant their wheat relatively early, so wheat harvest is virtually wrapped up this year.

On the other hand, harvest of some other crops might begin early this year, which could affect Big Iron attendance, Schultz says.

Rain or shine, the popular ladies day brunch and style show returns at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo, N.D. Doors open at 9 a.m. Seating is limited, so an early arrival is encouraged.

The cost is $20 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or tables of 10 can be reserved by calling (701) 282-2200.

Some people have attended the brunch and style show for many years and want it to continue. And it attracts companies that want to send employees, Schultz says.

To learn more

Anyone interested in learning more about Big Iron, whether they're a veteran or first-time attendee, can visit bigironfarmshow.com.

To learn more about lodging opportunities, visit the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors website at fargomoorhead.org.

The Big Iron app, designed to help visitors during the show, is available in Google Play and the App Store.

Schultz says Big Iron has grown in the nine years he's been with it, and he expects that will continue.

For now, though, his focus is on this year's event.

"It will be another exciting show," he says.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURECROPS
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