Networking at the Farwest Trade Show, and any trade show, is one of the biggest advantages of attending. Even in this digital age where communication can happen in an instant, having the freedom to connect with someone face to face is oftentimes a better way to create business opportunities.
Luckily, networking and association are key aspects of the Farwest, and this year will highlight these opportunities in more ways than one. There are three distinct networking events arranged for this year’s show, as well as an entire weekend of possibilities to connect with people and create relationships.
The first of these networking events occurs from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the second floor VIP lounge in the Oregon Convention Center. This event is focused on representing and connecting youth in the nursery industry, and is hosted by the Young Nursery Professionals.
According to the USDA, the average age of farmers in the U.S. is 58, and farmers are among the oldest U.S. workers across any industry. Josh Robinson, a 28-year-old co-owner of Robinson Nursery, is an anomaly in this industry, Because of this he saw the need for a resource dedicated to younger industry members, and helped found the YNP.
“As the baby boomers are getting further along it is going to be harder to replace them with younger people,” Robinson said. “Essentially our goal is just to connect young people, start a network and accelerate the rate you can grow as an individual.”
The YNP invites attendees ages 40 and younger to participate in the meet-and-greet on Thursday. Sid Raisch, one of this year’s seminar speakers, will be presenting at the event. After the speech, there will be plenty of time for questions and time to mingle with the others who attend.
“That last little bit of the meeting is when friendships are really made,” Robinson said.
Later on Thursday will be the third annual Pub Crawl. Kicking off at 6:30 p.m., this event invites all attendees out into the eclectic brewery scene of Portland. Those who wish to participate can find a “beer sherpa” at the end of the show on Thursday and will be taken to the two participating breweries to enjoy some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest craft beers.
“It’s the first night of the show so it not only allows people to get to know someone but allows them more opportunities to begin relationships and foster them throughout, and of course after, the show,” said Allan Niemi, Oregon Association of Nurseries director of events and education.
The last networking event is the 4th annual Women in Horticulture meeting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug, 22, This is an opportunity for women attending the show to connect with other women in the industry and create relationships.
“Women are an underrepresented segment of this industry, so we thought it was important to provide an opportunity for the women to connect with each other,” said Ann Murphy, OAN director of marketing.