Summertime is fun, right? For farmers it’s not only a time to cut hay for animal feed, fix equipment, and knock out the daily chores, but it’s a great time to learn and grow as a producer.
Field day events across the nation bring together farmers and dealers to see what’s happening in agriculture, spotlighting an array of new technology and new products. One of the most popular reasons farmers attends are the field show demonstrations. Last year, events were sparse with not much equipment on hand due to the limited supply of microchips. Therefore, dealers did not have much equipment to sell or spare for field show demonstrations.
It’s hopeful the microchip issue will be resolved in the not-too-distant future, but at least this year, new equipment is making demonstrations happening again.
A field show in South Dakota welcomed over 10,000 people for free to learn what new technologies are happening in agriculture. The event, Ag PhD Field Day (which, not coincidentally, is where AGDAILY launched in 2016), showcased research of dozens of test plots in corn, soybeans, sunflowers, and even mint. The showstopper, however, was the equipment, especially the grain cart with no one behind the wheel. Yes! You heard it, a self-driving tractor.
Finding people to work on the farm is becoming more of a challenge, and this is one way farmers are managing it while still growing America’s food. Self-driving equipment is a way that’s moving precision agriculture forward. There are many areas technology being used on the farm, but with using computers, data gathering, and satellite imagery can help maximize farmers resources.
While Ag PhD Field Day is sizable, the nation’s largest outdoor farm event is in Iowa this year at the end of August. The Farm Progress Show, which can have close to 50,000 visitors, offers many opportunities to see new products and practices. In fact, 97 percent show visitors said it’s a reason they came to the show, according to a survey from the 2019 event.
Networking is also another way farmers learn what practices are best for them to implement in their operations, big or small. Connecting with folks from many states offer farmers a mini-vacation and to socialize. In summer months, and especially fall for grain growers, not many farmers are able to get off the farm. It’s a big family reunion, for famers and companies alike.
The weather is often a conversation starter, especially when some states facing a drought. Alternatives are typically discussed with these conditions, including investing in soil health. Growers want to keep the land productive for future generations. With more land being developed and less land to farm on, it’s important for farmers to keep in mind solutions to increase yields facing the many challenges.
Learning from each other is key to continuing the farm operation. Often, field show events include learning sessions when growers can hear from a person of a potential solution. It’s truly the connections in the agriculture community that allow progress to keep moving forward to feed the world.
Farmer-led innovation is important with collaboration, the goal of many of these field show events. According to a recent study, it was found engagement among farmers, scientists, and engineers are important. Bringing together people of many different backgrounds are important to share and learn amongst each other.
Continuing the conversation is important from summer into the fall months from learning moments like event field shows.
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is a farmer, public speaker and writer who has worked for years with row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.