Annual Ag Expo opens today

By Nicole Cooke

February 6, 2014

Despite the snowy conditions, the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds will be full of vendors for the annual Ag Expo this weekend.

About 70 vendors will be at the Expo, including several new vendors, with a wide variety of booths, exhibits and seminars offered throughout the weekend. Ag Expo Chairman Bill Ficken said there’s something for just about everyone.

“There’s anywhere from insurance to farm equipment, small utility tractors and large utility tractors, bailers, bobcats, trailers, anything you can think of,” Ficken said. “We’ve even got health insurance people, crafters, a little bit of everything. So we welcome city people and country folks. You don’t have to be a farmer to enjoy it.”

Among the vendors is Marvin Kreider of Kreider Contracting, and Fajen Lumber and Hardware, in Stover. He and Jamie Moyer were busy setting up the booths on Thursday, cleaning the outdoor wood furnace that will be on display. The booths will also feature HVAC services, store promotions and information on lumber packages. This is the third year Kreider has been a vendor at the Expo.

“It gives us advertising power,” Kreider said. “You get to show your stuff off and it lets people see your products. And it’s a fun break to get out of the cold weather, too.”

Another vendor is Tom Schroeder Rotary Drilling and Pump Co., in Cole Camp. Schroeder and his family were setting up their booth Thursday afternoon as well. Schroeder said they’ve been to every Expo since it first started, and that establishing relationships with new and old customers is why they keep coming back.

“A lot of people count on us to be here, they look for us every year,” he said. “So I know that it works to come every year.”

The Schroeder’s are sharing their booth with the Steam and Antique Tractor Club of Cole Camp, which will be selling raffle tickets to win a free tractor. The winner will be announced during this year’s Octoberfest.

Food will also be available for those who plan to spend their day at the Expo. MFA will be giving away free hot dogs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association will be serving steak sandwiches and hamburgers, and the Ag Club will be providing drinks.

Although there is no charge to attend the Expo, Ficken said this year they are asking for donations of canned goods that will be donated to Open Door, although bringing items isn’t required for entry.

The Ag Expo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.