Any organization organizing an agriculture-related trade show and conference wonders if they are doing what attendees and exhibitors appreciate. Typical for all of these events, the organizers request feedback and every time it seems attendees respond as why they attended and what they received from attending in three categories—being educated, seeing new technologies and networking among their peers and exhibitors.

The Irrigation Association did its survey of attendees to the 2013 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Austin, Texas. The IA e-mailed to 2,437 attendees and receiving a 20.5 percent response rate; the survey provided insight from irrigation professionals representing manufacturers, dealer/distributors, contractors, consultants, growers, universities, government agencies and other industry sectors.

According to respondents, the primary reasons for going to the 2013 Irrigation Show included attending educational classes, sessions and seminars (23.2 percent); seeing new technologies, products and services (20.5 percent); and networking with exhibitors (14.0 percent). Attendees’ key takeaways from this year’s show included:

  • Learning about new products (58.7 percent).
  • Making new business contacts (47.6 percent).
  • Gaining a good perspective on the state of the irrigation industry (46.2 percent).
  • Increasing industry knowledge base with new skills and best practices (43.9 percent).

It was obvious that the digital age of communication is the accepted way to learn more as 63.2 percent of attendees indicated their likelihood to follow up to what they saw and talked about in the exhibit hall by going to a website.