Despite challenging times in the farm economy, thousands of growers and agricultural advocates opted to "Farmer Up!" and attend the 2017 Commodity Classic March 2-4 in San Antonio, Texas.
"Commodity Classic continued in its tradition of excellence this year, demonstrating the enthusiasm America's farmers have for continuous learning and improvement," said Commodity Classic Co-Chair Kevin Ross, an Iowa farmer. "From the exhibit halls to the learning sessions, the men and women who attended generated an electric energy sparked by their passion for agriculture."
Total attendance was 9,303, the second-largest total in event history, second only to the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans. Growers represented 4,102 of that total. Among the throng were 920 attendees who were enjoying Commodity Classic for the very first time.
The trade show featured 425 participating companies, including 83 first-time exhibitors. These exhibitors filled 2,266 booth spaces and represented a wide range of technology, innovation, equipment, products and services.
Educational sessions were also a huge draw, with many sessions enjoying standing-room-only audiences. "Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic and this year's line-up was no exception," said Ed Erickson, Jr., a North Dakota farmer and Commodity Classic Co-Chair. "Farmers are continually seeking information, ideas and innovation that can give them an edge-and Commodity Classic is the place to find it."
The General Session featured remarks from U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, and inspirational speaker John O'Leary.
Country music star Pat Green performed during the Evening of Entertainment on Saturday.
The 23rd annual Commodity Classic will take place February 27-March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, California.
Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and AEM.