Ohio Farmer

Check out latest at Farm Science Review

The Sept. 19-21 event offers a robust lineup of demos, educational sessions and commercial exhibits.

Jennifer Kiel, Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

August 4, 2023

6 Min Read
 A crowd of people walk through a roadway at an outdoor exhibit
FARM SHOW: Ohio Farm Science Review offers new technology in action, big and small equipment, handy devices, nature exploration, soil practices, food for every hunger, an appreciation for farming of yesteryear, and so much more.Photos by Jennifer Kiel

Last year, more than 114,000 visitors attended Ohio Farm Science Review, which is back to the 2019 pre-COVID levels. Organizers are hoping for a massive turnout this year.

“For newcomers, there’s something for everyone, and for those returning, there are a lot of new attractions,” FSR manager Nick Zachrich says.

Hosted by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), FSR is celebrating its 61st year of agricultural education and industry innovation in 2023.

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center, near London, hosts the three-day farm show from Sept. 19-21. Review hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19-20 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21.

Even if you’re not a farmer or in a secondary ag industry, Zachrich says there’s a lot to take in, as he expects to fill the commercial exhibit area with more than 600 exhibitors from all over North America.

“We’re expecting the most robust FSR we’ve had in a very long time with different technologies and also some of the mainstays people come to look for,” he says.

The show offers new technology in action, big and small equipment, handy devices, nature exploration, soil practices, food for every hunger, an appreciation for farming of yesteryear, and so much more.

The show highlights a vast array of exhibitors from fertilizer, seed and equipment to a wide variety of services.

“Drone sales, but also drone services, are trending to be very popular, especially in the region with row crop spray drones,” Zachrich says. “Custom applicators are becoming more popular and wanted to be a part of the show.”

Field demonstrations

Harvesters are coming in for field demos for both corn and soybeans, as well as aftermarket header companies for both crops.

Five hundred acres are dedicated to harvesting, strip tilling, global positioning, planting, and manure and tillage demonstrations, which take place every day. The Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association was back in 2022 for another year installing drainage systems in three FSR fields, where visitors can now see the latest technology in water gates, control structures and drainage designs.

Focusing on technology, Zachrich says a close relationship with Ohio State University’s Food Ag and Biological Engineering Department has allowed for joint research projects with companies to be showcased during field demonstrations. That includes an autonomous irrigator from Yield 360, and other autonomous machinery, such as Sabanto Stewart.

“It may not be technology you are ready for on your farm right now,” Zachrich says. “Maybe that’s five or 10 years down the road, but it's never too early to start learning and understanding how all of these systems work and operate. So, when it’s time, you're ready to go.”

The OSU Extension agronomic team has a display of a growing crop it hopes is going to draw farmers’ attention. “There may be some things that don't look quite right, and they want people to ask questions,” Zachrich says. “So, ask the questions as you come in the gates and as you leave for the day. They will be happy to share with you what is different about the plots there and why.”

Educational outreach

Over the three days, there are more than 100 educational sessions, including the popular Ask The Expert 20-minute presentations that run throughout the show and allow visitors to speak one-on-one with experts.

“Most are business-related and some veterinary medicine-related topics, but there is a vast variety,” Zachrich says.

Ask the Expert sessions are held each day of the show across from the Firebaugh Building at 426 Friday Ave.

The McCormick, Bailey and Firebaugh buildings and the Utzinger Garden are home to OSU Central, an area where displays focus on farm health and safety, cancer prevention, farm management programs, financial and economic information, the environment, and human and community development. Outside in the Utzinger Garden, sessions offer tips about home yards and gardens.

The always anticipated Talk on Friday Avenue session will address “Global Uncertainty and the Heartland” at 11 a.m. Sept. 20. Hear from a panel of three faculty members from the CFAES Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics with expertise in environmental economics, climate change and the impact of new technologies in the agricultural sector.

“Farm Credit came to us and really wanted to put even more emphasis on ag safety,” Zachrich says. “They are helping to sponsor some of our safety displays within OSU Extension and the college, promoting the 60-year anniversary of the slow-moving vehicle signs and their effectiveness in saving lives.”

The grain bin extraction demonstration is also back again this year, sponsored by Farm Credit.

Antique farm equipment

The popular antique equipment building has overflowed into the William L. George Building. More than 1,600 pieces of farm machinery, garden equipment and kitchen utensils from between 1800 and 1930 are in the collection.

Special attractions include the 1805 wooden moldboard plow, antique garden tractors and an 1860 Milwaukee reaper. Look for the newest pieces, including a horse-drawn milk wagon and a 1923 Model T milk truck.

Student involvement

Students are a key focus for FSR, which has had a student program for some time. About 7,000 students visit FSR every year. “We’re providing an education opportunity while they're on-site that's optional for teachers to use, and we're expanding that this year to include what we're calling a passport,” Zachrich says. “It encourages students to get around the site for certain demonstrations and activities.”

Not only does the show provide an opportunity for exhibitor outreach and education, but it also provides a network. “Some companies or organizations have job opportunities or internships coming available,” Zachrich says.

In addition to being available on-site, there is also a career fair again. Ohio Agribusiness Association partners with FSR to host the event in the large event tent at the west end of the exhibit area, near the shuttle boarding site for field demonstrations. It is from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 20.

Come hungry

From a rib-eye steak and Mexican food to milkshakes, juicy hamburgers and bean soup, FSR offers a grand selection of tastes, allowing visitors and exhibitors a full-day experience.

About half of the 20-plus food options are provided by Ohio State University student groups, while others are community groups and nonprofits. “All of our food vendors are nonprofits or are benefiting nonprofits,” Zachrich says. “We like providing an avenue for fundraising, and for some, it’s their biggest fundraiser for the year.”

Tickets for the 2023 Farm Science Review are available both online (now available) and at Extension offices and select agribusinesses across Ohio and Indiana. Tickets will be $15 at the gate. Children ages 5 and younger are free, and parking is free. For more information, visit fsr.osu.edu.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Kiel

Editor, Michigan Farmer and Ohio Farmer

While Jennifer is not a farmer and did not grow up on a farm, "I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone with more appreciation for the people who grow our food and fiber, live the lifestyles and practice the morals that bind many farm families," she says.

Before taking over as editor of Michigan Farmer in 2003, she served three years as the manager of communications and development for the American Farmland Trust Central Great Lakes Regional Office in Michigan and as director of communications with Michigan Agri-Business Association. Previously, she was the communications manager at Michigan Farm Bureau's state headquarters. She also lists 10 years of experience at six different daily and weekly Michigan newspapers on her impressive resume.

Jennifer lives in St. Johns with her two daughters, Elizabeth, 19, and Emily 16.

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