The eyes of the agricultural world will be on the 54th Farm Progress Show, which kicks off Tuesday, Aug. 28 and runs through Aug. 30 in Decatur, Ill. It offers the largest collection of new farm equipment, technology and information you'll find in any one location.
Here are some highlights that you won't want to miss:
Fuels of the Future
A Back to the Future display explains the ethanol story - its past and future. This exhibit includes a replica fuel station from the 1930s and a futuristic fueling station projected for 2030. "We try to tell a neat old story that dates back 100 years to Henry Ford's Model T that ran on flex fuels," says Tad Whitten, who researched and designed the display. The display is accompanied by a live skit that explains the fuel and energy implications for vehicles and engines of the future. A line-up of 2007-08 model year E-85 and biodiesel vehicles are on display, too. It's an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see past, present and emerging future for fuels and engines.
FFA chapters will also be brewing fuel to run school buses.
The second-annual Farm Progress Show Inventors Challenge showcases 10 finalists with their inventions. Fifty farmers from around the country submitted photos and descriptions of their inventions. Sponsored by Roundup, a Monsanto product, the Inventors Challenge offers show visitors a chance to pick their favorite invention, which they can see in and around the Prairie Farmer Hospitality tent during the show. The top three winners will be named Thursday noon at the Hospitality Tent.
New Crop Technology
The Farm Progress Show has become known as the launching point for big iron. This year's show is be used by several crop technology companies to stage expanded, bold displays highlighting their new hybrid debuts.
Dow AgroSciences will announce a new herbicide tolerance trait and demonstrate it during the show. They will also showcase their other latest innovations including three new herbicides developed within their Technology for Traits portfolio, Herculex insect protection and Mycogen brand grain corn hybrids, silage-specific hybrids and supercede HE High energy hybrids.
Monsanto brings its impressive drought-resistant corn exhibit that debuted at the 2006 Farm Progress Show in Iowa, with some new dimensions. Several experimental products in the research pipeline are being grown on the show grounds in Decatur and producers will be able to view these new advances in crop technology during the show. The plots this year will feature nitrogen use-efficiency trait for corn as well as a breeding section showing the progression of hybrids and varieties. The Monsanto exhibit, the largest at the show and located on the southeast corner of the exhibit field, is marked by 21 flags from foreign countries representing visitors coming from those countries. Monsanto will also give aways its YieldGard VT semi-truck and grain trailer at the show on Wednesday.
Pioneer displays its latest crop technology inside Progress City. Experts will be on hand to discuss Pioneer's expanding line of triple-stack hybrids, plus their high-yielding ethanol hybrids. Pioneer plans to showcase their research developments, especially their soybean innovations.
Field demonstrations will be easily access, with trams operating from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Corn harvesting demonstrations will run daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tillage demonstrations from 2- to 3 p.m. Precision agriculture demonstrations will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Equipment, technology and more
Equipment manufacturers are going above and beyond this year with dozens of new product and technology introductions. Many of the major companies will roll out their new fall product introductions at the Farm Progress Show.
Agriculture's latest new equipment, guidance systems and other innovations are at the show. It's also an opportunity to see the latest tractors, combines and other equipment perform in field demonstrations. Crop protection companies are on hand, too, to answer questions about performance, options and new profit-making ideas for 2007 and beyond.
For those interested in test driving a new pickup, ATV or tractor, the show features several Ride n' Drive options. Located on the south side of the exhibit field, company representatives will ride along to answer questions and point out the unique features of their equipment.
Entertainment and relaxation
Stop by the Rural Life Tent for clean family comedy, cooking demonstrations, compact tractor Ride 'n Drive, health and wellness information or just to sit and relax for a minute. New this year—a western apparel fashion show featuring the latest styles for men, women and youths. For those interested in handmade crafts, the Rural Life tent hosts 30 artisans and crafters that display and sell their handiwork.
Wednesday evening, after the show closes, Tracy Lawrence and Tracy Byrd, two of country music's hottest acts, perform, starting at 5:30. Advance concert tickets are $12 or $15 at the gate. The concert is general admission, lawn seating (bring a lawn chair or blanket).
The show's Seminar Center offers a full schedule of daily programs to inform producers of the latest technology changes, marketing alternatives, management options, and ag industry updates. Arlan Suderman, Farm Futures market analyst, speaks twice daily on the upcoming battle for acres in 2008 and marketing implications for this year's crop.
Horses and cattle
The northeast corner of the Farm Progress Show exhibit fields hosts most of the livestock exhibits. The Livestock Industries Tent houses the cattle handling demonstrations twice each day as well as exhibits that carry products and information for the livestock producer.
The AQHA will offer visitors free test rides on 30 quarter horses, starting at 9 a.m. daily and running through the end of the day. Riders will watch a 5 to 10 minute safety demonstration, and ride for about 10 minutes.
Craig Cameron, a well-known horse trainer and favorite of Farm Progress Show visitors, will be back to give demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. In addition to Craig's horse training demonstrations, Rick Wheat will also be on hand to demonstrate his horse training product, the Noavel Headstall System, based on using pressure points on the animal. Horse training programs will be located in the round pen in the northeast corner of the show grounds between Ninth and 10th streets.
A number of displays and attractions will celebrate agriculture's heritage. The most notable is the massive antique equipment display along "Antique Row." A number of tractor restoration clubs are participating.
The Farm Progress Show, the "Super Bowl of Agriculture," features a 75-acre Progress City with more than 450 exhibitors and thousands of products from the top agribusinesses from across the country and around the world. Additionally, field demonstrations will give visitors the opportunity to see equipment in action during side-by-side operation of the latest harvesting, tillage and precision farm equipment.
The 2007 Farm Progress Show is located in west Decatur, south of I-72 and west of Richland Community College. The show exhibit field is open to visitors Aug. 28 to 30, from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and until 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission at the gate is $10 for adults, $3 for ages 13 to 17. Adult ticket discounts are available onsite. The public is welcome. For additional information, visit www.FarmProgressShow.com.