Bursting at the seams: Farm Science Review jam-packed with exhibits and demonstrations

SALEM, Ohio – If you’re planning on going to this year’s Farm Science Review, get plenty of rest the night before and plan to wear your most comfortable walking shoes. You should also plan to spend an entire day – or more – taking in all the exhibits.

For the first time since the event relocated to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in 1983, exhibit space for the 2001 Review is completely sold out, according to Craig Fendrick, event manager. The sell-out marks a total of 583 commercial exhibitors for the three-day event, Sept. 18-20.

“We’re absolutely delighted with our numbers this year,” Fendrick said, noting that there is a waiting list for ground space at the annual event.

Such a demand prompted Review officials to stake off an open grass area in the northwest part of the grounds and convert it to exhibit space.

Show ingredients. “They say to have a successful show, you need two ingredients: exhibits and attendance,” Fendrick said.

Organizers are confident in the variety of displays and are looking forward to the event, despite attendance concerns, he said.

Other farm shows in the United States and Canada show a recent trend of decreased attendance, but Review planners hope the Ohio event is unaffected. Advance ticket sales remain steady and comparable to other years, Fendrick said.

Event organizers have always been pleased with attendance figures, he said, noting last year’s visitors totaled nearly 143,000, just shy of the 145,454 record set in 1997.

Over half of all visitors travel more than 175 miles to the yearly event, according to OSU statistics.

New this year. Attendees will see certain farm trends added or taken away from the Review this time around.

The rise and fall of technology has eliminated several dot.com displays whose space is now occupied by companies with an emphasis on construction equipment, trucks and truck accessories.

Visitors will also notice the addition of three new buildings on the grounds, built and occupied by Farm Credit, Steyer Seeds, and Home Store and Lumber.

Capital improvements to the 83-acre exhibit space also include an additional 1,600 feet of hard surface paving.

However, demonstrations of tillage, planting and harvest equipment remain unchanged and will continue in the center’s corn and soybean plots. The crops look “unbelievable” and will be prime for harvest during the Review, Fendrick said.

Small farms targeted. Criticism of the large ground area to cover in order to find useful information by those interested in alternative farming led to the creation of the Center for Small Farms, Fendrick said.

The new display will allow exhibitors to target small and nontraditional farmers with their information and products. Equipment and products, new technology, and other essentials will be a few of the items included in the 22,500 square-foot area north of Federation Park.

“In essence it will be a mini exhibit area for new and existing exhibitors to reach a very targeted audience,” Fendrick said.

Also new this year is the Natural Resources Interpretive Center at the Gwynne Conservation Area. The log cabin there will serve as a display. Seminars on soil and water conservation issues, including a pond clinic, will be held at the Gwynne.

Something for everyone. The Farm Science Review emphasizes all types of farming and aims to provide information and demonstrations on equipment in all price ranges, for all farm sizes, Fendrick said.

“Where else can you see all aspects of business, from equipment to inputs to financial information, for anyone in the vocation of agriculture?” he said.

“There are so many seminars and activities going on that even the organizers can’t remember them all,” Fendrick said.

“We definitely have something for everyone.”

Old tradition. The Farm Science Review is held annually by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Exhibitors representing about 4,000 equipment lines will be on hand for the event.

Also included will be information on health, home and farm safety, displays from OSU colleges and departments, hundreds of demonstration plots and millions of dollars worth of machinery.

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center is located north of London, Ohio, on U.S. Route 40, about 30 miles west of Columbus.

About the Author

Former staff reporter Andrea Zippay wrote for Farm and Dairy from 2001 to 2009. More Stories by Andrea Zippay

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