The “Farm Show for Farmers” opened the new year with a bang for the Northeastern ag industry. With a balance of mainstay industry players and over 50 new exhibitors, this year’s event once again demonstrated the draw and the clout of the Keystone Farm Show brand. For any individual with vested interest in commercial agriculture – this was the place to be.
Every year, thousands of farmers and their families make the pilgrimage to York, PA, to experience the Keystone Farm Show; this year was no exception. Weather was an immediate concern as a rainy storm system blew through the fairgrounds Tuesday (Day 1), but foot traffic maintained steady throughout the day with exhibitor after exhibitor noting a great turnout: “If they’re here in this weather, they’re pretty serious. They’re here to check everything out. They’re here to buy.”
The sun shone for Wednesday and Thursday (Days 2 and 3), and Wednesday especially enjoyed a massive turnout. Some attendees mentioned driving as far as three and four hours to experience the show.
The show filled eight structures this year – seven buildings and a heated tent in the parking lot across from the Utz Arena. The showing of exhibits was a well-cultivated cross-section of the industry: products and tools, consulting services and larger equipment for field crops, livestock applications and more.
Some standouts from the 2024 event included a variety of new equipment manufacturers and dealerships, like first-time exhibitor Agrifac Machinery B.V., who showcased their innovative crop spraying solutions, or first-time exhibitor Mid Atlantic Industrial Equipment, a dealer showcasing a large range of forklifts and aerial lifts.
First-time exhibitor Scandinavian Forestry Equipment highlighted their range of equipment offerings for wood-based projects – loaders, excavators, grapples and more.
Drone manufacturers were very visible at the show – part of a growing trend and offering many uses for commercial agriculture. Vendors Ag Drones East, Agri Spray Drones and Aerostar Dynamics connected with attendees across all three days, discussing crop and property management.
There were new offerings for the dairy industry this year too. First-time exhibitor Bohning Ag modeled their Bohning Block, a biodegradable hoof block. First-time exhibitor Bovine Hoof Adhesives shared their line of hoof care adhesives with attendees.
First-time exhibitor J. Horrocks Design had some unique offerings – their line of premium organic drink mixes, ice cream mixes and other foodservice products, perfect additions to farm stores or agritainment ventures.
New exhibitor 4D Ag World talked with exhibitors about their unique brand of agriculture fashion as well as their growing offerings for the barn and barnyard: headlocks, stall dividers, fans and more.
Whether a first-time exhibitor or a legacy presence at the show, every booth offered something engaging or cutting edge to visitors. Legacy exhibitors always bring strong showings, with dealerships like Agriteer and Messick’s popular destinations for equipment aficionados.
Exhibits weren’t the only offering to the public. Although streamlined, there was a programming schedule offered through Penn State Extension. Presenters Ashley Isaacson, Jeff Graybill and Sarah Frame spoke about topics such as perennial weed management in hay and row crops and avoiding pesticide mixing disasters. Heidi Reed and Andrew Frankenfeld touched on pesticide safety and forage weed management, among other things.
When speaking of this year’s event, Bruce Button, show sales manager and sales manager for Country Folks, was filled with pride. “What you see here is the result of many long years. We’ve built this, we’ve maintained it – we’ve survived the COVID era when many of our competitors can’t say the same – and we’ve been fortunate enough to continue to grow every year,” he said. “We’ve evolved into a brand that is recognized and prioritized in the agriculture industry across this country – and I couldn’t be prouder of what our team has built.”
Lee Newspapers and Lee Trade Shows General Manager Janet Lee Stanley echoed similar sentiments. “When you talk about the Keystone Farm Show, it means something in this industry. Focusing on the pure farming element throughout the years means this show has developed a strong market draw for our exhibitors – and our attendees look forward to this show throughout the entire year,” she said. “Many have fond memories of shows past with family and loved ones. It makes me so proud to walk the halls of this show, networking with people and taking it all in – and to know that’s part of our legacy.”
The next Keystone Farm Show will take place in January 2025.
by Andy Haman