The History of West Central Ag Sales Association

The club was started in 1977 through the efforts of Garland Reeves, a salesman for Elanco. It began as a social club for feed salesmen. The gathering was similar to meetings of the Northwest Feed Manufacturers Association of Minneapolis. a group of Ag associated people who meet to discuss problems and concerns. Reeves was quoted as saying “We started just to have a social type of get-together with the idea that any concerns that came up... we could keep ourselves current by inviting speakers and also give us a chance to socialize and be educated at the same time.” As membership grew in the organization people from ag education, communications, sales and management took an interest in the club. Other developments started taking more of the clubs time.

To reflect the changing nature of the organization, it's name was changed to West Central Ag Sales Association and focused on promotion of agriculture and supporting agriculture students and their educational programs.

History of the West Central Ag Sales Association Annual Ag Show

During the late fall of 1980, an idea was suggested by Bill Patton, SEECO Sales Manager, that Willmar would be a good site for a farm show. After some discussion, it was decided that the fledging organization would tackle the farm show project.

Obstacles to be overcome included no experience in operating a farm show, no site, what to charge, but the WCASA members rose to the challenge. The National Guard Armory was selected as the site for the 1st and hopefully Annual Winter Farm Show to be held in March of 1981. All the work for the first show was completed by club members, from taping the booth spaces on the Armory floor with masking tape, to exhibitors muscling their displays in place.

The first show featured about 65 booths, displaying primarily agricultural products and services. Approximately 2000 farmers visited that 1st Winter Farm Show, and to the relief of the WCASA members, the show was a resounding success! Based on a survey of the exhibitors at the first show, the WCASA decided that there definitely would be a 2nd Winter Farm Show in 1982.

March 1982 found the WCASA returning to the National Guard Armory for its 2nd Annual Winter Farm Show. The second show demonstrated that the West Central Minnesota area definitely was willing to support a quality Farm Show that featured products and services required by farmers. Club members and exhibitors suggested changing the Show to allow for larger booth size, increased parking, and perhaps more exhibitor space.

It was definitely decision time for the membership of the WCASA. The site of the first two farm shows was absolutely at capacity; unless a new site was located, the show size and parking could not be rectified.

Once again the WCASA members rolled up their sleeves and met this new challenge head on. After an exhaustive search, the Willmar Civic Center was selected as the new site for the Winter Farm Show. The Civic Center offered a tremendous challenge as far as increased booth space and potential for the Winter Farm Show. The 3rd Annual Winter Farm Show featured twice as many booths and exhibitors as the previous two shows. The booth size was increased, the scope of the show was widened dramatically, and attendance at the show mushroomed to about 4,500 attendees. The WCASA Winter Farm Show has continued at the Civic Center site and the 30th Annual Show was held in 2010.


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