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See the future today at the Farm Progress ShowSee the future today at the Farm Progress Show

The 2019 Farm Progress Show opens today in Decatur, Ill.

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Editor’s note: Farm Progress host editors welcome you to the 2019 Farm Progress Show. Hear first from Tom. J. Bechman, followed by Holly Spangler.

One of the neatest displays I saw two years ago when the Farm Progress Show was in Decatur, Ill., was a miniature mock-up of a tillage row unit for a planter. Not only was it not yet for sale, but a prototype to scale hadn’t even been built yet. The mock-up was produced on a 3D printer!

That’s how fresh many of the newest products are at this one-of-a-kind farm show. Many companies save their biggest and best introductions for the event, happening this year Aug. 27-29 in Decatur. Come join us there, and you may find yourself looking at products that were mere ideas just a few short months ago. Some of them may turn out to be the products you depend on tomorrow.

That’s been the legacy of the Farm Progress Show since 1953, when the advertising manager of Prairie Farmer thought it would be a win-win to gather people who make the latest and greatest for agriculture with the farmers who use the product. The Farm Progress Show was born.

Although the format has changed, the commitment to making the Farm Progress Show a world-class event hasn’t wavered from the start. If anything, it’s grown more intense. The addition of permanent sites allows companies to build buildings and permanent structures, such as grain bins, which makes it easier to display some of the things you want to see.

And for the first time ever, the Hospitality Tent — where you can learn more about the show, our magazines, hear market reports and more — won’t be a tent. Its new permanent home is a building, right on the show grounds.

As usual, a team of Farm Progress editors will be combing the grounds, looking for new products. Many of them are cutting-edge, like the prototype I ran into two years ago. I’ll be leading this team, and together we will uncover some 200 new products introduced either in the last few months, right at the show itself, or coming soon.

Some of these products will be displayed by Hoosier exhibitors. Several Hoosier born-and-bred companies will be on hand to greet you. Indiana plays a key role not only in agriculture, but also in the Farm Progress Show. That’s still true.

So, make the short drive west and see for yourself. No matter what type of equipment or products you’re interested in, you will find a wide array on display at the show. And you will find knowledgeable people on hand to greet you and explain their products and services.

Companies don’t just bring their newest ideas and products to the show; they bring their best and brightest people, too. It’s a chance to ask questions with people who not only sell products and services, but also test and design them.

Spend a day or two at the show, and you’ll leave knowing that the future of agriculture is in good hands. Agribusinesses and manufacturers are hard at work designing and building future products. If you want a better glimpse of what tomorrow’s agriculture will look like, join us at the show!

— Tom J. Bechman, editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer

Welcome to the show, friends!

For many of you — just as it is for many of us — the Farm Progress Show has come to be a rite of passage. An annual event we look forward to, like the county fair or a summer vacation.

And tucked in just after the start of school, it’s also a great chance to let the kids skip school for a day of fun and adventure with some of the biggest, best and most fascinating tools in agriculture. And all just before the crush of harvest begins.

It’s also a good chance to expose your teenagers to one of the most exciting and diverse displays of agricultural career opportunities they’re likely to find anywhere. Sidle up to anyone wearing an official polo in a tent and ask them what they do. I guarantee they’ll enjoy telling you about it.

And whether it’s your first show or your fifth or your 50th, welcome back, old friends! For a lot of the staff here at Farm Progress, the Farm Progress Show is old home week — a chance to catch up with far-flung colleagues, the exhibitors we’ve befriended and those readers we love to hear from.

If it’s your first show, well, have we got a show for you. For years now, we’ve been writing, “This year’s show promises to be the biggest and best yet.” And each year, it really is. Somehow, show manager Matt Jungmann and his team manage to best the year before, wowing us with better facilities, more exhibits and a bigger show experience.

Look for 90 acres on the Decatur exhibit field, with more than 2.9 million square feet of exhibitor space and more than 6 miles of paved streets. Over 600 exhibitors will be on hand this year to show you their wares.

The companies themselves are to be commended for their commitment to better exhibits and more information for you — the farmer visitor.

And at the Farm Progress Show, new product rollouts are the norm rather than the exception — so much so that for several years now, we’ve convened an editorial new-products team to fan out across the show grounds in search of every single new product.

And believe us, there’s no better way to learn about what’s available in agriculture than to go booth to booth at the show, talking to each exhibitor.

So to our old friends and those yet to be made, we say welcome home. It’s good to see you again.

— Holly Spangler, editor of Prairie Farmer and a senior editor for Farm Progress

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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