SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Billed as a “mega-mall” for farmers, the 33rd New York Farm Show included more than 400 vendors in six buildings at the New York State Fairgrounds.
Twenty-eight new vendors displayed their wares and services this year, including Animat, a supplier of rubber stall mattresses; the Christmas Tree Farmers Association; Eagle Bay Refrigeration; and Martin-Till, a supplier of row cleaners and planter attachments.
The show also provided several workshops on woodlot management, maple production, beef and industrial hemp cultivation.
Speakers from Cornell University, Morrisville State College and industry experts provided tips for farmers to maximize profits and uncover new revenue streams.
Though bad weather has reduced attendance in the past, this year’s show, which ran Feb. 22-24, was mainly clear, leading to more attendance. About 5,000 vehicles came to the Farm Show each day.
“I was quite pleased on the attendance. It’s probably the best we’ve had in years,” said show manager Scott Grigor. “The workshops bring different people in that might not otherwise attend the Farm Show.”
The show lacked workshops relating to dairy, fruit, vegetables and corn, top commodities in New York. It might seem that offering these workshops would better serve the show’s visitors, but Grigor said the trend is fewer farmers producing more goods.
While organic farming has gained traction in New York, Grigor said he hasn’t gotten any interest from organic farming organizations to present workshops.
He added that woodlot workshops have attracted good crowds for years, and since most farmers and rural landowners own forested land, it makes sense to put on these workshops.
The show also included an antique tractor display, agricultural toy auction and food vendors.
Grigor said the New York State Fair is constructing an additional 100,000-square-foot building that will completed in time for the fair in late August. Grigor hopes to expand the New York Farm Show to seven buildings next year.
While managers of many ag trade shows gear them toward adults working in the industry, the New York Farm Show evokes a family atmosphere with children of all ages attending the show, which is held when many schools schedule their winter recess.
At many displays, parents looked over equipment while their children climbed aboard for a few minutes to play.
Next year’s New York Farm Show is slated for Feb. 21-23.