Something Old, Something New at Farm Shows

People-pleasing attractions inject new energy into farm shows.

| November 2015

  • Plowing is part of the “One Year in 60 Minutes” presentation put on at the Albert City (Iowa) Threshermen and Collectors show.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Aerial view of the “One Year in 60 Minutes” presentation at Albert City.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • In this presentation at the Orange Spectacular, Hutchinson, Minn., visitors learn about the Allis-Chalmers All-Crop harvester.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The 2015 youth tractor restoration class, the largest since the program began in 2011.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The 2015 class’ finished project: a 1962 Case 430.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Youngsters with the “before” project: a 1962 Case 430.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Bruce Nelson (back center) works with students in the restoration class.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The fundamentals of steam engine operation are among classes offered at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, Vista, Calif.
    Photo courtesy Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum
  • Safety spotters are on hand at all events during the Mid-Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn. show.
    Photo courtesy Mid-Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn.

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.”