Something Old, Something New at Farm Shows

People-pleasing attractions inject new energy into farm shows.

| November 2015

Want to boost attendance at your farm show? Get young people involved? Engage visitors in new ways? Help a new generation learn about traditional farming? Take a tip from clubs that are thinking outside the box.

A year of farming in 60 minutes

The Albert City, Iowa, Threshermen and Collector (ACTAC) show has a long history as a working event, explains Connie Reinert, a director on the ACTAC board. In 2013, the club used that strength as a springboard, when two volunteers came up with the idea of using old iron to demonstrate one year of farm work in 60 minutes.

Each year since, the show’s featured machinery is used in a 60-minute exhibition. In 2013, International Harvester was featured, followed by John Deere in 2014 and Oliver/Hart-Parr/White in 2015 (coinciding with the national Oliver/Hart-Parr show held in Albert City). In 2016, the presentation will feature horses and horse-drawn equipment.

In a typical demonstration, the audience listens closely as an announcer explains activity in the field. The field is divided into three sections; one section is used each day of the show. “Each demonstration follows the order of work done in a year of farming, so some activities are going on at the same time,” Connie says. “Once each activity ends, those volunteers leave their area, as there is still a lot of other action going on.”

If an end-gate seeder is available, wheat seed will be thrown out; if a working planter is on-site, corn will be planted. Harvest activities are always shown on the wheat field.

“The old-timers like to watch and reminisce,” Connie says. “The demonstration is also popular with families, because grandparents and parents have a chance to show the younger ones how farming used to be done. Those who didn’t grow up on a farm really get a chance to see all the work and all the steps that went into one year of farming. It’s fun to see the broad range of ages represented in the people on the field and in the stands.”