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Illinois Farmer Started His Own Farm Show
Last summer while working in the field Dave Barnett got an idea. He asked himself: Why not hold my own farm show right here on the farm?
He already had many of the ingredients needed. He had some 80 acres planted to corn and soybean test plots and he had diverted acres nearby to use for machinery displays. Test plots included 64 varieties of corn and 54 varieties of soybeans.
"My initial incentive was to satisfy seed dealers," says Barnett, who has set up variety test plots for the past five years. "then I get to thinking that an equipment show would just be a natural progression."
The first "Western Sangamon Farm Expo" was held September 10 with 15 exhibitors and several hundred visitors in attendance.
"I'll make it bigger and better next year. I'd like to make it a mini-Farm Progress Show for the surrounding 8 counties or so. We'll have equipment working the ground and harvesting beans," says Barnett. He also plans to have horses working - pulling moldboard plows and running a corn binder. He may also have antique tractors on dis-play.
The 15 exhibitors at the show paid from $15 to $350 to participate. Revenues generated were used to pay for lunches and helicopter rides which were offered so farmers could fly over their fields to check out their crops. "I didn't make a penny on the show, but that's not why I did it," says Barnett.
He's already off and running on next year's show, which will be held again on Sept. 10, which will be the show's date every year. New exhibitors who didn't hear about the show until after it was held, have already signed up for next year.
Barnett enjoys the chance to meet a lot of people he wouldn't normally encounter. His payoff comes from exposure to bankers and farm managers who might make new rental land available to him and from the free seed that companies are willing to donate for his variety plots. "I started plots because there are so many different varieties of seed and everyone had their own figures on which was best. How was I to make a decision? If it does well on my farm then I know I've got something."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Barnett, RR, Pleasant Plains, Ill. 62677 (ph 217 626-1180).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #1