Farmer Iron
5 lessons from this year's farm shows

5 lessons from this year's farm shows

Two shows, six excellent weather days and a few thoughts for the fall.

Regular readers know I enjoy attending farm shows, mostly because I get to look at a lot of new tools and equipment and keep up on what's happening in the industry. Just like you, we work hard to know what's going on so we can keep you informed.

This year, the two Penton-owned farm shows - Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days - had six great days for field demos. We can discussion sometimes what "great" means for Nebraska when cold and windy seemed to be more the norm - yet farmers got to see equipment run, which is a hallmark for both shows.

New tech is a great draw for a farm show, but there's more to it than that.

At Farm Progress Show, it felt like the best three weather days for a farm show in living memory…really. Not too hot, not too cold, it was like living in a Goldilocks farm show dream. Enjoyable for sure. And with all that time at the show  I learned a few things. Here's my list of five things I picked up from the shows.

1 Tech still draws

Even with $3 corn and $10 soybeans (and I know the cash price can be lower - thank you basis), farmers like to look at new stuff. Consider those robot tractors and the attention those got. Or how about the Tribine and its draw to the demo field? And while it's nice to make the trip to a farm show too see new things, I saw a fair amount of in-depth conversations going on in many exhibits. You  know equipment wears out, or that new technology is needed. Keeping up is very important.

2 Innovation rules

Beyond tech, we saw a fair share of innovations. Whether you're talking new single-auger carts from Kinze or advancements in sensor technology at Climate Corp., there was plenty to see. Add in new tech like Disease Shield from Dekalb or Qrome from DuPont Pioneer, and farmers will have a range of new tools for future growing seasons. Agriculture is a moving target and companies are doing their best to strive for higher yields.

3 Exhibitors innovate too

There are people at all companies that exhibit at a farm show who are responsible for making their exhibits work. They look for new ways to show off machines, develop arena shows, and create ways to entice you in. From an LED light tunnel from the aforementioned Climate Corp., to the information-filled stage at the Case IH exhibit, companies look at ways to draw you in.

We enjoyed the Syngenta exhibit at the Farm Progress Show. Designed in a circle with information-filled stations where you stopped to learn about disease control, atrazine use and more. Visitors had a card, and you got a stamp or sticker at each station. Present your full card at the end of the circle, get a coupon for a beverage at Syngenta Square near the Annex. Interesting idea for sure.

4 Arriving early still matters

No matter the show, when you push that many people into one area at a time, traffic can be a challenge. We applaud the solid results of the Iowa State Patrol and the Nebraska State Police for their superb work at traffic management for each show. But the funnel is only so wide, and there can be backups. This year we didn't see that too much, but we're still advising early arrival so you're in and on the ground when gates open. Besides, I've found that when you're on the grounds early, you kind of have the place to yourself (until everyone catches on!) for a short time.

5 Everyone stops

Each morning these two shows open with the playing of the National Anthem - in fact all the big fall farm shows do. It's stunning to see golf carts stop, exhibitors and visitors turn to the nearest flag (and on show sites there are a few) and listen to that great song. This election year seems more divisive than most, but when we all stop and respect the national anthem, it shows different is good but we're all in this together.

I realize there's one more fall farm show in my future as I head to Sunbelt Ag Expo in October. I'm looking forward to the event. And I know I'll see more of the new tech and innovation that drives agriculture. A good time will be had by all.

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