15 August 2014 - Let’s Go to the Fair

My, how time flies! It is just a couple of months ago that I was saying “The good times are approaching. . . County & State Fair time and outdoor farm show time.” Now the times are here. As a matter of fact, this past week I had the opportunity to do all three.

I visited a County Fair, spent two days at the Illinois State Fair and spent a day in Steven’s Point at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. That’s the big outdoor farm show in Wisconsin that I believe is the last major outdoor farm show that changes location every year. Each year, farmers in a different part of America’s Dairyland host this three-day event.

At the Illinois State Fair I visited with a lot of people that I see once a year, at the Fair. I witnessed a historic event for the Fair . . . I saw my first-ever $100,000.00 Grand Champion Steer, shown by Shaelye Varner (it’s pronounced Shaeley) a 12-year-old girl with the cutest smile you will ever see, and that smile probably helped, as the bidders kept driving the price higher and higher. Last year the steer brought a record $62,000.00; this year it got up to about $96,000.00 and then the bidding slowed down. At that point, the two contending bidders got a little tired, so AT&T and Monsanto DeKalb Asgrow, who were bidding together said “Let’s make it an even $100,000.00.” Yes, the good times were here for Shaelye Varner on a history-making night.

The Wisconsin Farm Technology Days gave me and thousands of producers an opportunity to see the latest technology, hay making equipment, and two host farms, one of them specialized in potato and fruit & vegetable production and the other, what else in Wisconsin, dairy production. I spent my time at the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Beef tent with a lot of great people in the cattle and dairy beef business.

The main topic of conversation at all three events I attended was the ideal growing weather and great crop conditions. I flew in Air Orion, my Cessna 210, to both Stevens Point and Springfield. We flew at 3,500 feet so I got a good look at crops over a spread of 300 miles and I have never in my lifetime seen the fields this lush and green this late in the growing season. If there is no weather catastrophe between now and November, we will see our biggest crops in history!

Yes, my good times are here; I hope yours are, too. Regardless of what the critics say about county and state fairs, they are an important social event, an important educational event, and they deserve to receive our continued support. So, have a good time at the fairs and the outdoor farm shows. We’ll see you next at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

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