The Farm Progress Show, scheduled for Sept. 1 to Sept. 3 in Boone, Iowa, and Husker Harvest Days, scheduled for Sept. 15 to Sept. 17 in Wood River, Neb., have been canceled for 2020.
For the first time in its 65-year history, the decision was made to not have the Farm Progress Show due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently in 2020 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 U.S. 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 said. “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.”
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 said. “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.”