GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – Setup for the Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo has been underway since last week, and people are still arriving to get their booths ready for the expo that kicks of Wednesday. Organizers said the event could bring in around 30- to 50,000 people. and with over 700 vendors, there’s something for everyone.
“There’s everything from tractors to trailers. There’s an art gallery from Texas. We’ve got handmade boots from Nocona, Texas,” said Darren Dale, owner of Star Enterprises.
He added that it wasn’t hard to get hundreds of companies to come to the expo, as many use it as a networking opportunity.
“We get some new customers each year from it,” said Tim Hammeke, owner of Hammeke Electric. “But also it’s just making contact with our existing customers and sometimes it’s just good to see them face to face and make connections.”
During a time when farmers don’t have a lot of money to spend, Hammeke hopes to talk to farmers about his company’s services.
“For the farmers right now, they have to watch their costs,” Hammeke said. “So we’re trying to show what we can do to save money for them.”
As the ag industry continues to face challenges, organizers and vendors hope the expo will be a way for farmers to learn how to overcome those obstacles.
“We’re dealing with farmers and ranchers that are the most resilient people in the world,” Dale said. “This is just a stepping stone until they come back up.”
Kansas State University will be giving presentations on how farmers can increase profits, plus there’s horse training and stock dog demonstrations, and some live entertainment. The expo also features food vendors and a beer garden.
The Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo kicks off Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Thursday it runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.