Fall is here, and that means one thing… The World Ag Expo is just around the corner. This time of year is especially exciting as we begin to ramp up for the February show. You may not know it by driving by, but the staff at the International Agri-Center is busy planning and preparing what promises to be another exciting show.

I have experienced quite a few shows during the past 21 years of volunteering, and the most thrilling aspect is always how the staff and volunteers find new and exciting reasons for our attendees to return. We will celebrate our 42nd anniversary this year, and from what I hear, the staff and exhibitors have new and exciting ideas planned.

Nearly all of the big-name exhibitors have already locked down their spots on the grounds to ensure that they won’t miss out. Toyota Motors Company will be back again this year with their “Prove it Challenge.” If you haven’t had an opportunity to drive the Tundra 4x4 yet, I recommend that you take the opportunity to drive one at the 09 Expo.

We are also in the process of redesigning our website, which allows us to better communicate our message to exhibitors and attendees as we get closer to the show. There will be a number of exciting added features this year, but the one that excites me the most is “Map Your Show.” This feature allows you to take a virtual tour of the showgrounds before the Expo opens. It also allows you to make an agenda for the exhibitors you want to visit with and, most importantly, to plan out where you’re going to have lunch.

It’s an honor to be included in the group of World Ag Expo Chairmen who have served before me. The names and custom hats that line the wall in the administration office are proof of the rich tradition and history that this organization has developed. I think I am most excited to see familiar faces as the volunteers from all over the community come back to the showgrounds. I find myself spending more and more time every year thinking about how proud I am to be a member of this organization.

I look forward to visiting with you at the 2009 World Ag Expo.

Paul Simon