Retrospective: The 47th Farm Science Review

Variable weather is territory for those in the ag industry, but a little rain didn’t threaten the turnout at the Farm Science Review (FSR) this week. Rain or shine, you can depend on a farmer.

In fact, the annual event welcomed nearly 139,000 visitors, 8,000 more visitors than during the previous year.

For three days, visitors checked out exhibitions, bought equipment and witnessed the most recent technology on the market to expand their agricultural know-how.

The 80-acre exhibiting lot at the Molly Caren Agricultural Career Center in London, Ohio, was filled to capacity, housing 600 displays.

“Exhibitors are thrilled to be here. They love the grounds and are making contacts with the visitors," said FSR manager Chuck Gamble, during the event.

Despite the difficult economy, many farmers use the event as a one-stop shop for equipment and supply purchasing, specifically waiting to buy vital business items at FSR.

“A lot of farmers are purchasing on site, “ said Candace Pollock, FSR media coordinator. “It’s indicative of the positive atmosphere of the agriculture industry right now.”

Industry members also used the event as a networking opportunity.

"Exhibitors have been very pleased with the business contacts they've made with farmers," said Matt Sullivan, FSR assistant manager.

Event coordinators heavily utilized social media throughout the festival, continually offering status updates and informing Web users about upcoming shows and demos via Twitter, facebook and Flickr.

From health screenings, to wildflower identification analysis, to grain-bin rescue demonstrations, FSR delivered again in the interactive department. One visitor compared FSR’s assortment of activities as similar to a “carnival atmosphere.”

Many young people turned out for the region’s largest farm festival: as many as 1,700 high school and home-school students visited the first day alone, according to event coordinators, which is more than 2008’s three-day total. Pollock said event staffers had difficulty keeping educational brochures stocked in several locations.

The urgency of the passage of State Issue 2 was on full display with yard signs strategically placed at almost every booth. Even young activists that can’t even vote were urging attendees to vote for State Issue 2.

More than 30 media outlets attended to cover the event, including Brownfield Ag Network, Ohio Farmer and Successful Farming magazines; Cincinnati Public Radio, ABN and WOSU radio; Ag Day and U.S. Farm Report; and multiple daily newspapers to name a few. In the coming days, it will be interesting to read and listen to the reviews.

If you attended, what did you think about FSR? What would you have liked to see more/less of?

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