2020 Potato Expo

BY Black Gold Farms

We’ve all heard the old adage of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” however now, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority the new and official slogan for The Entertainment Capital of the World, is “what happens here, only happens here.” This newfangled marketing campaign was launched during the pregame of Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV.  In my opinion, either catchphrase is well enough for a lot of things that happen there, however it doesn’t apply for when the Potato Expo comes to town.  That slogans more like, “what happens here, should be shared everywhere!”

The expo is an absolute one-stop shop for celebrating America’s favorite vegetable and for exploring ways to make it even better in the future! 

The 2020 Potato Expo was held at The Mirage Hotel and Casino on January 14-15th.  This was the twelfth year for the expo and it probably went down as its best; setting records for more than 2,000 attendees and 180+ exhibitors.    

I was fortunate to be one of a dozen or so attendees representing Black Gold Farms.  Our presence at the Expo was widespread, including team members from several locations as well as various expertise, from Agronomy to IT to Sales to Storage QC and beyond.  Each of us attending with a specific agenda or insight in mind. 

My purpose was clear, I was going to the expo to assist in the facilitation of an annual business review with one of our valued partners.  Outside of that, I simply wanted to take in whatever the expo had to offer.  And for me, still being relatively new to the Company and to the Potato Industry (less than 2 years’ experience) I had no idea what that might mean.   Additionally, my background is in finance, so I’m one of those “ROI guys.”  Naturally, the thought of attending a trade show, an expo, a business summit, etc. raises some of those skeptical flags in my head and I can’t help but ask the questions …. will the benefits outweigh the costs; what’s the real value; and will we really gain connections and/or insights that will impact the business?

Haha, yeah… the answer is yeah!  Here’s some reasons on WHY we have and WHY we’ll continue to attend several trade conferences throughout the year:

- Get face-to-face interaction with exhibiting companies and their decision makers
- Converse with colleagues, vendors and prospective clients – catch up on industry trends and strengthen networks.
     - The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a client or prospect at a tradeshow is 50% less than the cost of a face-to-face meeting at the client or prospect’s office
- Attend education sessions; see and learn about what’s new in products and services
- Intro to new players; a tradeshow is primed to meet and discuss industry disruptors
- Present, price, and/or close a business transaction
- Raise awareness of your company, its offerings and its brand
- Attend because the competitions is there
- Strengthen relationships or partnerships
- Support the industry and/or associations

These are all great reasons as to why you should attend or show your support for others attending tradeshows.  

As I look back on the expo, the takeaways that really resonated with me were along the lines of broadening my knowledge base and my network; becoming a better potato farmer by being active and engaged in such an important industry.  It’s about building pride in where you work, what you do and the people that you partner with to feed the world and be a steward of the land.

I enjoyed attending panel discussions with team members, watching our very own Keith Tinsey share insights on managing the cold chain in potatoes to minimize quality issues, or downloading the new ‘Eye on Potatoes’ podcast where Kerwin Bradley talked about the importance of research in the industry.  I got to be a part of several customer meetings with the Sales teams where we discussed everything from day-to-day activities to year-over-year strategies.  I also took part in visiting with key venders such as John Deere, Mayo Manufacturing and Hanson-Rice about the next implement, conveyor, facility or service that will add efficiency to the operation. 

All-in-all, there’s so much to be excited about, the possibilities are limitless, the future of the potato industry is bright and Black Gold Farms in smack-dab in the middle of it.