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14 things you can’t miss at this year’s Farm Progress shows

The new, high-tech and innovative ideas are rolling into the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days. Here’s what you’ll want to see.

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer Senior Editor

June 3, 2024

4 Min Read
A tractor field demonstration
RIDE AND DRIVE: The Ride and Drive area will be east of the exhibit field on the way to field demos. Look for autonomy, smart sprayers, drones and more. Betty Haynes

June means crunch time for the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days, but it also means the really cool stuff is rolling out as the shows take shape.

“The best part of my job is that every day is different,” says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national events director. “These shows are coming together really, really well, with new product unveilings and all the work exhibitors are doing.

“The shows are just booming in terms of the farmers and exhibitors turning out in droves. The Farm Progress Show especially is becoming the meeting place for ag because beyond all the farmers doing business, you’ve got Wall Street analysts who show up, national policymakers having discussions, and it’s the largest gathering of ag media in the country.”

Here are the newest features to look for at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, Aug. 27-29, and at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Neb., Sept. 10-12.

Farm Progress Show

Specifically at FPS, look for these sights:

1. Check out that plane. Jungmann and his staff are preparing to move an Air Tractor plane with a 45-foot wingspan onto the exhibit field, with a plan that involves knocking holes in fence and putting up tents. Air Tractor manufactures planes for aerial application, and it’ll take two full lots to hold this one. If you’ve never seen an aerial applicator up close, this is your chance.

2. Never thirst again. When you buy a water bottle at a food stand this year, it won’t be plastic: instead, you’ll get an aluminum bottle with a screw-top lid that you can refill at one of two hydration stations sponsored by ADM. Look for them near each of the two Varied Industry Tents.

3. Head to the field demos. Field demonstration crops went in the ground April 11-12, and they’re growing fast and furious. Jungmann confirms he saw them last week and “they look great.”

4. Try out a UTV. Every UTV company at the show will have a Ride and Drive option on their lot, so you can climb in and go for a spin. The rest of the equipment in the Ride and Drive area will be east of the exhibit field on the way to the field demos. Look for autonomy, smart sprayers, drones and more.

5. Meet people from around the world. Jungmann has never before seen so much interest from international companies that want to exhibit at the show. Look for a new tent called VIT East, just to accommodate those companies. International visitors are securing their travel documents, and one partner is putting together a Brazilian hospitality area due to the number of folks coming from that country.

6. Visit more VIT. Jungmann says it’s unheard of to sell out of spaces in the 66-by-640-foot Varied Industries Tent in April, but that’s what happened. So a second VIT East that’s 66 by 216 feet will be added to house new international companies.

7. Explore new builds. Energy Panel Structures is a longtime exhibitor at Husker Harvest Days, and this year the company will be at FPS. The pole barn company will have a 30-by-60-foot building on display for inspection.

a combine harvesting a cornfield

Husker Harvest Days

If you’re planning on attending HHD, don’t miss these highlights:

1. See BEEF in a building. Husker Harvest Days always has plenty of cattle handling equipment on display, plus field demonstrations covering harvest, tillage and alfalfa. Be sure to check out the new BEEF Building, formerly the livestock building. Look for two cattle handling demos per day.

2. Fight cancer at the farm show. The Nebraska Cancer Coalition came out last year to do hundreds of PSA blood draws and skin cancer checks, and they handed out thousands of N95 masks. This year, they’re focusing on colon cancer. Look for the 14-foot inflatable colon on Fifth Street, west of Central Avenue (yes, you read that right).

3. Celebrate birthdays. The Chief company will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year at HHD, having been a proud proponent of the show since its inception. Look for a beautiful celebration lot from this Nebraska-based, family-owned company.

4. Donate food. Every year, FFA students can bring five canned food items to receive free admission, and it results in central Nebraska’s largest food drive. Last year, in partnership with United Way, the show brought in more than 15,000 pounds of food to build up central Nebraska food banks.

5. See all the covers. HHD will feature an expansive cover crop plot, in partnership with Green Cover. Look for several lots inside the grounds with dozens of different cover crop varieties and mixes. There will be crop walks twice a day, with one focused on beef production and the other for crop farmers.

6. Charge your phone. Battery low? Look for two permanent solar charging stations on-site: one across from the Husker Harvest Days Hospitality Tent, and another in the southwest corner near the gazebo. The plugs will accommodate cellphones and laptops.

7. Support women in ag. At HHD, you’ll find a full slate of topics and conversations on women in agriculture, presented with the University of Nebraska.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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