June 29th, 2020- For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. However, for the first time in its history, the show won’t go on. The show was scheduled to take place at its bi-annual home in Boone, Iowa this year with the show returning to Decatur in 2021.
According to the show, in the best interest of its visitors, exhibitors, partners, and staff, Farm Progress has made the difficult decision to cancel both shows in 2020 due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently with physical distancing a requirement, along with other health and safety changes to the events.
While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, Senior Vice President, Farm Progress said that in a very short time it became apparent that the situation across the US had rapidly changed.
“We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events,” Tourte says. “They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the events this year, but feel confident that this is the right decision for our community.”
One of the key features of both shows is their attraction to visitors from across the country, and across the globe.
“Within days of our commitment to hold both farm shows, more than half the United States saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19. We have a multi-generational audience that travels from all across the country and around the world to attend the shows and based on that we felt it better to reconsider the traditional show for 2020 to prioritize the safety of all. Our community’s safety is our priority, always,” said Matt Jungmann, Events Manager, Farm Progress.
“Within the next two weeks, tents and other work would be underway on site. We had to make a decision based on the current landscape so that our exhibitors and suppliers wouldn’t potentially waste valuable time and resources,” said Jungmann. “While we are hopeful that case numbers throughout the country will decrease soon, we felt compelled to make a proactive decision on our community’s behalf, given the information we have today.”
A virtual experience was already being planned as an extension to the live event. Jungmann explains that while a virtual event won’t give growers the true “tire kicking” experience of being at the show, the events team is gearing up to deliver a robust and dynamic digital experience.
“Market factors are changing fast, and we’ll have more information in the coming weeks about how our virtual experience will be expanded,” Jungmann says. “We have 400 acres of corn at two sites that have to be harvested. Ground that must be tilled. We’re looking at all of our options to ensure we keep our community connected and engaged.”