Commodity Classic organizers Tuesday announced that the annual trade show and meeting, held each year in late February-early March, will be joining forces with the AG CONNECT Expo in 2016.
The American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association, producers of Commodity Classic, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, producer of AG CONNECT, in a press call said the inaugural event will take place March 3-5, 2016, in New Orleans, La. It will retain the Commodity Classic moniker.
Organizers say the two programs, when offered together, complement each other and extend the value for association members, exhibitors and attendees.
"Anyone who has been to Commodity Classic has seen we've grown so much in recent years. We've added in our wheat and sorghum affiliates and now with AEM joining in we are going to have a show that simply cannot be missed," said Martin Barbre, NCGA President. Barbre added that not only does the collaboration add to the offerings of the show, it opens up opportunities for expansion.
"The agreement really provides a one-stop-shop, if you will, for farmers," explained ASA President Danny Murphy. He said though the show will grow, he expects it will not lose the farmer-led feel and educational opportunities that the Classic offers now.
The decision to combine the two shows grew out of similarities in vision and approach, explained Charlie O'Brien, senior vice president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
"The longer we talked, we had a whole lot of similarities, common visions, common objectives that we wanted to do," O'Brien said. "We also felt that the way that we approach the trade show environment or the events environment, that it was consistent."
Exhibitors also saw benefits to a merger. Rob Kolb, vice president of global business development, GEA Farm Technologies, said he thinks it will provide a strong return on investment and opportunity to connect with top-level customers.
"While we do want to build a larger event than Commodity Classic or AG CONNECT did on their own, exhibitors can be assured that this new combined show will seek quality over quantity," he said.
The Commodity Classic will continue as planned for the 2014 and 2015 shows. In 2014, Commodity Classic will be February 27-March 1, in San Antonio, Texas, while AG CONNECT will be held January 27-29, in Indianapolis, Ind.