A burst of colorful farm machinery is surrounded by demonstration fields at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone this week. The Farm Progress Show is attracting thousands of farmers, agronomists and agribusiness representatives. It’s an annual trade event that alternates between the Iowa site and Decatur, Illinois.
Luc Van Herle of Williamsburg-based Kinze Manufacturing says when you’ve got something new, this is the place to show it off. He’s rolling-out a hybrid planter that can plant two types of seeds at once. Using GPS technology, the farmer or a consultant can map the field to identify which seeds will be best for different areas.
“You’ll plant an aggressive variety of seed in the good-producing part of the field and a more defensive variety in the less producing field,” Van Herle said. “This is the first time ever that you can do that with one and the same planter, on the go, as you go.”
In addition to attracting Midwest farmers and people from around the United States, there are show attendees from about 60 different countries. Local, state and federal offices are collaborating this year to welcome them. Peggy Kerr with Iowa Economic Development says since 2000, international visitors to the three-day show have increased.
“Our goal is to make them comfortable here at the show,” she said, “make as many connections in Iowa as we possibly can, and provide support services to them while they’re at the show.”
Interpreters for Portuguese, Spanish and other languages were on hand to help people check in, find their show badges and, as necessary, accompany them to booths at the show. But some companies had planned presentations in languages other than English and Illinois Agritourism, a program of University of Illinois Extension, even had its printed materials available in languages other than English.
Organizers expect up to 150-thousand visitors to attend Farm Progress this year, though rain could diminish attendance.