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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Don Harter, co-owner of Harmony Outdoor Equipment in Auburn, will have Massey Ferguson tractors on display at the 29th annual Fort Wayne Farm Show this week at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Massey Ferguson 4710 with deluxe cab at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Kyle Coffey, Parts Dept. , works at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Portrait of Don Harter, owner, with the Massey Ferguson 4710 with deluxe cab at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Headshot of Don Harter, owner, with the Massey Ferguson 4710 with deluxe cab at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Portrait of Don Harter, owner, with the Massey Ferguson 4710 with deluxe cab at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The Massey Ferguson 4710 with deluxe cab , center, among other tractors at Harmony Outdoor Equipment on Wednesday January 10, 2018.

Sunday, January 14, 2018 1:00 am

Farmers, suppliers flock to Coliseum

Annual show kicks off 29th edition Tuesday

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: 29th annual Fort Wayne Farm Show

Who: Organized by Tradexpos Inc. of Austin, Minn.

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday

Where: Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.

Admission: Free

Parking: $5 per car

For more information: Go to www.tradexpos.com/fort-wayne-farm-show/

The deluxe cab on the red Massey Ferguson tractor is covered in plastic, and it will stay that way until Tuesday.

Don Harter, co-owner of Harmony Outdoor Equipment in Auburn, is waiting until this week's Fort Wayne Farm Show to unwrap the newest model in his inventory.

The event is responsible for a growing percentage of the business's annual sales, although Harter was unable to place a number on it. Contacts made at the show, he said, can lead to sales months or even years later.

“The (Fort Wayne) Farm Show offers a unique relationship-building experience,” he said. “I'm not a one-hit wonder. I don't want to just sell (customers) a tractor and not sell them anything else.”

The 29th annual event is expected to attract 30,000 visitors to Memorial Coliseum this week. Of the 1,100 booths, about 40 exhibitors are first-time participants, organizer Fred Cline said. He's the head of Tradexpos Inc.

One of the five largest indoor farm events in the nation, the show provides information about the newest technology and farming methods. Free seminars have been organized by Northeastern Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Purdue University's Cooperative Extension Service. Topics include: Farm Bill, Grain & Livestock Market Outlook, and Financial Changes for the Family Farm in 2018.

A seminar schedule is available at: tradexpos.com/fort-wayne-seminar-information/

Cline predicted the session on the Farm Bill will be a hot ticket this year. He plans to attend the 11:30 a.m. Wednesday program by Bob White, Indiana Farm Bureau's director of national government relations.

“It doesn't matter who's in office,” Cline said by phone, “the Farm Bill is always a controversy.”

Among the hundreds of exhibitors are companies selling seed corn, metal roofing, hay balers, pressure washers, fuel trailers, drill bits, drain tile, milking robots, crop insurance, pole barns and many other products.

The local show has a 97 percent exhibitor retention rate, Cline said. That indicates vendors sold enough products to more than offset their time and transportation and booth rental costs. He had to turn away more than 100 potential exhibitors this year because the sprawling show didn't have enough space.

Harter will be on hand with his 100 horsepower, Massey Ferguson 4710.

Harmony will display 15 pieces of equipment in its 50-foot-by-50-foot booth. Harter prefers Massey Ferguson for its durability, fuel economy, warranty and value-for-the-dollar.

“It's just as beefy,” he said, “but a lot cheaper” than other models.

sslater@jg.net