Iowa State students set to display research, work at Farm Progress Show

Whitney Sager

The latest advancements in agricultural technology and farming practices will be showcased at the 2010 Farm Progress Show. The event runs Tuesday, Aug. 31 through Thursday, Sept. 2 in Boone.

Known as the world’s largest outdoor farm show, the Farm Progress Show brings together many agricultural companies and organizations from around the state of Iowa and the nation.

Iowa State regularly participates in the event and will have an entire hoop building filled with displays that showcase research and Extension work ISU students and faculty are working on. The theme for this year’s displays is “working together to care for our land.”

Willy Klein, Extension communication specialist, said the displays will focus on soil concepts in Iowa, including management practices to preserve the soil.

One of the exhibits that will be on display is a water bottle wall. Tyler Teske, communications specialist for the department of agronomy, said the wall will illustrate the issue of soil depletion. As more and more visitors remove water bottles from the wall, it will represent society’s act of taking nutrients and other materials out of the soil.

“Once we take something out of the wall, we take something out of the landscape,” Teske said.

Other exhibits include demonstration plots showcasing corn breeding research and edible soybean crops. Energy crops will also be on display and include giant miscanthus and other perennial grasses.

An important concept Teske is hoping visitors take away from the displays is what they can do to improve soil quality.

“They can make small changes in what they’re doing that have a huge impact on the soil,” Teske said.

Both Klein and Teske encourage people to attend the Farm Progress Show.

“If people are interested in the future of agriculture, it’s all there on display,” Klein said.


Help fight hunger:

Visitors of the Farm Progress Show not only have the chance to learn about the latest advancements in agriculture, but they also have the chance to help families in need.

The Farm Progress Show is teaming up with Monsanto and the United Way of Story County to collect food to be donated to 13 food pantries in Story County and two in Boone County.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Monsanto and Farm Progress Show,” said Jean Kresse, president and CEO of United Way of Story County.

Between the struggling economy and the impact of the recent floods, Kresse said it is getting harder and harder for many families to stretch a dollar.

“Food pantries are helping to fill the gap they’re no longer able to fill,” Kresse said.

In the past year, one food pantry in Story County has seen an 18-percent increase in the number of families that come there each month.

For every pound of food that is donated, Monsanto will donate $1 to United Way of Story County and the food pantries.

“We want to support farmers and their families in any way we can,” said Linda Arnold, customer outreach lead at Monsanto.

All farmers who bring a bag of food to the show will receive a hat, and all National FFA Organization members who bring a bag of food will receive free admission to the show.

Collection centers for donations will also be set up at United Way of Story County, 315 Clark Ave. in Ames, as well as grocery stores in Ames, Boone and Madrid. Participating grocery stores include Cub Foods, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Walmart Supercenter and Market of Madrid.

A food drive was also conducted at the 2009 Farm Progress Show, with the equivalent of more than 42,000 pounds of food collected, Arnold said.

“We had a great reaction last year and hopefully we’ll have the same reaction this year,” Arnold said.


Farm Progress Show times:

Tuesday, Aug. 31 and Wednesday, Sept. 1— 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 2 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets (per day):

Adults — $10

Students, ages 13-17 — $5

Age 12 and under — Free

Find directions here.