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Looking for the latest and greatest in agriculture? Check out the 2021 Farm Progress Show, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Decatur, Ill.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

July 7, 2021

5 Min Read
attendees at the Farm Progress Show field demonstrations
DEMOS: The Farm Progress Show is known for its field demonstrations, billed as the largest outdoor farm show in the U.S., complete with more than 300 acres of corn harvest, tillage and tiling demonstrations. Photos by Holly Spangler

The fall farm show season kicks off with the 2021 Farm Progress Show, which returns to Decatur, Ill., Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. This year’s event adds new features, exhibits and more to the show site, returning there for the ninth time since 2005. What can you learn?

“There have been a lot of mergers, and the people you used to buy things from wear different shirts with different logos than they used to. So what do all these mergers mean to your operation?” asks Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress national events manager. He says when farmers walk among the more than 600 exhibitors, “they’ll have plenty of opportunities to see for themselves. It’s a good place to figure out what all this change means.”

Advance tickets are available now, and buying tickets now will make it cheaper and easier to get into the show once you arrive on the grounds. Head to to get your tickets.

Farm Progress Show organizers have a singular goal: to share the biggest, brightest, newest and best in agriculture with farmers and agribusiness, Jungmann says.

“This is the big farm show, especially for corn and soybeans,” he says. “Most big exhibitors do six or seven shows corporately. If they’re in Midwest ag, there are a few shows that bubble to the top — FPS, Husker Harvest Days, National Farm Machinery Show. FPS is certainly the big one. It’s also the first one on the calendar. Everything is fresh and new before it hits the fall show cycle.”

The Farm Progress Show is known for its field demonstrations, billed as the largest outdoor farm show in the U.S., complete with more than 300 acres of corn harvest, tillage and tiling demonstrations. Field demo corn was planted in nearly perfect conditions this year. The crop went into the ground in mid-April, and host farmers planted 86-day corn — more like a North Dakota hybrid — in hopes it will mature in time for harvest in late August.

aerial view of Farm Progress Show grounds

What are the “can’t miss” stops you’ll want to make at FPS21?

Varied Industries Tent. The VIT is home to more than 100 exhibitors, under nearly 50,000 square feet of tent space. The main tent is located just south of the main gate on West Avenue. “It’s where the newest, latest and greatest ideas come from,” Jungmann says.

Ride ’n’ Drive. The Ride ’n’ Drive areas are perennial favorites, where visitors can try out everything from tractors to new pickups. Jungmann says a gravel road will make it easier to get to both Ride ’n’ Drive areas and field demonstrations, all located on the north side of the exhibit field.

Tiling demos. Look for 30 acres worth of tiling demonstrations again this year, all north of the exhibit field. The Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association designed a master plan after the 2011 show. They put in a huge main to serve the northern half of the section and this year will complete the drainage system.

Building demonstration. Look for the FBi Buildings demonstration of their new pole-barn construction process, located on the southwest corner of the exhibit field. The system uses hydraulic cylinders, I-beams, scissors-lift technology and safety nets to allow the crew to assemble a complete roof on the ground, build and attach the wall frames with hinges, and then raise the whole structure into place hydraulically — all in about 15 minutes. Look for demos at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Two years of new technology. New machines and technology kept rolling out during the pandemic, so visitors to this show will see a range of new machines, from the See and Spray system on a John Deere sprayer to new tractors from Versatile. Short-liners also have been hard at work, with new tools from Brandt, 360 Yield Center and more. In a normal year, the Farm Progress new-products team finds more than 150 new items; chances are, they’ll top 200 in 2021. And it’s the first time for many farmers to see anything in person since before the pandemic.

Max, editors and more. The ADM Stage, located in the Prairie Farmer Hospitality Building, is your one-stop shop for news and entertainment. Stop in every day at 10 a.m. for a look at the markets with Ben Potter and Jacqueline Holland, market analysts for Farm Futures, and catch up with editors from Prairie Farmer and more from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Then catch Max Armstrong and “The Noon Show,” sponsored by USB, from 12 to 1 p.m. daily. Swing back in at 3 p.m. for live recordings of “This Week in AgriBusiness” with Max Armstrong and Greg Soulje.

Horse training. Live demonstrations hosted by veteran horseman Steve Lantvit will take place every day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Lot 1009 in the northeast corner of the exhibit field. Lantvit has decades of experience and will share the program he’s built, based on trust and partnership.

vendors and attendees talking at the Farm Progress Show

The Farm Progress Show runs daily Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for ages 13-17; discounted advance tickets are available at Follow along on social media with the official Farm Progress Show hashtag: #FPS21.

Prairie Farmer Hospitality Building Schedule

8-9:30 a.m. Best of Farm Progress Show

10-10:45 a.m. Farm Futures Market Update

11-11:30 a.m. Meet the Editors

12-1:15 p.m. “The Noon Show”

1:30-2:30 p.m. Social Media Influencers

3-5 p.m. “This Week in AgriBusiness”


About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, 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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