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Indiana Will Be Present at Farm Progress Show

World's largest farm show kicks off tomorrow.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

August 29, 2009

3 Min Read

The world's largest outdoor farm show opens for a three-day run in Decatur, Illinois, tomorrow. It's the third show out of 10 scheduled at the semi-permanent site near Decatur, Ill. The site is conveniently located just off Interstate 72 on the northwest side of Decatur, less than a 3-hour drive from downtown Indianapolis.


Hoosiers will be represented in Decatur. Indiana Prairie Farmer is co-sponsor of the show, along with Prairie farmer, the Farm Progress magazine in Illinois. Indiana Prairie Farmer editor Tom Bechman will spend time in the Hospitality Tent, but will also head up the new products team, looking for the latest innovations. Many companies save their world debuts of new products for this show. In fact, sometimes products are so new they aren't yet priced, and occasionally are still prototypes, not even painted. Exhibitors are looking for farmer reaction before they put the finishing touches on their latest version of whatever implement they're producing.


Indiana companies will be exhibiting, including CountryMark, with a large display. CountryMark has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Farm Progress Show for many years, including since the move to a semi-permanent site. Belinda Puetz, marketing director for the fuel supplier for much of Indiana's crop land, says they've been pleased with the number of Indiana farmers who come by and say hi in Decatur. She and the staff will be looking for you this week.


Purdue University will not be present with programs, but two departments, Ag engineering in the presence of Bill Field, and Agronomy through Gary Steinhardt, have roles in the show. Field and his staff will participate in the Health Tent coordinated by Illinois staff. Field says they'll be displaying Breaking New Ground Equipment for farmers with special needs, including those crippled by arthritis. Field has been a staple and a supporter of farm safety and health promotions at the Farm Progress Show for decades.


Steinhardt is the technical source of expertise for the 4-H and FFA soils judging contest, slated for Sept. 1, opening day. Several teams from both Indiana and Illinois will compete for cash awards, sponsored by various Farm Credit groups that cover the two-state area. It's a tune-up contest for teams in both states for the upcoming season, and one of the few, if not the only, contest that carries significant cash awards.


The practice pit will be located just off the southeast corner of the south parking lot, and will be open to visitors after the conclusion of the contest Tuesday afternoon. It would be a chance for Hoosiers to see what a prairie soil looks like below the surface. However, the actual contest includes both prairie and timber soils, making it a unique training experience for students.


We'll expect to see you in Decatur this week! Stop by and say hello!

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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