This will be the fourth Farm Science Review with Chuck Gamble at the helm, although he joined the Review as assistant manager in 1995. Here, he talked to Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell, who caught an inside look at the man who plays host to 140,000 visitors for three days each September.
On the size of the Review:
There aren’t that many shows the size of Farm Science Review. This year’s exhibitor count stands at 603.
“We’ve sold out as quick as we ever have. …If we could adjust to pick up one more 30-by-50 lot, we did. There’s going to be something nearly everywhere you look.”
And there’s a waiting list of potential exhibitors, money in hand. “It’s a great position to be in.”
“We really are as large as we need to be; for a pedestrian show, access is important.”
My ‘welcome to the big league’ moment:
“When you’re at the Vice President’s luncheon [OSU ag college dean and vice president for agricultural administration Bob Moser] and stand at podium – they’ve got 640 chairs set up in that tent – and you’ve got the university president, the governor, and the secretary of agriculture, it’s a very humbling moment.
“That’s probably when it hit me, the magnitude of what the Review is to people.”
Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday?
“Tuesday. It’s the excitement of opening and getting the thing rolling.”
On the best eats:
“I eat breakfast every morning at the Bethel United Methodist Church tent. It’s probably tradition more than anything. And on Wednesday when my family members come, we typically rendezvous at the Ohio Cattlewomen’s tent.
“I’ll put our food vendors up against any show vendors anywhere.”
Sunscreen, umbrella or gloves?
“None of the above. You’ll need a light jacket for temperatures around 65-68. That, and a bright blue sky, is a farm show manager’s dream. And I wouldn’t mind an inch or two of rain on Monday night.”
I would be really proud to show you:
“OSU Central and start there. It’s kind of the hub of the whole complex.
“We have a universal design exhibit there and Ohio State’s work on universal design has been featured on the national cover of Lowe’s magazine.”
“Energy or some component of energy.
“We have two exhibitors that are bringing wind turbines for the residential user, and Green Energy Ohio will be in the new OSU Energy Education Tent.”
“Of course, we’ll always be known for the biggest or baddest. We’ve got a 42-foot rotary cutter coming; it’s huge.”
People would be surprised to learn that:
The Farm Science Review receives no tax dollars.
“We are what is referred to as an “earnings account,” meaning no general funds that the state of Ohio gives to Ohio State goes to The Review event. It is not a tax-supported event. We’re a small business, operated within the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”
The Review and the Molly Caren Agricultural Center are operated as two enterprises; both are self-supporting entities.
Gamble even has to make a monthly payment to the university for a loan used to purchase 1,100 acres contiguous to the original 993 acres donated by Molly Caren Fisher.
People might also be surprised to consider that Gamble serves two masters: the visitor and the exhibitor. “I scramble to do the best I can for both of those customers.” For example, show visitors could care less about Internet connections on the grounds, but to exhibitors, getting a high-speed connection is a big deal.
“It’s a work in process; it’s a work in progress.”
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