Agriculture reigns supreme at the Portland Expo Center for three days in late January as the 46th annual Northwest Agricultural Show takes center stage.
This year’s show features more than 200 exhibitors, three theme days, seminars, special exhibits and an expanded tasting area featuring locally produced beer and wine.
Opening day, Jan. 27, is FFA Day. Among highlights is the FFA Passport Program, an event open to the public that encourages attendees to get passport stamps at participating vendor booths and enter their passport at the FFA booth for a chance to win a big-screen TV.
Show manager Amy Patrick said she started increasing FFA activities several years ago after noticing participation among FFA members was dwindling.
“We really ramped up our support of FFA the last three years,” Patrick said. “Mostly because I was an FFA kid and it is such a natural fit for the show.”
The second day, Jan. 28, is Family Day, when families, regardless of size, can gain admission for just $20.
“I have personally seen families of nine and 12 come through the gates on one ticket,” Patrick said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Patrick said the impetus behind Family Day is to encourage participation among the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
“We’re trying to make it easier for folks to come up, bring the next generation, and keep them interested in farming,” she said.
The show stays open until 8 p.m. on Family Day, providing an opportunity for those who work late or have children in school to attend.
The closing day, Jan. 29, is Free Parking Day. “We are paying for the parking for everyone who attends on Thursday as a way to say thanks,” Patrick said.
The day also will focus on small acreage farms with seminars from Black Dog Farmstead.
“The small-farm theme came up because of what I’m seeing in my local area,” Patrick said. “Farm kids, like me, who may have come from larger production backgrounds, now are living on small farms.
“My husband and I have 20 acres,” she said. “It is not a production farm, but we want to make sure we are using our acreage to the best of our abilities and to the most profitability as well.”
Each day also features several hours of seminars, with sections on horticultural crops, nursery crops and small farms. And Oregon OSHA will provide four hours of training each morning on how to safely use and store pesticides.