23 Dec 2016 Ag Networking Calendar
With 2015 wrapping up, it’s now time to look ahead and plan for 2016.
Networking is essential to success in any industry, and agriculture is no exception. Determining the cost/benefit of networking opportunities can be tricky, so to make it a little easier for you, I’ve developed this 2016 Ag Networking Calendar.
I went through each month and thought “if I could attend one, and ONLY one event every month this coming year, where would I go?” My answers to that question are below. You will notice I limited my list to just events in the U.S.
I don’t expect anyone to attend ALL of these (I certainly cannot), but I highly recommend going to at least one of them. Pick the event that best fits your interests, geography, and calendar. Let me know how it goes!
January – International Production & Processing Expo
January 26th – 28th, 2016 – Atlanta, GA
This massive event combines the International Poultry Expo, the International Feed Expo, and the International Meat Expo. This is a tough one to miss for any involved in animal agriculture.
February – World Ag Expo
February 9th – 11th, 2016 – Tulare, CA
Speaking of massive, how about the world’s largest agricultural show? If you have any interest in production agriculture, equipment, technology, or really any aspect of the industry it will be represented here!
March – Commodity Classic
March 3rd – 5th, 2016 – New Orleans, LA
Commodity Classic is open to all friends of corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum—from growers to member associations to agribusiness to farm media. It’s a one-of-a-kind convention and trade show—farmer-focused and farmer-led.
April – National Agri-Marketing Conference
April 13th – 15th, 2016 – Kansas City, MO
I went to my first NAMA Conference as a college student competitor. That is one of the great aspects of this event: it’s very friendly to both college students and working professionals. Join the nation’s largest organization for marketing and agribusiness and attend this event.
May – BrewExpo America
May 3rd – 6th, 2016 – Philadelphia, PA
I will admit, this one is just for fun. May is a slow convention month in Agriculture and this just sounded cool! BrewExpo America is the premier trade show for Craft Brewers. With 600 vendors all in one location, this is the perfect opportunity to meet leaders in the national and international brewing arena. As long as you’re of age, I think you’ll enjoy this one. And, hey, brewing is just as much a part of agriculture as any other processing industry!
June – World Pork Expo
June 8th – 10th, 2016 – Des Moines, IA
Brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the World Pork Expo presents a wide range of activities, including the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, educational seminars, and swine shows and sales for over 20,000 attendees.
July – Forbes AgTech Conference
July 13th – 14th, 2016 – Salinas, CA
AgTech is increasingly becoming a hot aspect of the industry. So hot, in fact, that it has attracted the attention of both Forbes and the Silicon Valley. As a result, they started the Forbes AgTech Conference in Salinas. Come network with a great cross-section of producers, agribusiness leaders, investors, and media.
August – IDEAg Farmfest
August 2nd – 4th, 2016 – Morgan, MN
Farmfest is the 4th largest outdoor agricultural trade show in the United States. The event is dedicated to connecting farmers in the Midwest to industry-leading manufacturers and suppliers. If you live in the Midwest, mark your calendar for this one.
September – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) World Conference
Sept 25th – 27th, 2016 – San Diego, CA
TFI’s largest meeting, the World Fertilizer Conference, draws approximately 800-900 delegates from as many as 60 different countries that represent all sectors of the fertilizer industry. The conference, which takes place each September, provides two days of networking and conducting business with industry leaders.
October – National FFA Convention
Oct 19th – 22nd, 2016 – Indianapolis, IN
My first National FFA Convention was in 1997 in Kansas City , MO. If you’ve ever been to this convention, you’ll understand what I mean when I say “you never forget it”. The organization broke attendance records in 2015 with 62,998 students, teachers, and guests present. You are guaranteed to leave inspired by the future of agriculture.
November – Agricultural Retailer Association
Nov 29th – Dec 1st, 2016 – Orlando, FL
Ag retailers supply farmers and ranchers with products and services. These products include seed, nutrients, crop protection products, feed, equipment and technology. Put this one on your calendar if you are interested in any business that would market or sell to farmers directly.
December – National Finals Rodeo
Dec 1st – 10th, 2016 – Las Vegas, NV
This is a fun one, but A LOT of people from the agriculture industry attend the NFR every year. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but the professional relationships built can last much throughout your career!
What conventions/trade shows have you found to be worthwhile?
I know i’m leaving several off of this list in order to just limit the post to one per month. Please contribute by leaving other “must attend” events in the comments!