Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, creating 20 percent of the state’s economy. So it makes sense that the Southern Farm Show, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, is the state’s largest trade show. And large it is, utilizing all seven major buildings on the fairgrounds, and spilling over into acres of outdoor exhibits and temporary structures.
“It’s where farmers come to get better,” said David Zimmerman, director of the 37th annual show. According to Zimmerman, that improvement can come in many forms. It may be a new implement that increases productivity. Or a key piece of advice gleaned from one of the hundreds of experts at the show. Or perhaps it’s a new technique picked up at a continuing education class. And while many farmers and agribusiness professionals come with a specific need in mind, for many it’s that yet-unknown discovery that brings them to Raleigh each year.
With more than 500 manufacturers planning to be on hand for the show, there’s plenty to discover. Looking for a new tractor? There’s the latest from John Deere, Case IH, Kubota, Massey Ferguson, Caterpillar, New Holland, Kioti, Branson, Mahindra, LS and Cub Cadet. There are similarly long lists for tillage, hay, cattle, spraying and spreading equipment. If it’s involved in farming in the Carolinas and Virginia, it will most likely be there.
Zimmerman said that there also will be plenty to keep landscape and construction contractors busy.
“Those professionals often use the same equipment as farmers, and many farm equipment manufacturers also build landscape and construction equipment, so it’s a natural tie-in.