Every year about this time I get busy working with the Farm Progress National Events team and various editors in the Midwest. We get together in person or by webinar to plan the editorial content for the official programs for two major farm shows.
You might think it wouldn't require much planning. After all, Husker Harvest Days is in the same location each year and the Farm Progress Show only rotates between semi-permanent sites in Iowa and Illinois. Sure, we could just re-hash last year's program. But then the programs could become boring and less interesting. As the executive editor for the programs, that would get me in trouble with the boss.
Our goal is to provide all the information anyone could want to know about the show, the community, the host state, local farmers, etc. Naturally, we start with the basics – location, directions, where to stay, etc. But, if we can put a new twist or use new graphics, etc., to make it more interesting, we will.
Virtually each year there is something new to focus on in the program – new, permanent buildings, infrastructure enhancements, updated demos, etc. For example, moldboard plows, which haven't been demonstrated at the FPS for decades, are back again this year at the show in Decatur, Ill. "We have several companies that will be showcasing newer versions of the implement your Grandpa used," notes Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national events manager.
These programs are quite popular with advertisers who want you to know what they will be showcasing at the events. That gives us even more space in the program – often a total of more than 100 pages. So, after the basics, we have space to play with some fun stuff. Trivia questions and what happened in history are examples. Photo "albums" from past shows are another. Folks tell us they often pass time on the drive to the shows by playing the trivia games – someone other than the driver is reading the questions!
These programs are not only made available as you arrive at the show but the Husker Harvest Days program is also inserted in the September issue of Nebraska Farmer and the Farm Progress Show program in the August issue of either Wallaces Farmer or Prairie Farmer. This gives our readers an opportunity to study the program and plan their time at the show to be most effective in seeing the exhibits and demonstrations most interesting to them.
But those who are tech savvy can also go to the web site and click on "Map Your Show". This will take you to an interactive map where you can set up your own personal planner for what you want to see at the show. Once you register, you can run your mouse over an exhibit and click on "My show planner" and it will be on your planner. You can go back to the site as often as you want an update it.
Try it out at www.farmprogressshow.com or www.huskerharvestdays.com