The inaugural Iowa Power Farming Show was held at the Des Moines Coliseum in Des Moines, Iowa in 1910. The show, held in conjunction with the Iowa Implement Dealers Association’s annual conference, featured 50 exhibitors, with booths starting at $25.
Eight years later a record 43 varieties of tractors were on display. Reported to be “the finest and most comprehensive exhibit of modern farm equipment ever shown in the Middle West,” nearly 800 farmers and 200 dealers attended the show.
During the late 1920s the farm show moved out of Des Moines to Ames, where it was held at the Armory from 1926-1928. In 1929, it moved to the new Memorial Auditorium in Cedar Rapids and in 1930 to the new Marshalltown Municipal Coliseum. The farm show returned to Des Moines in 1931 where it was held at the Kirkwood Hotel for several years. It returned to the newly renovated Des Moines Coliseum in 1937.
World War II brought the Iowa Farm Show to a standstill in 1942. Ten years later the show made its return at the Hotel Savery. In 1957, the farm show moved to the newly constructed Veterans Memorial Auditorium, where it grew from 126 booths to a record 206 booths in just nine years. Show attendance also continued to rise, with nearly 10,000 farmers attending the 1968 show.
In 1994, the show expanded to include the Polk County Convention Complex, just a short walk through the skywalk south of Vets. It remained there until 2005, when the show added the newly constructed Hy-Vee Hall, conveniently located next to Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The following year, the show expanded across 3rd Street to include displays in Wells Fargo Arena, making the Iowa Power Farming Show the first event to utilize all three buildings of the Iowa Events Center. In 2011, Veterans Memorial Auditorium was completely renovated and renamed the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. This expansion allowed the show to add a third level of displays in the facility. In 2018, the lower level of Hy-Vee Hall was added.
In April, 2020 the show was renamed the Iowa Ag Expo to better reflect the evolution of agriculture and the ag show space. At one time, only ag equipment companies were allowed to exhibit at the Iowa show. Now the ‘PURE-AG’ expo includes the expansion of all ag-related products. Growers are hungry for knowledge and eager to adopt innovation and new technology and that is what they will find at this expo. The name change is also show management’s commitment to provide the best attendee and exhibitor experience possible.
Today, the expo is the 3rd largest indoor ag show in the United States and has nearly 700 exhibitors occupying 1950 spaces spanning 335,000 sq. ft. in 3 buildings. It is produced by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association.