HANOVER, Germany (DTN) -- The Agritechnica ag machinery show in Hanover, Germany, featured nearly 3,000 exhibitors and tens of thousands of different products. Huge crowds swarmed all the things one might expect: a new electric tractor, fresh ideas for autonomy and an interesting approach to aerial drones.
The hottest item at the show, however, didn't come with wheels or tracks. Its hydraulic performance was nonexistent, and it didn't record even one bit of yield data.
It did, at least, come in green.
The hordes at Agritechnica just had to get a look at the green Fendt sneakers for sale at the German manufacturer's display on the festival grounds.
There was plenty available to purchase at the booth, from hats to T-shirts, from a Fendt-themed Advent calendar to an ugly Christmas sweater, complete with a reindeer-drawn tractor. The sweater would set you back $49, and a thick, dark green winter coat cost $162. Those shoes -- green and white with "Fendt" emblazoned on the side -- cost $173.
"They are limited edition," a clerk offered.
A long line of fans clamored in front of her for their chance at the cash register the way music fans might jockey for T-shirts and posters after an epic concert.
The machinery rules the day at Agritechnica, but the apparel shops have plenty of fans of their own. Every major manufacturer had at least some of their considerable display square footage set aside for shirts, hats and trinkets. That's not unusual for farm shows on either side of the Atlantic, but the passion and sometimes the products was.
There was a small, plastic pedal tractor at Steyr, the Austrian tractor manufacturer, for $86. Case IH offered a gleaming 1/16 scale model of a Farmall 806 for $177, and Germany's Deutz-Fahr tractor company had a hearty winter jacket of its own for $250.
Coats like that, even expensive ones, often proved among the best sellers.
The top two selling items at JCB were jackets, and the buyers were mostly customers who'd usually previously purchased more than clothing from the company.
"Probably nine out of 10 say they have JCB equipment at home," said Nicole Fitzgerald, overseeing the British manufacturer's retail shop Tuesday afternoon.
But branded versions of nearly every product imaginable ended up on store shelves at Agritechnica. Lemken, another German tractor company, offered small wooden insect houses for $8.70, a metal lunch box for $16 and bath towels for $27.
Not every product had quite the crowd of the limited-edition Fendt sneakers, but nearly every retail booth had a line and eager customers, people from around the world excited to show off their lifestyle in style.
"They want to show their support for agriculture," said JCB's Fitzgerald, pausing between a rush of customers. "It's important to them to show off their way of life because you do agriculture all day, every day."
Joel Reichenberger can be reached at Joel.Reichenberger@dtn.com
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