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Study finds Farm Progress Show brings a large economic benefit

An aerial view of the Farm Progress Show at Decatur.
Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce
An aerial view of the Farm Progress Show at Decatur.

A new study finds the Farm Progress Show, which rotates between Decatur and Boone, Iowa, boosts the local economies.

The study by Informa, the company that owns the Farm Progress Show, measured the direct and indirect dollars spent by visitors, exhibitors and local suppliers during the 2022 show in Boone. It lists economic activity at $31 million. Based on scope and size, it said the figures also apply to Decatur.

Matt Jungmann, national events director for Farm Progress, says when he and his team inked a deal with the two communities in the early 2000s that locked in 10 shows over 20 years, they estimated each year would have a $10 million economic impact.

“Now we’re up to $31 million, and it feels good to more than fulfill the promise with our upcoming 10th show at the Decatur site,” Jungmann says.

Farm Progress reached an agreement to keep the show coming to Decatur on a biennial basis through 2031. The agreement in Boone is through 2036.

The Decatur site is at a location known as Progress City USA at Richland Community College.

Teri Hammel, Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimates that more than 9,000 hotel rooms were booked in Macon County alone during the 2021 Decatur Farm Progress Show. Her research did not include rooms booked before or after the show, when many exhibitors and company representatives arrive on-site for setup and teardown.

In addition to hotels, Jungmann says the $31 million figure includes landscapers on-site, trucking for every last wood chip and mum, every chair, every table, spreading internet across 4 million square feet of exhibit space, and more. It does not include Farm Progress’ donations to volunteer groups.

“Plus, that number accounts for everyone who got in the truck, drove to Decatur or Boone, fueled up, bought Casey’s breakfast pizza, spent money for lunch at the concession stand, and drove home,” he adds.

Jungmann, who’s worked with the Farm Progress Show for 25 years and recently served as president of the Farm Show Council, says it’s incredibly unique to have a trade show of this size in the host communities.

“Normally a trade show with 4 million square feet would exclusively be in Las Vegas or Orlando,” he says. “But the Farm Progress Show comes to town and focuses the entire global ag world on this community for three days.”

The 2023 Farm Progress Show will be held in Decatur, Ill., Aug. 29-31. For more information, check out FarmProgressShow.com.

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