Connecting in KC

Since Monday, I’ve been immersed in the industry at AEM’s AgConnect tradeshow in Kansas City, Missouri.The crowd has been steady, the seminars have been top-notch, and the networking has been on fire. This is my first time attending AgConnect and more than any other ag trade event in the U.S., it feels like real business is being conducted on the show floor (rumor has it that one exhibitor took a $2 million order yesterday).

We started the week by announcing our new partnership with Yanmar America, which created a lively buzz for Woods. Developing a new business relationship is always exciting work and announcing it to employees, customers and the media creates new energy for the partnership — having that announcement coincide with a premier industry event takes the dynamic to a whole new level.

AgConnect targets top agricultural producers, which means the audience is smart, successful and focused on improving their operations. I’ve met dairy farmers from Minnesota, listened to vegetable producers in California, bumped into growers from Romania, and shared cocktails with grain producers from just down the road in Illinois.

Like most shows, our colleagues and competitors are also here in full force. As a red tractor fan, I was tickled to meet several folks from the CaseIH team around the globe. Monday evening, we attended an AEM Ag Executive Forum dinner hosted by CaseIH and my lucky life played out as usual: I shared a cocktail with President and CEO Andreas Klauser. Nevermind that he was at the other end of the table and five people sat between us — we made eye contact and his company bought the drinks, so that counts… right?

Yesterday, our CEO, COO, and Division President joined our show team. We connected with customers and prospects, introduced them to several industry contacts, and shared dinner with the Blount team in Kansas City.When you’re given a half-day with the big boys, leverage it to the hilt!

Today is the last day of the show, so my boss and I are heading back to the KC Convention Center where he will greet the McCormick Dealer Meeting and make a few remarks about our partnership with them and the McCormick by Woods brand.

After three-and-a-half day of learning, listening and sharing the Woods story, I’m encouraged by the strength of the agricultural industry and the determination of the people who will drive its success. AgConnect is proving to be a powerful marketing tool for the industry and sadly, it’s time to disconnect and travel home.

 

Welcome, 2013

I’m not one for proclaiming New Year’s resolutions, unless it’s something that’s easy to sustain. For example, one year, I resolved to start rounding up my height. That’s the year I went from “five six and a half” to “five seven.”

This year, I’m stepping out and making a resolution that clearly (just check my track record) is not easy to sustain.

I resolve to blog more often.

Here’s hoping for another year of exciting events, interesting travels, and personal insights so that I continue to have blogging topics… and actually blog about them.

AKL