ROCK SPRINGS - The Pennsylvania tradition of Ag Progress Days has a distinctive Canadian flavor.
Among the more than 450 commercial and educational exhibitors - a record - are about 12 vendors with Canadian roots.
The first day of Ag Progress Days on Tuesday, at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center on Route 45 at Rock Springs, was a good day for Salford Farm Machinery of Salford, Ontario.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
On his way to the show ring at Ag Progress Days, Kevin Tempus is at the reins of a six-horse Belgian Draft Horse Hitch from Sunn Hill Farm, which is owned by the Sandoe family of Myerstown.
"We got at least a half dozen solid leads; it was a very positive morning for us. We are looking for leads. Even if we don't close any sales, we are looking to set up demos for this fall," said Dave Gunkelman, regional sales manager for Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Gunkelman said his company has been coming to Ag Progress Days for at least five years.
"We are here because it is just a real good show; we get to meet lots of farmers from Pennsylvania and surrounding states," Gunkelman said. "It is a real draw and it is a good time to be here with our local dealers who sell Salford products. We come to support our dealers so they are not here on their own."
Dennis Nuhn, owner of Nuhn Industries of Sebringville, Ontario, whose company sells a full line of liquid manure equipment, has been coming to Ag Progress Days for several years.
"It is beautiful country. It is a good market here - our market share has been growing all over the United States. Farmers are more optimistic this year than last year," Nuhn said. "We are here to promote our products and get some new customers. We've got some good leads. The middle day [Wednesday] is usually the best day of the show."
Agri-Trac Inc. is a third year participant at Ag Progress Days.
The company, which specializes in resurfacing barn floors for the dairy industry, was founded in Woodstock, Ontario, before relocating to Waunakee, Wis.
"There are a fair number of dairy farmers who attend. We are here to basically contact farmers who are having problems to find a more positive way to fix their floors without removing the old floor," said spokesman Rick White. "Our true interest is in the interest of the cow. If you take care of the cows, the cows take care of the farmers."
About 42,000 to 45,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event, according to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
In addition to the sales opportunities for farmers, Ag Progress Days includes field demonstrations, activities and attractions including food demonstrations, horse exhibitions and clinics, wildlife displays and children's activities.
The event will continue from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission and parking are free.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.