Survey shows annual meeting and trade show can improve profitability

A recent survey of attendees at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo found that participants reported improving their bottom line with information received at the Expo.

Each year many members of our agricultural and horticultural industries gather for meetings and trade shows that offer education, tools and information to help them in current and future endeavors. MSU Extension educators and faculty members together with Members of the Michigan Vegetable Council and Michigan State Horticultural Society spend many months planning the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo for the benefit of attendees from across the United States and Canada. In 2009, the planners asked the question, “What benefits does this program offer? Is it improving the bottom line for our farm and food industries?”

To answer this question a participant survey was utilized to determine the impact the annual Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo was having on participants who invest their time in attending this multifaceted event. Responses to the survey were obtained from 164 attendees and were analyzed by associate professor of horticulture, Dr. Mathieu Ngouajio. Results demonstrated that the time invested by growers to attend the EXPO was yielding outstanding results, well worth the time of organizers, educators and attendees.

Increased sales were the overwhelming positive change realized by participants who attended previous conferences. The next closest majority showed improved marketing, increased yields, better business management and increased quality. Of Expo participants, 94% have seen an increase in profitability due to information they received and 94% also indicated the educational programs they have attended allow them to conduct their business in a more sustainable manner.

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo, held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has become the premier show for fruit and vegetable growers and farm marketers in Eastern North America. Over 4,000 people from 41 states and ten Canadian provinces registered in 2010. Attendance is bolstered by the partnership of the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo which is offering 15 educational sessions this year in addition to the 60 session educational program for the produce industry.

The bottom line is, if you wish to improve your bottom line, plan to attend this year’s Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo and the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo.

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