On a cool day in September 2006, the North Dakota Trade Office launched its first ever Big Iron International Visitors Program (IVP). Visitors from around the world traveled to West Fargo, ND to participate for the first time in four days of specialized events designed to build relationships between potential foreign buyers and North Dakota’s agricultural equipment companies. The Big Iron Farm Show is the region’s largest agricultural equipment trade show, welcoming farmers and ranchers to collaborate on all things agribusiness.
The Big Iron IVP arose from modest beginnings in 2006, with guests and equipment companies convening beneath a large tent on the Red River Valley fairgrounds during an unseasonable cold snap. In spite of the chilly weather, both equipment companies and international visitors remarked on the value of the program and high probability of sales. Today, potential buyers and sellers gather and hold meetings in the comfort of the Schollander Pavilion’s “International Pavilion” on the fairgrounds. North Dakota companies participating in the Big Iron IVP are given exclusive access to this room, which includes snacks, cold drinks, coffee, internet access and meeting space. NDTO provides foreign delegates with transportation to/from their hotel, the fairgrounds and all events, and interpreters to facilitate communication.
Many North Dakota companies are now well-versed in the Big Iron IVP’s productive days of manufacturing facility tours, buyer-seller receptions, field demonstrations and one-on-one meetings.
Since the Big Iron IVP began, the North Dakota Trade Office has hosted over 900 visitors from more than 20 countries. For 10 years now, the North Dakota Trade Office has worked with the U. S. Commercial Service in Fargo and all over the world to recruit serious buyers that are interested in our high quality equipment.
We’ve developed long lasting relationships with customers in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Romania, Uruguay, South Africa and more, and have welcomed visitors from new countries every year. Memorable moments and new friendships are created during each Big Iron IVP. We hope the last decade of Big Iron has been as interesting and valuable to our members as it has been to us.