Ag Progress Days returning

ROCK SPRINGS – More than 40,000 visitors will have the opportunity to visit the nearly 500 exhibitors at Penn State’s Ag Progress Days exposition Aug. 12-14 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs.

“We’ll have about the same number of commercial exhibitors as last year, with many of them expanding their booth size. Noncommercial are down a couple, but by show time, I expect to be close to 490,” said Bob Oberhiem, Ag Progress Days manager.

“I think we have the high number of commercial ag exhibitors, and the fact that they’re expanding their booth size is due to the fact that we draw a true ag audience to our show. Many other ag shows allow nonagricultural vendors, and then they attract a different type of audience that does not generate sales for them, so they’re usually disappointed by the end of that show.”

Ag Progress Days, sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, offers farm operators the chance to maximize productivity – all in a single trip. They can compare goods and services, see the latest machinery and find out about new methods and technologies.

“Producers face a range of challenges, such as weather variability, soil erosion, pest management, environmental concerns, worker safety, global competition and ever-changing regulations,” Oberheim said. “Our goal is to sponsor an event that can help farmers and those in related industries get the information and resources they need to address these and other issues.”

Ken Brenneman, president of the Blair County Farm Bureau, will attend Ag Progress Days.

“Every year we come up with a new idea. You see things you

wouldn’t ordinarily see. It is a great event for both farmers and city people. It gives them a chance to go out there and see what is happening. All of the new equipment and technology is out there,” Brenneman said.

Virtually every product category will be on display, including field machinery, milking systems, animal genetics, storage structures, seed, feed, tools, trailers, sprayers, mixers, livestock housing, utility vehicles, fertilizers, fencing, financial products, insurance and more.

Field demonstrations continue to be a popular feature of Ag Progress Days.

“These demos give visitors the chance to see machinery from different manufacturers in a setting outside the dealer showroom, performing under real-world conditions,” Oberheim said.

A new demonstration in 2014 will spotlight air seeders, drills and planters.

“The major brands will showcase their newest technology in planters, drills and air seeders operating in no-till conditions,” Oberheim said. “This is a must see if you’re contemplating purchasing one of these implements in the coming year.”

This year’s event also features new events at the Equine Experience such as a demonstration with draft horses and oxen, showing how they provided the power for agriculture in the past. Norwegian Fjord horses and Australian stock horses will also be featured, according to Chuck Gill, Penn State spokesman.

There also will be new animal science displays in the College of Ag Sciences Exhibits Building. Visitors can learn about research and technologies in livestock and dairy production by walking in a beef cattle chute, birthing a calf, visiting a chicken coop, and watching robots milk cows. Experts in poultry, livestock, meat science and dairy will provide hands-on demonstrations, Gill said.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has planned numerous exhibits and activities, including active learning opportunities for young visitors, along with information on a wide variety of agricultural issues.

“Ag Progress Days is a highlight of the summer for many farm families, because it offers an opportunity for farmers to learn more about new advances in agriculture and technology, obtain updated information on key issues impacting their businesses and the chance to reconnect with other farmers and friends from across Pennsylvania,” state Farm Bureau President Carl T. Shaffer said in a statement.

Ag Progress Days also includes activities and attractions such as food demonstrations, wildlife displays and children’s activities.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.