Farm Progress Show showcases ISU's people, research

For the first time since 2018, Iowa State will be in Boone for the Farm Progress Show next week. After the 2020 show was canceled due to the pandemic, agronomy department chair Kendall Lamkey is excited to bring ISU professionals together to share their work with a national and international agricultural audience. Iowa hosts the event in even years, rotating with Decatur, Illinois.

Farm Progress Show

When: Aug. 30-Sept. 1

Where: 1827 217th St., Boone

Tickets: Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for students 13-17. Those 12 and younger are free.

A team of ISU specialists will be on hand to help explain the latest in carbon science and answer questions from the public. The show is expected to draw an estimated 150,000 people over three days.

"This is a chance for all of us to be together at the show," said Lamkey, who has helped chair the planning committee since 2010. "I consider this an Iowa State event that gives us a chance to interact with people. We focus on hands-on displays so we can engage with them."

The Iowa State exhibit covers nearly 6,000 square feet designed to showcase the latest agricultural research and technology. A planning committee of about 25 people met for a year to plan the exhibit at the event, billed as the largest outdoor farm show in the nation.

More than 135 faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and ISU Extension and Outreach specialists will be at the show Aug. 30-Sept. 1 to present on nine content areas:

  • Water quality
  • Weeds 
  • Plant health 
  • Digital agriculture 
  • Farmland ownership trends
  • Weather and climate
  • Monarch butterflies
  • Carbon
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The areas are a mixture of traditional and new topics. The monarch, water quality and digital ag displays have become staples at the show. This year, the digital ag display includes an insect identification mobile app that will be able to detect more than 1,000 insects through a photo. Designed by agronomy assistant professor Arti Singh and her team, the app tells the user if the insect is beneficial or a pest.

"You can take a picture of the insect at just about any stage to identify it," Lamkey said.

This year's new exhibits include plant health, weather and climate, and carbon. The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll conducted yearly by ISU sociologists will be shared at the show for the first time. The poll measures rural perspectives about farming and issues important to farmers. The information is presented in a quiz format and includes facts like half the farmland in the state is owned by women, Lamkey said.

He sees the show as an opportunity for ISU representatives to take a different role over three days.

"I want them to spend time listening because so often we are doing, but it is important to listen," he said. "It's a two-way street, and hearing what is at the top of people's minds is important. As they get to know us, they can equate Iowa State with excellence in agriculture."