Another year of Husker Harvest Days is down. The show had the usual variances in weather conditions, huge crowds, good folks, useful information and connections being made between producers and the businesses that serve them.
All in all, it was a great learning experience, as always, for everyone involved. I know that I came home with a few useful tidbits from the show, some new things that I didn’t know before.
1) If you have any interest in irrigation in the U.S., you need to be at Husker Harvest Days. I don’t care where you operate, irrigators of all sizes, geographic locations and scope need to attend HHD. Nebraska is the irrigation state without a doubt. But center pivot companies are not the only irrigation support businesses attending HHD. You can learn about everything from pivots, to subsurface drip, to gravity flow, to electronics, communication, data, flowmeters, water conservation practices, tires and drought-tolerant genetics at HHD. If you need to investigate an aspect of irrigation or water use for your farm or ranch, HHD is the place to be. Period.
2) Cattle-handling can be safe and quiet. Lexington area veterinarian, Dr. Joe Jeffrey, has been entertaining Husker Harvest Days audiences for years at the live cattle-handling demonstrations held each day. That’s not the news. When you listen to Dr. Joe tell stories about the first year live cattle-handling was held at HHD, or about some of his close calls practicing veterinary medicine out in the fields, pastures and barns over the years, you realize how far cattle processing equipment has come. Modern chutes demonstrated at HHD are not only much safer for the cattle, but also for the handler. It is a far cry from the days on our farm when we had to tie up a sick critter to a fence with a rope halter, and take our chances at restraining the animal long enough to treat them. It was more difficult for the animal, and much more dangerous for the farmers involved. We’ve come a long way, baby.
3) Weather at Husker Harvest Days, like weather across Nebraska, can be unpredictable. Really! Conditions at this year’s show included a very hot Tuesday, a very wet Wednesday, and a Thursday that was as near to perfect “weatherwise” as you could ask for. Most folks traveling to the show are pretty flexible, and plan ahead to attend an outdoor farm show. They are ready for anything. I was fine with hot and perfect, but the wet conditions, admittedly, caused me a few headaches. My old red minivan is great for hauling kids around, loading feed and for traveling around the state for interviews for Nebraska Farmer. However, it is not very good in a little mud. The wet conditions on Wednesday of the show didn’t cause many problems for farmers or exhibitors with other vehicles. Sure, it was a little muddy, but nothing folks couldn’t handle. But, my van was another story. It is absolutely helpless in the mud. So, I thank Nebraska Farmer editor Don McCabe, a borrowed sand shovel and three HHD workers who graciously helped me get down the road. Next year I’ll pack my own shovel, just in case.
4) One of the great aspects of Husker Harvest Days is the ability for farmers to interact and connect with the industry folks they rely on in their operations. It is an opportunity to not only look at new equipment, but also to ask questions, become more informed, and to put a face with the folks you might talk with on the phone or converse with over Internet. HHD also provides a place to meet and greet farmer representatives from nearly every key commodity group, breed association and farm or conservation organization working in the state. And don’t forget the fine folks with University of Nebraska Extension who offered a great look at one of the state’s greatest resources, water, at this year’s show.
Here is this week’s discussion question. Name something you learned at Husker Harvest Days this year? You can share your experiences and thoughts right here.
Be sure to check out Nebraska Farmer online for the latest news on the growing and grazing season. You can read my new print column – Bow Creek Chronicles – in Nebraska Farmer magazine, or follow Husker Home Place on Twitter. And watch this blog the first Friday of every month for my “Field Editor’s Report” featuring the positive stories about the families who raise our food. Pass it on!