LONDON, Ohio — Under sunny skies for three days, visitors to the 56th annual Farm Science Review took a break from harvest to learn about the latest innovations in agriculture and to shade their faces beneath the brim of free foam hats shaped like ears of corn.
Farm Science Review, held Sept. 18-20, drew 108,074 visitors, who came to admire new machinery and learn about techniques and trends, test-drive all-terrain vehicles, and talk about soybean tariffs and taxes. Though it didn’t rain this year as it did during much of last year’s show, clear skies kept some farmers in the field harvesting.
Water coolers drained as the mercury rose each day of the farm show sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
While farm income nationwide is projected to dip, plunging 50 percent in 2018 compared to the 2013 level, and soybean tariffs are squeezing out markets, there are always new tractors, combines and equipment to see that might offset any pessimism. The Review offered that plus a range of educational presentations to help growers weather tough financial times.
“As farmers and producers pay closer attention to their bottom lines this year, Farm Science Review was a good resource for them,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of the Review. “Along with showcasing the latest trends and technologies in agriculture, CFAES and other experts led sessions on profitability, trade, tariffs and the farm bill.”
This year’s show attracted 636 exhibitors in an area that was expanded by 20 acres.
At a show where farmers learned about reducing input costs, administering antibiotics to their livestock and marketing local foods, among other topics, avid gardeners gathered tips on growing fruit in their backyards, attracting hummingbirds and beekeeping.
“Visitors were able to experience everything from test-driving utility vehicles to seeing the latest equipment run in field demonstrations,” Zachrich said. “There was truly something here for everyone in agriculture to improve their operations.”
Among the new offerings at this year’s show were experts who taught beef quality assurance, a certification that’s increasingly becoming important for beef producers.
More combines spread across fields this year, harvesting corn 12 rows at a time in one of the many field demonstrations of cutting-edge equipment. Attendees at the show perused components of autonomous tractors and heard talks about farm estate planning and the effect climate change is having on agriculture.
Ron Bates, who raises cattle and pigs on his Sarahsville farm in eastern Ohio, hadn’t been to the Review since he was in high school nearly 20 years ago. This time he brought his two sons: Cyler, 11, and Casen, 2, both of whom were most intrigued by the cattle — not surprisingly — at one of the exhibits. Then they headed to the tractors, Bates said.
“It’s time for them to see farming and larger equipment.”