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Electric vehicles impress at Farm News Ag Show

CJ Bio America gives back as ag show sponsor

-Messenger photo by Lori Berglund
Todd Anderson, left, and Andy Sheffield of CJ Bio America were on hand as show sponsors for the CJ Bio Amererica Farm News Ag Show during the show’s two-day run at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Cutting-edge technology, new ideas, and a chance to talk about all things farmers talk about when they gather — from the markets to the weather — put a sheen on the final day of the CJ Bio America Farm News Ag Show at the Webster County Fairgrounds Saturday.

Farmers turned out to have something good to eat, from pancakes in the morning to beef at noon, and to hear from all the exhibitors and speakers who took to the stage.

Matt Johnson, of Fort Dodge Ford, was first up on Saturday and had farmers kicking the tires and talking about the prospects of Ford’s new EV F150. Long after Johnson’s presentation, farmers were still walking around the gleaming truck that may not be right for everyone, but sure prompted plenty of interest.

“I like this pickup,” said Rick Hotz, Clare. “I don’t know enough about electric vehicles, but I was just at the Cenex annual meeting in Minneapolis and that was the big subject. It will take time, but it’s good to learn more.”

Dan Kramer, of Fort Dodge, was impressed with the presentation.

-Messenger photo by Lori Berglund
Duane Davis and Herb Dowse of Answer Ag were on hand to help farmers learn more about how to put drones to work on the farm.

“Actually, I have rode in this truck and it’s nice,” Kramer said.

Kramer said he has friends and family members who drive vehicles with many different power sources. From traditional gas engines, to hybrids to diesel, and now electric, Kramer said it’s up to individuals to decide what’s right for them.

Johnson couldn’t agree more. EVs are an emerging choice in the market and Johnson sought to help the crowd learn more about the option.

To anyone who looks under the hood of an EV for the first time, it can be a surprise. Instead of a big, internal combustion engine, there’s a “Frunk,” for “front trunk.” There’s room for storage and even a cooler with a drain. On this EV, the engine is replaced by dual electric motors on each axle.

Johnson clearly enjoyed engaging with the crowd, taking questions, and noting that electric vehicles are simply one more choice in the marketplace, filled with many options.

-Messenger photo by Lori Berglund
Rick Hotz takes a look at the "Frunk," or "front trunk," of a new EV F150 pickup truck. Instead of one internal combustible engine, the EV truck has two electric motors, one for each axle.

“This is just one part of our portfolio,” Johnson said. “We have something for everybody.”

CJ Bio America gives back to community

CJ Bio America served as sponsor again this year and will be back as sponsor in 2024. Todd Anderson, senior external relations coordinator for CJ Bio America, said the company enjoys giving back to the community.

Meeting farmers and business people visiting the show was the fun part for Anderson.

“I like the networking aspect,” Anderson said. “It’s great to come out and talk to farmers, manufacturers, and get to know people.”

-Messenger photo by Lori Berglund
Dr. Don Heck, of the Iowa Fuel Lab at Iowa Central Community College, helped farmers learn more about the role of fuel testing and the new state lab going up on U.S. Highway 169 in Fort Dodge.

The show was also a chance to help visitors learn more about what CJ Bio America does and how it works with other local businesses.

“New Co-op is one of our business partners,” Anderson said. “We produce a liquid fertilizer for them. And this show has been great because people have come in and said, ‘I love your product.'”

Being a part of the show, and helping make it happen every year with Farm News, has been an enjoyable venture, according to Anderson.

“We really enjoy being part of Fort Dodge, Webster County, and we love to give back to this community,” he said.

Drones see rapid growth

Sky Drones USA was another exhibitor offering a look at new and emerging technology. Herb Dowse, co-founder of Answer Ag in St. Ansgar, was happy to explain how drones can be utilized on today’s farms.

“You can use this spraying anything you need to put down,” Dowse said. “You can also seed cover crops.”

Smaller drones, which are used to inspect for crop health, were also on display. Farmers can use the drones to look for deficiencies, stand counts, or whatever they want to know about how a crop is faring.

Dowse predicts rapid growth in the industry. In the not-so-distant future, Dowse predicted that most farmers would be utilizing drones to assist in their farming operations.

Larry Bullock and Bill Lilienthal of Weisberg Implement and Supply brought their own mascot, Jade, an Australian cattle dog, with them as they chatted with farmers visiting the show. Jade was a friendly ambassador welcoming visitors to the booth.

“It’s always nice to come out and talk with people, tell them what we have to offer,” Bullock said. “Everybody’s been really great.”

Weisberg had a sizable setup for the show, from augers outside to a line-up of Bad Boy mowers inside. But that’s not all the company offers.

“If you want it, we can build it,” Lilienthal said.

Visitors to the show also had an opportunity to hear about the new State Fuel Testing Lab under construction by Iowa Central Community College. The lab is going up north of Tom Thumb drive-in on U.S. Highway 169 and is set for completion in late summer or early 2024, according to Dr. Don Heck, director of the lab for Iowa Central

“We are the lab for the state of Iowa,” Heck said. “We test fuels for quality and make sure they meet all the standards to be legal. We will also trouble-shoot when there are problems.”

The show enjoyed another good run and exhibitors are looking forward to coming back in 2024.

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