Next week is show-time for Farm Progress Show, scheduled for Aug. 30, 31, and Sept. 1 in Decatur, Ill. With agriculture booming you’re sure to see all kinds of national news media descend on the show, along with thousands of visitors and the usual breath-taking display of modern farm technology.
With the show site just outside my office window, my colleague Jeff Smith and I took a tour of the activities over there just as a few drops of rain began to fall. Unfortunately, it's too little too late - the show site has had exactly .2 inches of rain in the entire month of August. Corn here looks like pineapple.
Jeff has been directing traffic in and out of the shows as long as I’ve known him, which has been over two decades. For next weekend through Monday you’ll find him at the front entrance, answering questions, directing semis full of equipment and redirecting rubber-neckers to the closest watering hole.
Workers put a roof on one of the new permanent buildings.
Although it's unusual, some exhibitors do use moving companies.
Today the site was abuzz with activity, but it was mostly about lot preparation. There were mountains of crates yet to be unpacked, concrete to pour, and nails and hardware to be attached, especially for some of the new, permanent buildings. Ag is booming and companies are investing in facilities here, even if they are only used once every two years for the show itself.
One thing we noticed today: every exhibitor has a telehandler to quickly pull equipment off flatbed trailers. It has a long lift arm with a fork at the end. Scissor lifts are also in hot demand, as well as skid steers to move mountains of woodchips and landscaping materials.
Although setup is going safely, the first aid station, headed up by Bill Wood of St. Mary’s Hospital, is already up and running just in case. Mr. Wood has been handling the medical response team ever since we had our first show here at this permanent site six years ago.
Workers put the final touches on a shade station.
Telehandlers are used to take equipment off flat bed trucks.
This empty lot will soon be transformed into the CaseIH Arena Show.
The heavy equipment is yet to arrive. In the next few days, an endless parade of semis will pull in to Progress City to deliver tractors, planters, balers, combines, disks, self-propelled sprayers, trucks and, well, anything else you need on a farm. We estimate that at least $100 million worth of equipment will be here next week. When you consider most of those big new combines alone cost $300,000 each, it starts to add up.
Hey, they don’t call it the “Nation’s Greatest Agricultural Showcase” for nothin’. See you here next week.