September 11, 2019

AdFarm takes on the largest outdoor farm show in the US

By Rosie Thoni and Brett Wessler

If AdFarm’s appearance at this year’s Farm Progress Show was sponsored, it would probably be by sunscreen, running shoes, step-counting watches and bottled water.

AdFarmers Rosie, Brett and Cheryl took the breezy 6-hour drive from Kansas City to Decatur, Illinois, home (every other year) of the Farm Progress Show, the largest outdoor farm show in the U.S. and easily one of the largest in the world.

If you haven’t been yet, let us set the stage. More than 600 agricultural exhibitors over 90 acres of exhibit space from seed to agriculture equipment to data, featuring the best and newest agriculture has to offer. Field demonstrations showing where the rubber hits the road, or field in this case, and celebrity appearances from the likes of Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Media abuzz as they canvas the grounds for their next big story.

What did we see?

While the variety in companies exhibiting was vast, they all share the commonality of rolling out their very best at the Farm Progress Show. New product launches, exciting partnerships and ground-breaking contests were among the announcements we saw. Among them, one of the agriculture industry’s largest giveaways to date – the Great New Holland Haytools Giveaway – will be giving away five leading-edge haytools for a value of over $400,000 USD.

Many innovations highlighted at the show will allow producers to be more efficient in their production practices. Equipment on display from combines to balers promoted new mechanics to maintain a high-quality, high-output finished product with greater fuel efficiency and less wear on the equipment. Operator comfort was also an area of focus, because if you spend more time in the cab than you do in your bed, you should be comfortable.

Precision agriculture technologies continue to improve each year. Data collection and mapping are getting easier to interpret, store and share to achieve greater production. Drone technologies and field sensors are advancing sustainable farming practices by targeting pest infestations and applying crop inputs only where they are needed.

One of the most popular destinations at the Farm Progress Show was the hemp tent. Interest in hemp production has increased since the crop was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Booths, presentations and demonstrations in the tent shared production practices, market opportunities and end uses for the crop. As farmers consider whether hemp has a place on their farm, they’re continuing to collect as much credible information as they can to formulate a plan before entering this new market.

Next year, the Farm Progress Show will return to Boone, Iowa, where we can expect to see the same scale and quality of innovations for the western Corn Belt and Great Plains audience.

What did we miss?

Even after three 20,000+ step days, it’s impossible to see everything at a farm show. Did we miss anything you’d like to highlight? Or just want to chat about if farm shows are a good investment for your communications goals? Get in touch here.

Rosie Thoni is AdFarm’s U.S. PR and Content Lead, Canadian farm kid turned suburban Kansas dog mom, and resident AP Style nerd. 

Brett Wessler is an Account Manager in AdFarm’s Kansas City office. Outside of his lifelong career in agriculture, he spends his time running, skiing and spending time with family.