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From new products to family milestones, the Farm Progress Virtual Experience did not disappoint this year.

October 2, 2020

3 Min Read
Two pairs of adult shoes and one set of baby shoes with ultrasound sound pictures arranged on a wooden floor
BEST OF SHOW: Every year as a member of the new products team, we pick a best of show. This year, it is personal. One new addition coming to our family farm next year is a grandbaby. Mindy Ward

I was standing in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn in Grand Island, Neb., when my phone rang. My girl from Ohio asked, “Are you alone?” The tone made me say, “Of course,” even though I was not.

She proceeded to switch to FaceTime. As the image appeared on the phone screen, I screamed and squealed. I turned around, and hotel patrons were staring. I didn’t care. It was the moment that I found out I was going to be a grandma.

It seems breaking news always happens at a farm show.

While COVID-19 did not allow the Farm Progress Show or Husker Harvest Days to be in person, I traveled to Nebraska to help wrangle a farmer panel watching hay equipment and cattle-handling chute demonstrations on-site. Those videos are now a part of the Farm Progress Virtual Experience, which went online Sept. 15-17 and is still available for anyone to enjoy.

The best part of these shows is that they offer a first look at new machinery and technology. This year’s event did not disappoint. From an inside look at the new X9 combine to the hands-free cattle chute, farmers and ranchers were able to see products work in the field.

Advancements in agriculture — whether technology, seed or chemical — all are part of both Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days. Over the years, I’ve seen tractors that have no driver and ones that float. I’ve watched a self-propelled baler and amphibious remote-controlled lagoon agitation boat in action.

As a company, we’ve been honored that companies choose to launch their products at our events, and I hope they continue. Why?

Well, I want my grandbaby to visit our farm shows with excitement, awe and wonder. I can’t help but think what the future of agriculture holds for that generation. How will technology, equipment, seed and chemicals change over the next decade or two? And the one place young people can see, smell and touch the future of farming is at a show.

More importantly, I want to share a tradition. The absolute best part of my job during these events is watching family generations walking together down Flag Row at Husker Harvest Days, or sitting in a tractor cab at Farm Progress Show.

To see the youngest of the group’s eyes widen at the behemoth corn head. To be able to walk down the street and point to the small Kinze grain cart atop a pole. To watch as those who have just learned to walk trip over cornstalks during field demos. And to sit under a tent and share a rib-eye sandwich.

I’m selfish. I want that.

My hope is next year we can get back to being in person at a farm show. To have the opportunity to view the latest ag company innovations. And if you see me at either of our farm shows, feel free to stop and greet me by my new title: grandma.

It’s true, whether in person or online, breaking news — all the best news — happens at a farm show.

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