Farmer Iron

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Turning a farm field into a show site is still a hoot, though we're more sophisticated these days.

The Farm Progress Events team (we used to call them the show staff, but they do more than that these days) was hard at work last week near Cannon Falls, Minn. That's where they turned an excellent field of alfalfa hay at Hernke's Inc. into a full-fledged, high-tech farm show focused solely on hay and forage making.

The 25th anniversary Hay Expo went off without a hitch, though high winds and record high temps the two days before the gates opened made it tough for exhibitors to set up. But in the end they set up a super show with a lot of great equipment to see at work.

Turning a farm field into a show site was a mainstay at this company for 50 years, but times change and we've changed with them. Today, we've cooperated with groups in Iowa and Illinois to create two world class show sites we can return to in alternating years - and we've taken some of the guess work out of putting on a show. You know, the guess work that says "is it going to rain?" "can we park cars here if we get a deluge?"

Our events team remains expert at moving things into place, managing exhibits and getting stuff done so visitors only see what they want to see - the latest in equipment and technology. Visitors don't know about how equipment arrives, what has to be staged and where. It's all about the magic of the show. And as they say in the Wizard of Oz - "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

We already knew a permanent site could take a lot of weather pressure, our experience at the Husker Harvest Days site proves that. So Decatur and Boone become the home of the Farm Progress Show and we move ahead.

This, in a way, is old news, but worth retelling as we finish Hay Expo and start gearing up for the 2011 Farm Progress Show where visitors will find well-groomed facilities, air conditioned bathrooms, paved roads and a farm show operation that can take rain and still be open for business. These days, exhibitors demand that kind of service and we want to oblige. Our visitors are happy too.

So, as I put away my dusty show boots for now, I start to get excited we're just 10 weeks from Farm Progress Show, and the Events Team is already hard at work getting ready. They've fired up the Interactive Show Map for the show allowing you to plan your visit. Just sign up, sign in, and the system will make sure you see all you need to see when you stop by Aug. 30, 31, or Sept. 1. And we've added a concert this year - Rodney Atkins will sing Wednesday night, Aug. 31. Learn more about Rodney Atkins at the Farm Progress Show..

If you're planning on coming to the Farm Progress Show or Husker Harvest Days, line up your rooms now (if you're overnighting at the event). You can learn more about where to stay at each show's website.

Major equipment makers have already indicated there will be plenty of new tools and equipment on hand - and a lot of it will be on display for the first time anywhere. So make plans to attend.

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