The 2008 Farm Progress Show takes place next week, Aug. 26 - 28, at the new multi-million dollar Central Iowa Expo facility in Boone, Iowa. The 55th annual show ushers in a grand new era of Farm Progress Shows to be held in Iowa.
The nation's largest outdoor farm show's 106-acre expo facility will host more than 500 exhibitors showcasing the best and latest products for American and international producers to evaluate and purchase. This year’s show presents more exhibitors and new features compared to its recent Iowa shows including expanded precision and strip-till demonstrations and product introductions of combines, tractors, utility vehicles and crop trait technologies.
This past weekend show staff, host farmers, exhibitors and a team of crop experts determined the field corn intended for combining demonstrations will not be ready for the first two days of the show due to delayed crop maturity. A typical show has included corn combining and tillage field demonstrations. This year, Mother Nature forced a change in the schedule. Preparations are underway to provide access to field corn that could be suitable for harvest before the show ends and could provide one day of combining demonstrations on Thursday during the show.
"Every available technology and practice was used to give us an opportunity to harvest," says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national shows manager. "This year we couldn't out-maneuver the weather, which delayed planting and brought an unusually cool summer."
Expanded Precision and Strip-till Demonstrations
More than 40 acres are dedicated to precision and strip till demonstrations where growers can get behind the wheel of a tractor to learn about the latest GPS products, auto-steer and nutrient management application monitoring. Dozens of manufacturers will be on hand to demonstrate their products one-on-one with visitors and give them hands-on access to the hottest products in this equipment category.
Ride 'n Drive
One of the most popular show attractions is Ride 'n Drive events sponsored by pick-up truck manufacturers and an ATV company. Producers can take advantage of the special courses designed to showcase vehicle capabilities. Company representatives ride along to answer questions and point out unique product features.
The Latest Ag Technology
Everything that's new for the farm will be on display at the show and many manufacturers and suppliers use the show to introduce new products and product updates. Technology rapidly changes and every year farmers come to the show to view the latest big iron and investigate new crop genetics and crop protection product exhibits.
"Many major ag manufacturers use this venue to launch or introduce their new equipment and products,” said Don Tourte, advertising and shows director, at Farm Progress Cos. “It’s where farmers come to see, in one or two days, what's new for their businesses."
Seed Companies Display the Latest Corn and Soybean Varieties
Located directly behind the exhibits on 12th Street, also known as “Seed Row,” several companies will display the latest corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Without leaving the show site or seed company exhibits, visitors can walk out back of the exhibitors’ tents into their plots to review the new genetics.
Seed row isn’t the only show location to see the latest in hybrids and varieties. Monsanto at the south end of the grounds and Dow Agrosciences at the west end have plant material that has been growing since mid May.
Seed plots and farm show exhibits in general were changed with Monsanto’s 2006 exhibit at the Farm Progress Show in Amana. At that event, the idea of bringing the pipeline to the grower was introduced. Last year at the Decatur, Ill., Dow Agrosciences and Monsanto both put in plots within their exhibits, which gave growers the opportunity to view products that could change an operation in the years to come.
The 2008 planting and growing season set up a real “true to nature” test for corn and soybean varieties. A cool, wet spring followed by more cool and rainy weather in early summer put maximum stress on the plants. Seed and fertilizer companies worked through the difficult spring and around all of the construction activities of the show site to plant and care for the plots.
The third annual Farm Progress Show Inventors Challenge showcases 10 finalists with their inventions. Sponsored by Roundup Ready 2 Yield, a Monsanto product, this contest offers show visitors a chance to vote for their favorite invention, which they can see in and around the Wallaces Farmer Hospitality Tent during the show.
The show’s Seminar Center offers a full schedule of daily programs to inform producers of marketing alternatives, management options, family estate planning and ag industry updates. Arlan Suderman, Farm Futures market analyst, speaks twice daily on how to manage the opportunities and perils of election-year marketing. The center is located on 6th Street near the Wallaces Farmer Hospitality Tent.
Conservation Central Partnership
The one-stop Conservation Central Tent features 13 conservation agencies and organizations. Several of the tent's participating partners helped fund and install conservation practices at the show site, including stormwater management practices funded with a grant from the Dept. of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. Additionally, native grass plantings on the show grounds were funded by the Iowa Dept. of Transportation Living Roadway Trust Fund.
Program specialists will be on hand to answer questions on existing programs including the Conservation Security Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Iowa DNR’s Shelterbelt Program, the Forest Land Enhancement Program and the Wetland Reserve Program.
Livestock Handling and Horse Training
Cattle producers and horse enthusiasts will find the latest handling equipment, buildings, Animal ID information, horse training ideas and more in the southeast corner of the equipment field in and around the Livestock Industry Tent. During cattle handing demonstrations, visitors can see equipment at work in side-by-side comparisons of chutes, scales, portable fencing and pens.
Members of the Iowa Herding Dog Association will demonstrate the use and training of stock dogs at and each show day. They will also be available to answer questions related to training, breeding and selection of stock dogs.
The "Horse Whisperer" Craig Cameron will demonstrate his techniques for horse training and gentling. A native of Texas, Cameron has dedicated himself to helping riders increase their knowledge and understanding of their horses.
Authentic Chuck Wagon
The Loos Tales FoodLink Chuck Wagon team, anchored by Trent Loos, will hit the Farm Progress Show wagon trail to focus attention on the importance of technology in modern food production and the role of agriculture in providing national security. The team will discuss the innovations related to today’s production of meat, milk and eggs.
Chuck wagon “grub” will be ready for show visitors to sample at their exhibit at each day of the show, and cowboy music will be part of the exhibit’s festivities.
Antique Row, Crafts and Entertainment
A microcosm of yesterday's agriculture is on exhibit in the massive antique equipment display along “Antique Row.” Tractor restoration clubs from throughout the region are participating with their painstakingly restored tractors and equipment.
The Rural Life big-top tent provides ample seating and features day-long programming that features gardening, comedy syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin (Rubes), Annie's Project, historical presentations, and more. A Rural Life fashion show that will feature Western apparel for men, women and youths will be held in the tent, as well.
Many of the large-scale exhibitors provide entertainment on their lots.
In the Arts and Crafts tent, a wide array of artisans and crafters will display and sell their handiwork at the show.
U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer will attend the show Thursday afternoon. The show has long been a destination for local, state, regional and national political figures.
USDA Under Secretary Tom Dorr plans to attend the show on Wednesday. A member of his planning staff reports they are working with the local Rural Development office in Iowa and he plans to make an announcement at the show.
Easy Show Access
The show site's central Iowa location, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 17 and just west of Ames and Interstate 35, is close to major highways and a variety of hotels and restaurants. The Iowa State Patrol has been working with local law enforcement agencies and show staff to provide minimal traffic interruptions and is ready to handle the heightened traffic levels during the show.
The show exhibit field is open to visitors Aug. 26 and 27 from to and Aug. 28 from to Admission at the gate is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 13 to 17 and free for ages 12 and under. Adult admission tickets may be purchased in advance from the show's Web site at a 30% discount from the regular gate price (go to www.FarmProgressShow.com/discount. The public is welcome. For additional information, visit www.FarmProgressShow.com.
The Farm Progress Show will now rotate between the Boone site, known as the Central Iowa Expo, and its the other permanent biennial site in Decatur, Ill. at Progress City. Farm Progress and the two communities have committed to a 20-year contracts for the show.