For the first time in its more than 65-year history, Farm Progress announced that its annual Farm Progress Show has been cancelled for 2020, along with Husker Harvest Days, in the wake of a rising tide of coronavirus cases around the country.
According to the Farm Progress website, “In the best interest of our visitors, exhibitors, partners and staff, Farm Progress has made the difficult decision to cancel both shows in 2020 due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise to many. Just two weeks before the cancellation announcement, the 2020 Farm Progress Show was confirmed as a “Go,” giving hope to many that the largest outdoor farm show in the United States would again be the economic boon many expect it to be. (On a typical year, it’s estimated that more than 150,000 people attend the three-day show, and there are more than 500 exhibitors.) However, with the recent spike in the corornavirus outbreak across the United States and after talks with both Iowa and Nebraska officials, the administration made the hard decision to cancel the event.
“Within days of our commitment to hold both farm shows, more than half the United States saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19. We have a multi-generational audience that travels from all across the country and around the world to attend the shows and based on that we felt it better to reconsider the traditional show for 2020 to prioritize the safety of all. Our community’s safety is our priority, always,” said Matt Jungmann, Events Manager at Farm Progress.
Like so many other canceled events, the Farm Progress Show will be moving online to try to continue its education and outreach to its community. Although you can’t fit everything into a computer screen, there are still ways to expand into a digital atmosphere. As they say, the show must go on.
“Market factors are changing fast, and we’ll have more information in the coming weeks about how our virtual experience will be expanded,” Jungmann says. “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.”
In a normal year, the Farm Progress Show location alternates between Decatur, Illinois, and Boone, Iowa. This year’s event was to be held in Iowa. Husker Harvest Days is normally held at Grand Island, Nebraska.