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Attendees at the FPS Tyler Harris
PLAN AHEAD: This year hasn't been easy, but the Farm Progress Virtual Experience may be the best opportunity to start the planning process to hit the ground running in 2021.

In a year of challenges, take time to rethink, reassess

The past couple of years haven't been a cakewalk; consider your management strategies for 2021.

This year is one marked by challenge and change. COVID-19 has shaken the world, not to mention U.S. agriculture, to its core.

Meanwhile, dry conditions persist across much of the Great Plains, and even into parts of the central and eastern Corn Belt. When it comes to COVID-19, there are a number of factors outside our control — aside from taking proper social distancing steps. Many have instead chosen to focus on things they can control, and keep themselves occupied by new hobbies or various projects around the farm, ranch or home.

While those involved in production agriculture may be better suited to outdoor projects and inherent social distancing than those living in urban or suburban areas, there is still a void left when a major farm show is canceled — in our case, both Husker Harvest Days and the Farm Progress Show.

It recently was announced that Farm Progress will be hosting a live, virtual event Sept. 15-17, called the Farm Progress Virtual Experience. While it's true that watching new combines in the field on a screen may not be the same as seeing it in person on the ground, the event will offer an opportunity to see the latest equipment in action, as well as a chance to interact with exhibitors.

Producers in the western Corn Belt look forward to Husker Harvest Days near Grand Island, Neb., every year. And even though the in-person event isn't happening this year, the virtual event still offers a chance to see machines in the field. This won't just be static equipment sitting in the field.

You'll get to see hay equipment, combines, tillage and cattle chutes in action on screen from multiple camera angles. In addition, each demonstration will be followed by a producer panel offering insight after seeing the new machines in the field.

No one is better equipped than farmers and ranchers when it comes to social distancing. Many work in inherently isolated locations, and most of us know they are good at keeping themselves occupied with chores and various projects. Many have had to rethink their management, from machinery and input expenses to marketing, in these volatile times.

Hopefully, the Farm Progress Virtual Experience provides a close look at that new piece of machinery or technology that can help give you the competitive edge you need. The event also will be a good way to connect with exhibitors of all kinds — the same exhibitors you'd expect to see at Husker Harvest Days or the Farm Progress Show.

This year hasn't been easy, and we've all had to rethink our strategies for survival. With that said, FPVX might be the best time to rethink your own management or marketing techniques, and take the first steps in preparing to hit the ground running in 2021.

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