Press Release from the Oregon Association of Nurseries:
Portland, Oregon — The 2014 Farwest Trade Show concluded its three-day run (August 21–23, 2014) with exhibitors and attendees in an upbeat mood. While attendance did not meet raised expectations, falling just shy of last year, the mood of the exhibitors was upbeat, the quality of attendees was high, and the show added 50 new exhibitors.
“We had a great show,” said exhibitor Pete Brentano, owner of Brentano’s Tree Farm LLC in St. Paul, Oregon. “Traffic was really good. We felt the quality of the attendees was very high. I think people are out looking again. I never got out of my booth, hardly. That’s a nice problem to have.”
Jeff Stone is the executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the Farwest Trade Show for the benefit of the nursery industry. He expects the improved mood at the 2014 show is just the beginning of some sustained positive momentum that will not happen by accident.
“We’re merely in the first few years of a five-year plan for the Farwest Trade Show,” Stone said. “We’re not just hoping things get better. You don’t get things by hoping. You get them by planning and working.”
Show organizers have done market research and will use the results to develop new ways to improve and broaden the show’s appeal. The goal is to attract more nursery industry buyers, decision-makers and even organizations to Portland for the show.
This year’s show included a keynote presentation by globally-known horticulture expert John Stanley and appearances by others of an equally high caliber, including Dr. Michael Dirr, Dr. Allan Armitage and Kelly Norris. All of them gave well-received talks on how to point the green industry in a more innovative direction and embrace new opportunities.
The 2014 Farwest Trade Show also featured the successful debut of Equipment Innovation Day, which provided an opportunity for those attending to see innovative nursery equipment demonstrated in the field, and make head-to-head comparisons.
For the first time, show visitors also had the chance to walk the show floor with Dirr, Armitage and Norris for a personal tour of the newest and best plant selections on the market. This feature was particularly well received.
Next year, more innovation is in store at Farwest. For the first time, woody ornamental plant trials will take place during the show, in conjunction with the establishment of a new trial garden in Aurora, Oregon. For 2015 the International Trials Conference will take place during show week, as will a native plant experts’ gathering. All of this is intended to support the largest nursery trade show on the West Coast, and one that supports the industry back through education, advocacy and innovation. “We are proud of the relationship between our show and the industry, and the important role that each plays in ensuring the other’s continued success,” Stone said.
The association plans to dedicate additional resources to ensure the continued success of the Farwest Trade Show — and exhibitors such as Don Sprague of Garden Gallery Iron Works in Hubbard, Oregon said they appreciate the effort. “I think the show is run very professionally,” Sprague said. “Over the years I’ve done a lot of shows, and I would say that Farwest is one of the best.”
Planning and marketing efforts are already underway for the 2015 Farwest Trade Show, which will take place next August 27–29 at the Oregon Convention Center.
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The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), based in Wilsonville, represents more than 800 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon’s ornamental horticulture industry is among the state’s largest agricultural commodities, with annual sales of $745 million. Oregon’s nursery industry is a traded sector; nearly 75 percent of the nursery plants grown in Oregon are shipped out of state. For information, visit www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.
The Farwest Trade Show is produced by the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), a trade organization that represents and serves the interests of the ornamental horticulture industry. Any revenue realized by the OAN is reinvested into the industry through education, research, marketing support and government relations. For more information about the 2014 Farwest Trade Show, visit www.FarwestShow.com or call 503-682-5089.