Ag Showcase coming to The Ranch in December

LOVELAND – Northern Colorado is widely known as an agricultural powerhouse. The area is tops in corn, sugar beets, hay and cattle production. Now, the area can be tops in another area: the number of farm and agriculture shows.

The Larimer County Fairgrounds – The Ranch – is hosting the inaugural Rocky Mountain Ag Showcase Dec. 8 through 10 this year. The three-day event was created by Ranch officials who want to honor the area’s agricultural heritage and explore current trends and future possibilities within agriculture.

The Ag Showcase is scheduled 47 days before the Colorado Farm Show, which has been held in Greeley for 40 years. The competition between the two shows is leading many to ask if the market can handle two shows so close together.

“The Rocky Mountain Ag Showcase is an exciting, forward-thinking event which will celebrate the history of agriculture while providing information and fun about issues surrounding agriculture today,´ said Jay Hardy, director of The Ranch. “Larimer County, The Ranch and our other partners are very excited to start a wonderful annual celebration. With partnerships with Colorado State Cooperative Extension, local and national business and education, it will truly be an event that has something for everyone.”

Farm show goes on

Tony Miller, member of the board of directors for the Colorado Farm Show, said he is unsure why Ranch officials would want to hold a farm show.

“I guess they may have wanted to drum up a show to utilize the facilities,” he said. “But, we have no plans to change or tweak what we do.”

The Colorado Farm Show is held annually at the Island Grove Regional Park the week after the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver. In 2006, the dates are Jan. 24 through 26.

“We usually have between 325 and 350 exhibitors and we have over 500 booth spaces and 160,000 square feet between the four buildings,” Miller said. “We are 75 percent to 80 percent full for this year and we even have a little waiting list from last year.”

Miller said he has spoken with a few people who have been contacted about the Rocky Mountain Ag Showcase, but he is unsure if they will do both shows or choose one over the other.

“At that time of the year we are the biggest ag show in the region,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens. The Ranch is a nice facility … I just don’t know if agriculture can support two shows that close.”

Ron Lonneman, owner of Ron’s Equipment in Fort Collins has received information on both shows and decided to only participate in the Colorado Farm Show in 2006. He said he is waiting to see what kind of audience the Rocky Mountain Ag Showcase attracts before he signs up for exhibitor space.

“With the close timing and proximity of the shows, the cost is prohibitive for me to do both,” Lonneman said. “Geographically, the Colorado Farm Show is more well known and attracts people from the entire state.”

Lonneman also said a booth at the Colorado Farm Show would cost him $5,000 for the three days; the same size booth at the Ag Showcase costs approximately $9,000.

“I’m just not interested right now, but if they talk about moving the Colorado Farm Show to The Ranch I will be all ears.”