"I'm going crazy," one of my colleagues said, trying to catch some breath
at the Reed Business booth at EuroTier. "I need to have blinkers on, I see so
many places I want to go to. If I stop at all booths that seem interesting, I'll
never complete my programme!"
I nodded and knew what she meant. There was something funny about this year's EuroTier, in Hanover, Germany, held 11-14 November. It's difficult to explain, but perhaps the word ambivalence comes closest. Ying and Yang were sitting neatly together, it was an odd mixture of optimism and pessimism.
It had started out with Per Bach Laursen, president of the European Pig Producers. Right at the first evening in Hanover, he spoke to his audience, remembering all those present of the harsh times ahead and the number of producers in Denmark that is supposed to quit business in 2009 due to the feed crisis and the financial crisis…
Only to continue to say he was an optimistic man and wanted to say positive things and so on.
Next on the list, one day later, was Carl-Albrecht Bartmer, president of the organising German Agricultural Society (DLG), at the exhibitor party during the official opening of EuroTier.
He managed to squeeze expressions like 'Bevölkerungswachstum' (population growth), 'neue Knappheit' (new scarcity) and 'gigantische Aufgabe' (enormous task) in one speech together with 'Obama-Euforie' (no translation needed), adding "yes, we can!"
Even in the alleys of the large multiple pavillion-complex, the ambiguity could be felt. Having had no major international agricultural show in Western Europe in 2008, the numbers of exhibitors and visitors alike greatly surpassed any previous edition.
Despite – or perhaps owing to – the reality of a crisis, producers and companies together presented a huge turnout in Hanover.
How to describe the atmosphere, I wondered, while walking into the booth of a German equipment company. Did you have a good show so far, I enquired, and the lady talking to me shook her head fiercely. "No! Especially between nine to two it was absolute madness," she replied, her eyes still widened and amazed.
"I didn't have a single moment for even a very short break."