Nearly 450 exhibitors, including some from California, to be present
By Walt Frank
Mirror file photos by J.D. Cavrich
Raven Eisenhour of Wellsville tried out a few John?Deere tractors at Ag Progress Days last year.
Ken Boozel of Martinsburg checks out different types of potatoes.
ROCK SPRINGS - Attendees at Penn State Ag Progress Days this month will find a record number of exhibitors.
Nearly 450 commercial and noncommercial exhibitors from California to Canada are expected to attend the event Aug. 14-16 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, said Bob Oberheim, Ag Progress Days manager.
"It brings the buyer and seller together in one location for three days," Oberheim said. "Customers can compare all sizes and models of operating equipment. It's a tremendous time and cost saver. Companies interact with customers, and customers meet suppliers."
The exhibitors can reap the benefits of participating several months after the show.
"In February someone may call them and say they saw their products at the Ag Progress Days. The exhibitors don't just judge their results on the three days here; they judge their results six to nine months later," Oberheim said.
Between 42,000 and 45,000 people are expected to attend the event sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and view the many exhibits.
"We stay true to agriculture exhibits. We don't have the carnival type of exhibits here. You won't see things like pink cowboy hats for sale,"Oberheim said.
The purpose of Ag Progress Days is two-fold. Oberheim said the College of Agricultural Sciences showcases the research and cutting-edge technology that has been developed each year, while commercial industries showcase their equipment and services.
Gary Long, Blair County Farm Bureau president, said he plans to attend Ag Progress Days.
"Most all of the local farmers try to get to it, but there are more and more city people starting to go to it as well. It is the largest ag equipment show in the Northeast. People come from all over the United States to go to the show," Long said.
Long said Ag Progress Days offers almost anything imaginable in agriculture.
"There is equipment. It is a learning facility. All of the new technology is there. All of the new seed varieties, new breeds of beef cattle. Penn State also has cooking demonstrations. There is a wide variety of things - even things for the home gardener to look at, too," Long said.
"Anything in the ag industry, from planting the seeds to preparing your plate for dinner is there, and if you have a question with anything dealing with agriculture there is someone there who can answer your question," he added.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has planned numerous activities, including fun and learning opportunities for young visitors, along with information on a variety of agricultural issues.
"Ag Progress Days offers an excellent opportunity for farmers to learn more about new advances in agriculture and technology, obtain updated information on key issues impacting Pennsylvania farmers and agriculture-related businesses and reconnect with other farmers and friends from across the state," said President Carl T. Shaffer in a statement.
Field demonstrations are an important component of the event.
New field demonstrations this year will feature "show-and-tell" events for new tractors, planters and drills. These events will allow companies to promote and talk about their equipment.
"The field demonstrations are a cornerstone of the show. We rotate something different each year into the show but we maintain the hay mowing, baling and handling demonstration," Oberheim said. "We do bring in something new each year to keep it interesting."
Ag Progress Days also include activities and attractions such as food demonstrations, horse exhibitions and clinics, wildlife displays and children's activities.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.