Changing conditions cancel farm shows
Farm Progress Show now canceled
BOONE — A few short weeks after making the announcement that the Farm Progress Show would be held, show organizers reneged on that decision.
“The primary thing was the big spikes we were seeing in Florida, Texas and Arizona as those states opened up and the curve started going the wrong way,” said Matt Jungmann, events manager for Farm Progress. “It was that coupled with the fact we had lost some of our volunteer groups and we had lost some of our exhibitors.”
Jungmann said he doesn’t regret making the previous announcement that the Farm Progress Show would be held.
“Us coming out and strongly saying we were moving forward with the show was a good thing because it forced everybody to show their hand and what was going to be left in terms of being able to operate the show with volunteers and what we were going to have left in terms of exhibitors, it wasn’t going to be a Farm Progress Show that we could be proud of or our exhibitors or visitors be satisfied with,” he said. “It left us in a position where we had to cancel the in-person event for this year.”
Although changing their minds in such a short amount of time may seem like an erratic decision, Jungmann said not only is the success of the show and exhibitors important, but the safety of everyone involved.
“Within the next two weeks, tents and other work would be underway on site,” he said. “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.”
While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, senior vice president for Farm Progress, said that in a very short time it became apparent 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,” he said. “They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the event this year, but feel confident that this is right decision for our community.”
A virtual experience was already being planned as an extension to the live event. Jungmann said while a virtual event won’t give growers the true “tire kicking” experience 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,” he 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.”
A virtual show, Jungmann said, could have some advantages.
“There’s nothing like an in-person event and we will be excited to be back in an in-person event next year, but maybe this is something that can be up and accessible for viewing all year,” he said.
Jungmann said he is appreciative of all the support they have received from the state of Iowa and Boone County as well as everyone that was involved with the effort to have the Farm Progress Show.
“It’s a big disappointment to all of us, but we are going to try to make the best of it and we look forward to being back in Boone in 2022,” he said.
Jungmann said it is estimated to be a $15 million loss to the Boone County and surrounding area with the cancellation of the show.