The show must go on — and it will in 2021, says Farm Progress Show manager Matt Jungmann. And while changing numbers mean he can’t pinpoint mitigation steps just yet, he’s clear on three points.
“There’s a show. Get your vaccine. It’ll be as close to normal as possible,” Jungmann says.
Like many event planners in the world right now, Jungmann has an active master spreadsheet tracking COVID-19 numbers in Illinois, including cases and vaccination rates — all the numbers the Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking in order to move the state to Phase 4.5, which is the bridge to reopening entirely at Phase 5.
This year, the Farm Progress Show will be held in Decatur, Ill., Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.
“Everybody needs to get their shots,” Jungmann says, especially if they want to have county fairs and the state fair and the local rhubarb festival. “We want all those things to happen, and this is the path to get there and have it be as normal as possible.”
Behind the curtain
Given the lack of live farm shows during the pandemic, Jungmann says the 2021 Farm Progress Show will be the first chance for farmers to see — in person — a lot of the equipment that’s been introduced.
“The industry hasn’t been together since the end of February 2020 at Commodity Classic,” he says. “If you didn’t make that one, you haven’t seen any new products since Louisville 2020 or maybe even FPS19.”
Certainly, companies have continued to roll out new products and make progress on current technology, including introductions from John Deere, Case IH, Agco, Hagie, Dot and SmartCart.
“This is your first shot to see a year’s worth of progress and darn near two years of product introductions,” Jungmann says.
Out in the field
If you need any more confirmation that the show is going on, consider this: They’re planting all 350 acres of field demo corn, set to go in the ground mid-April.
“It’s no small investment, planting a short-season crop in a specific manner, planning out every pass with crowd control in mind. That’s the first step for the show,” Jungmann says.
He’s also heard from companies that plan to add permanent facilities on the show site this year. New buildings wouldn’t be earth-shaking news in a normal year, but Jungmann didn’t expect it to happen in 2021 — and he says he’s thrilled.
“The challenge with a permanent location is to make every show unique, and this will be fresh and unique,” he says, adding that the Farm Progress exhibit in the Hospitality Building will be entirely redesigned this year. “Our exhibit will still be in the Morton Building, but the entire feel will be fresh and new for 2021.”
Ever been to Husker Harvest Days? Cattle producers will especially love the annual HHD show, held Sept. 14-16 in Grand Island, Neb., with an extra emphasis on cattle and haying equipment.