By TIM ALEXANDER
RANTOUL, Ill. — Historic Gordyville USA – a two-arena, 160,000 square-foot exhibit facility founded by legendary auctioneer and horseman Gordon Hannagan and his wife, Jan – will host the Midwest Ag Expo Illinois (IMAE) when it returns to the Rantoul area Jan. 23-24.
Approximately 180 exhibitors showing the latest in precision agriculture, tillage, planting and other products and implements will be on hand, according to show manager Gary Manke of the Midwest Equipment Dealers Assoc., which sponsors the event.
“The uniqueness of this show lies with its exhibitors; they are all from farm communities,” said Manke. “The show isn’t located near any large cities; it is in the middle of farm country, where all of the attendees are located.”
Gordyville, which is equipped with food concessions, improved lighting and 40 acres of ground-level parking, is located approximately six miles east of Rantoul on State Highway 136. Aside from giving producers a chance to kick the tires of the latest, biggest and most expensive farm machinery, the expo also offers farmers free planting and investing advice from experts.
“We have commodity panel seminars on the first afternoon of the show – that has become a tradition of the IMAE,” Manke said.
Perhaps most importantly, the show offers an opportunity to check out tractors, combines and implements that are often disappearing from showroom floors, Manke explained.
“In the past four or five years, suppliers have cut their on-property inventory because of (costs),” he said. “At this show you will see products exhibited that usually leave here and head down to Louisville (for the National Farm Machinery Show) and to international shows. You’ll see the latest models that you often don’t see at a dealership.”
Some of the diverse regional exhibitors scheduled to attend the show include Altorfer Inc., Bobcat of Champaign, Birkey’s Farm Store, Inc., Central Illinois Scale, Illinois Trailer Sales, Linco Precision LLC, Prairieland Products LLC, Shaff Implement Co., Stine Seed Co. and West Lafayette Agri-Sales.
High-pressure washers, reconditioned forklifts, post frame buildings, auger drives, corn hybrids, light construction equipment, culverts and drainage tile, trailers and parts and crop insurance products will be among items displayed by vendors, in addition to the latest combines and tractors.
According to Gordyville management, the facility and the IMAE are great assets to the local rural economy, boosting sales in area restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores by 10 percent or more.
The show also improves the local hotel business.
The IMAE draws approximately 5,000 farmers and their families to the two-day event.
Doors open at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 23; the show concludes at 4:30 p.m. Hours of operation on Jan. 24 are 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.