The 2012 Commodity Classic surpassed all previous turnout records with a total of 6,014 attendees.

This represents a 25 percent increase from last year’s record of 4,826 attendees. Once again, farm families represented over half of the participants, with 3,505 growers, spouses and children attending.

“We broke records in every category,” said Commodity Classic Co-chair Martin Barbre.

“However, the most exciting number was beating last year’s record of first-time attendees by 48 percent. It’s very gratifying to see that Commodity Classic’s appeal continues to grow.”

This year’s show also experienced the highest number of exhibitor and media attendees. The 963-booth trade show was sold out with a waiting list of interested parties ready to take advantage of cancelations. 

The only national agricultural convention and trade show put on by farmers for farmers, Commodity Classic is presented annually by the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Sorghum Producers.

In his third appearance before General Session attendees, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the importance of an adequate crop insurance program and creating a greater understanding in government of the real world impact of regulations on farming operations. He spoke ardently about passing the farm bill this year.

“It’s important for all of you to get engaged in this opportunity to support the leaders of the commodity groups as they express on your behalf the need for a farm bill now,” said Vilsack, “and not to accept from members of Congress or the Senate how hard this is going to be and how difficult it is to get consensus in Washington.”

The General Session also included discussions with commodity group presidents and an entertaining performance by comedy duo Brinnon and Marks.

The Evening of Entertainment featured an exclusive performance at the Grand Ole Opry by country music artists Darryl Worley, Mike Snider, Joey+Rory, John Conlee and Sarah Darling.

Other events included association banquets, education sessions and numerous networking opportunities.

Next year, Commodity Classic will be held Feb. 28 to March 2 in Kissimmee, Fla.