The 3i Show is changing its date - moving back to its roots as a spring exhibition.

Western Kansas Manufacturers Association President Eddie Estes announced the move Tuesday. Results of a survey sent out to farmers, exhibitors and others indicated March would be the best time to attend the show.

The new dates - just six months after the closing of the 63rd annual show in October - will be March 22-24.

The farm economy has been struggling the past few years after hitting record-high commodity prices in 2013. Estes said the hope is the date change will be a better time for farmers and ranchers to attend.

“Doing the right thing for the exhibitors and their customers continues to be our focus, especially during these turbulent times in the ag industry,” Estes said. “Our goal with the new March dates is to provide a more convenient time for farmers and producers to be able to step away from their daily duties and connect with exhibitors showcasing innovative products and services that can assist them.”

3i Show officials have been working to find the perfect date for the past few years. For decades, the event alternated years at Garden City and Great Bend. Over the years, the show occurred in April, then moved to May.

But the show then conflicted with a busy May that included planting season. In 2012, the 3i Show moved to a permanent location at Dodge City, and the date changed to July. In 2015, the show moved to October.

Estes said they were “trying to find out the best possible dates for them so they could attend. We are doing everything we can to do the right thing for exhibitors and customers. That is our focus and has been for a long time. In these particular times, we are doing everything we can for people to attend and exhibitors to exhibit."

The 3i Show is a showcase for the latest in industry, implements and irrigation. Back in 1949, when the 3i Show was a traveling caravan, the latest technology was open-aired tractors - machines like the John Deere B and the McCormick-Deering WD 9. Those innovations brought Kansans out to the forerunner of the state's biggest farm show. The official show began in 1953 in Hays, then skipped a year in 1954.

Later, the show rotated between Great Bend and Garden City. 

The 3i Show will continue to be the Western State Bank Expo Center in Dodge City. Show hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Estes said.

The event is free to the public. Meanwhile, show officials are now taking reservations for exhibitor space.

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