Last week I attended the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA, which was my second agricultural equipment show in the past month, after attending Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, NE in September. These events are an opportunity to meet current customers, potential Amerityre distributors, and most importantly plenty of farmers and other agricultural industry professionals. Both shows are “the event” for the agriculture industry in their respective geographical areas.
I enjoy both of these shows because they have a very distinct “country fair” feel to them. Many of the attendees make it a family outing; it is not unusual to see three generations of a family walking the show together. For me, it is a reminder of a time where personal interaction with others was much more valued and prevalent than today where cell phones and email are much more prevalent. The food at these shows is outstanding and the food booths are almost all run by local school or other non-profit organizations, and I have been told by volunteers manning these booths that these shows represent their largest fundraising activity of the year.
I find the shows useful to Amerityre because they give us an opportunity to interact with many end users over a condensed 3 day period. My approach to these shows is less about selling and more about education. I find that many people that stop at our booth have no familiarity with Amerityre products or Amerityre as a company. Since our products have significant performance advantages over competitor products in their respective categories, I believe that we are better served answering individual questions and explaining how Amerityre products are the best solutions for their particular applications. Our featured product at these shows is our flat-free pivot tire for pivot irrigation systems. Our pivot tire is made of polyurethane elastomer segments and provides in my opinion the best value in the pivot tire market. We have been in the pivot tire market for 6 seasons now, and the feedback we receive from our customers using our pivot tires is that the track width and depth is equivalent or better than that produced by the pneumatic tires they replaced. And, of course, you are guaranteed that Amerityre pivot tires will never go flat! We also had many inquiries about our lawn mower, wheel barrow, and golf cart tires.
Since we talk to so many people at these shows, I also use these shows as an indicator of demand for farm equipment and the expected level of spending by farmers for the upcoming year. Based on my conversations, I think this upcoming year will be similar to the year 2017. The consensus seemed to be that spending on equipment will not pick up until the price of corn reaches $5 per bushel (it currently sits around $3.60 per bushel). That said, I believe that those farmers who need to replace pivot tires will be looking for the best overall value when making a decision on what pivot tire to purchase. After spending some time with us during the shows and having the opportunity to ask questions and see our pivot tire, I believe that many of these farmers will seriously consider Amerityre when making purchase decisions in the coming months.
We also were fortunate to get some feedback as to what types of products our visitors would like Amerityre to develop to solve some of their current challenges. This feedback will be used to provide direction to our research and development activities. We continue to work on programs for modified tire design and improved product formulations. We hope to have new product news to share in the coming months.