For the first time in four years, the Farm Progress Show will once again be held in Iowa this year, and specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are excited about the return.
The 2020 show was slated for Iowa but was canceled due to the COVID pandemic. Iowa State’s exhibit will span nearly 6,000 square feet, showcasing the latest in agricultural research and technology.
“The show is a place to show off what Iowa State is doing in research and extension and the great people who we have in our college,” said Kendall Lamkey, chair of the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State, and co-chair of the university’s planning committee.
Lamkey will be at the show all three days, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, helping answer questions about agronomy, the growing season and anything else on farmers’ minds. Iowa State will have staff and displays pertaining to nine key content areas: water quality, weeds, plant health, digital ag, farmland ownership trends, weather and climate, monarchs, carbon and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“The Farm Progress Show is one of my favorite outreach events throughout the year,” said Lamkey. “We try to make our displays interactive and educational, and the best part is, we have knowledgeable staff on the grounds, interacting with people face to face.”
Lamkey said the planning committee at Iowa State tries to select topics that will be on people’s minds, and with so much changing in agriculture the past few years, there will be a lot to talk about.
Commodity prices and farm inputs are all up significantly, along with farmland values and cash rents. Farmers are also facing ongoing challenges from supply chain issues, and weather and climate events.
One of the newly updated exhibits will be the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. Conducted annually by sociologists with Iowa State, the poll measures rural perspectives about farming and issues of importance to farmers. This display will also feature results of a recent farmland ownership survey, which will show how much Iowa farmland is rented versus owned, and the demographics of who actually owns Iowa farmland.
“Many people don’t understand how farmland in Iowa is actually owned and the impact that can have on how the land is farmed,” said Lamkey.
Also new this year, Iowans will get to learn more about the Iowa Environmental Mesonet – a weather and climate tool that helps farmers track soil temperature in their county, as well as precipitation and soil moisture.
Traditional displays like the weed, plant health and monarch exhibits, will give visitors the chance to test their skills at identifying common weeds and insects, and how to keep both under control.
A team of carbon market specialists will provide updates about carbon credit markets, contracts and farming practices that can help mitigate and sequester carbon. The team will also provide copies of recent extension publications related to carbon markets, what is known so far and what is still being explored.
“We are excited for the return of the Farm Progress Show this year,” said Jay Harmon, associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director for agriculture and natural resources with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Extension is in the people business and we strive to have a positive impact on Iowa through our relationship with farmers to help them make key decisions, not only for profitability, but on the environment, labor issues and technology selection, all of which are important to the state.”
Show director Matt Jungmann said holding the show in Iowa is a bit like a homecoming for himself and several of his staff, who graduated from Iowa State. Jungmann earned a bachelor of science degree at Iowa State in 1997.
“Several of our Farm Progress Show team members are Iowa State alums, so we’re always happy to come home and see such a great display,” he said. “It’s educational and informative, and a great representation of what extension does across the state and beyond.”