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Ag Technology and Construction show under new ownership

Doug Sidwell, a one-time exhibitor at the annual Ag Technology and Construction Show, liked the trade show so much that he and his wife, Danette, ended up purchasing it.

"We were an exhibitor when I managed the downtown Shiptons," Sidwell said.

Over the years Sidwell had gotten to know Cynthia Berst, who founded the Ag Technology and Construction Show. At one point, Berst confided that she was considering selling the show. Sidwell decided to jump at the opportunity. The Sidwells formed D&D Productions last year.

The Ag Technology and Construction Show is held each January at the MetraPark Expo Center. The business-to-business trade show features more than 250 farm and ranch, construction, commercial and industrial exhibitor booths. Exhibitors host classroom seminars on their latest technology in the agricultural and industrial marketplace.

"Doug has an agriculture background, and like me, he's lived in Montana all his life," Berst said. "He's part of that heritage, and he's working to keep that culture alive."

Sidwell said he just returned from the Big Iron Farm Show in Fargo, N.D., and he's busy lining up exhibitors for the next Ag Technology and Construction Show, to be held Jan. 8-10, 2009.

"There's a huge amount of new things that I feel are quite beneficial to our local area," Sidwell said.

Trade show attendance is often a reflecton of fortunes in the agriculture and construction industry. Farmers are enjoying higher prices for wheat and other grains. Likewise, the commercial construction industry remains healthy in Billings, Berst said.

Berst said she is running another business, Bright Cat Productions Inc., which helps small businesses plan for trade shows.