Farm Science Review helps farmers plan for tomorrow

(PHOTO ABOVE: The field demonstrations are a big draw to Ohio’s Farm Science Review each year. This year’s event will be held Sept. 22-24 at the Molly Caren Agriculture Center near London, Ohio.)

SALEM, Ohio – I have 10 sugar maple trees; how do I make maple syrup?

Where can I get updated information on beef cattle breeding.

Farm grain storage: What’s out there?

How do I know if a satellite-guided auto steering system will pay off on my equipment?

Where can I get information on …

… shrimp production

… starting a greenhouse

… haying equipment

… the farm bill’s ACRE program

… creating a low-maintenance garden

… ethanol production in Ohio …

Easy. The Farm Science Review.

If you’ve never been to the Review, it’s an equipment expo, educational seminar, field day, county fair, antique tractor show and dealership open house all rolled into one.

This year’s Review runs Sept. 22-24 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, two miles north of London, Ohio, on U.S. Route 40. Show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $8; but $5 advance tickets are available at most agribusinesses, including Farm and Dairy, as well as county offices of OSU Extension.

Filled to the brim

The exhibitor count is not final, but Farm Science Review Manager Chuck Gamble says it’s “going to be more than last year.”

He expects nearly 620 commercial exhibitors to fill the Review grounds — and he found room to squeeze in two more tents that house 30 more booths, even though he admits “real estate at our place is a difficult thing to come up with!”

Some equipment exhibitors have expanded their lots, too, this year.

Not just new paint

In addition to the traditional ag equipment manufacturers like John Deere, Agco and Ford New Holland, Farm Science Review spotlights short equipment lines, implements and parts. But it also offers a wealth of allied ag businesses that serve farmers — large or small, conventional or organic, niche markets or commodities.

“What really stands out to me,” Gamble noted, “is that we have companies coming to the show now that want to create partnerships with the farmers.”

He was referring to ethanol producers like ADM and POET; identity-preserved grain companies like Bluegrass Farms of Ohio; and farm-to-restaurant champion Fresh Fork Market. The grounds is dotted with marketing and business opportunities for farmers that go beyond the traditional, Gamble said.

“Not only does the farmer come to see the latest and greatest in agricultural products and services, but to enhance their business in a different way,” he explained.

“What a great opportunity.”

Diversity

The Review’s Small Farm Center serves up a full schedule of presentations geared toward niche or small farm production.

Likewise, there’s a busy lineup of presentations at the Gwynne Conservation Area, the Utzinger Garden and on the “Question the Authorities” stage.

You can also compare the old with the new, as various antique tractor and collector clubs spotlight antique iron, and antique equipment and tools fill two buildings on the Review grounds. Visitors can see an 1805 wooden moldboard plow and a new addition to the collection, a 1923 Model T milk truck.

Field demonstrations of no-till, manure application, corn and soybean harvesting run all three days. And farmers can get a first-hand look at precision agriculture equipment and add-ons both in the field, and on the exhibitor lots.

Cautiously upbeat

Gamble said even though the current economy is still in the doldrums, and grain and milk prices continue to sink, exhibitors and coordinators at the nation’s other major farm shows have remained positive.

“It really, truly doesn’t matter where the economy is,” he said, “the farmer’s always going to be planning for the future.”

“Farm shows are a great venue to see, touch, feel and watch it operate,” he added, which helps farmers make a decision, whether that purchase is a year down the road or two years down the road.

He’s predicting great attendance for this year’s Review, despite the economic downturn.

Out of Africa

The weather is always on the minds of Review organizers, exhibitors and visitors, but after last year, Gamble has been paying particular attention to any tropical depressions stirring off the coast of Africa.

In 2008, the remnants of Hurricane Ike blasted Ohio with gusts up to 75 mph the weekend before the Review, triggering a mandatory evacuation of the show grounds on Sunday afternoon. In the wind storm’s aftermath, an estimated 275 of the 300 tents on the grounds had completely or partially collapsed.

There was some question whether or not the Review could even open on Tuesday, but an army of tent company personnel, Review and Ohio State University employees, exhibitors, and volunteers put Humpty Dumpty back together in time.

“The tent vendors really did save the day,” Gamble recalls. Even though the companies are fierce business competitors, they worked together to share labor and inventory so the show could open.

“That’s the way it is in agriculture,” Gamble said. “People come to the rescue.”

For more information on this year’s Review, visit http://fsr.osu.edu.

(Editor’s note: You can visit Farm and Dairy during the Farm Science Review at Lot 579, the corner of Silage Street and Soybean Avenue!)

Check out our Flickr photos from last year’s Farm Science Review.

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

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