The FTMTA Show ... 30 years a-growing
The FTMTA Show stands out as the sector's flagship event as it marks a big anniversary, writes Derek Casey
The FTMTA Farm Machinery Show marks its third anniversary when the sector's flagship event comes to Punchestown from Thursday to Saturday this week.
The Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association is one of the longest established trade bodies in the country, having existed in one form or another since 1913.
In February 1989, the first Farm Machinery Show was held in the RDS in Dublin, as a reaction to growing dissatisfaction by the trade with the existing exhibition facilities.
This was a major development by the Association, and was vindicated by the success of the event, which attracted some 9,000 visitors, with over 90pc of the exhibition space filled.
The next show in 1991 built on those solid foundations, with the attendance rising by 2,000. By 1993, the figure was up to 13,500, and the event was firmly established in the machinery sector's calendar.
The growth of the show over following years presented challenges, with traffic congestion in Dublin and rising demand for exhibition space prompting a move to the Punchestown Event Centre in 2003.
The addition of a second permanent exhibition building at Punchestown in 2011 further enhanced the facilities, as did the erection of the Hunt Stand in 2018.
The three-day event brought in 21,000 visitors in 2017, and this week's edition will be the biggest yet, with 170 individual exhibitors across more than 200 distinct exhibits.
Most of the leading manufacturers active in the Irish market will have a presence, with product experts on hand to speak with visitors.
The Show provides an opportunity for prospective buyers to view a comprehensive selection of competing machines of various types in comfort, and to access a depth of information not available at other events.
A new dimension has been added this year with 'Working Wonders', a competition that will select the tractor that most captures the public's imagination. The criteria are a matter for the voters but are likely to include the condition and presentation of the tractor as well as its suitability for the duties required of it.
Six finalists were selected online by public vote over recent weeks and will be displayed at the entrance to the Show.
Visitors will be able to cast their vote at the Working Wonders area as they exit.
The winner will be announced on the last day of the Show and will receive a voucher for €3,000 worth of tractor tyres from FTMTA member firm and long-time exhibitor Agrigear Ltd of Bailieborough, Co Cavan.
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