LONDON, Ohio — Although he heads up the state’s largest farm and equipment show, Nick Zachrich is quick to point out that the three-day event takes a team effort.
The second-year manager said his team includes 100 temporary staff and a couple hundred volunteers who plan and conduct every aspect of the show, which draws more than 120,000 people each year.
“It’s been a lot of fun to work with our great staff,” he said. “It’s more than just one person — it’s more than just a group of people.”
He was named the new manager just days before the start of last year’s show. But with six years as site manager, and an earlier stint as a student employee, Zachrich was familiar what the new role might entail.
He also knows what’s on the minds of farmers. He taught agricultural education in Defiance County for a few years and his family operates a crop farm in Defiance County.
So what is it farmers want to know? Zachrich said they are hungry for new information that is relevant to their operation, and unique ways of doing new things.
“The main thing that people need to bring away from the Farm Science Review is something new,” he said. “If they venture outside of their comfort zones and venture around the site, they’re going to find new ways to make their operations more efficient.”
This year’s topics include a special emphasis on climate change, labor management, technology for injured farmers, conservation practices — plus dozens of other topics for farms of all types and sizes.
One of the biggest changes, Zachrich said, is the addition of a mobile app and online directory that allows visitors to review and plot their schedule. This helps them get to where they want to be, on time and more efficiently.
The printed programs with site maps will still be available, but smartphone users who can access the app will find that it provides additional information in the palm of their hand. You can learn more about the app and online features at www.fsr.osu.edu.
Zachrich said this year’s show continues to focus on providing something for everyone — whether beginning or experienced farmers — and people of different ages and backgrounds. The event also continues to attract FFA and 4-H groups, with learning opportunities they can take back to their local chapters, or to their own farm.
When is the best day to visit?
Zachrich said that depends on what you want to do. If you want to see everything, he recommends Tuesday; if you want to mingle with the most people and the biggest crowd, plan on Wednesday, and if you want to buy something from a dealer, you might have better luck Thursday, the final day.
But each day features a repeat of the main attractions, including the Trotter Field Demonstrations in the farm portion of the grounds. Planting, harvesting and tillage demonstrations will be provided, and Zachrich said that despite some issues that forced replanting in the spring, the crops will be ready for harvest.
What is the best food choice?
That depends on your appetite and the time of day, but Zachrich said he always tries the Bob Evans food at Hilliard Kiwanis booth, as well as the Bethel UMC booth and Der Dutchman doughnuts. The Saddle and Sirloin Club also has some good offerings, he said.
Even though the Farm Science Review already has a strong tradition, Zachrich hopes this year’s show and future shows will continue to offer something new.
“To see something new really highlights what the Farm Science Review means to someone,” he said. “If you continue to do the same things over and over, certain people will get bored.”
Zachrich said planning the Review is a year-round process for the staff, and that planning for the 2018 show will begin about as soon as this year’s show ends.
He is an Ohio State product himself, earning a degree in agricultural education in 2007. He is married to Mallory Zachrich and the couple have three young children, Levi, Wyatt and Molly.