While Husker Harvest Days has been driven online this year by the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wants constituents to know it’s still planning a batch of informational programming to fit the virtual format.
In normal times, the working farm show draws thousands of visitors, vendors and other exhibitors to the show grounds near Grand Island and Alda each September. The event is sponsored by Farm Progress, publisher of the Nebraska Farmer magazine and other farm publications; and the Agricultural Institute of Nebraska, a nonprofit organization.
This year, however, the in-person show was called off due to public health concerns.
Even so, the university, which has its own building and a robust presence at Husker Harvest Days each year, is planning a full slate of presentations as part of the virtual show Sept. 15-17.
Elements of Husker Harvest Days and its sister Farm Progress Show, which alternates yearly between show sites at Boone, Iowa, and Decatur, Illinois, will be combined in the online presentation, called the Farm Progress Virtual Experience.
The virtual show will include many elements that would have been part of the in-person events, such as field demonstrations of farm equipment recorded recently at the Nebraska and Iowa show sites. The major presentations will be posted to the website at scheduled times over the course of the three days, but then will be archived there for several months so attendees can watch at their leisure.
“Creating a virtual farm show that has value to farmers and out exhibitors is important to all of us,” said Matt Jungmann, national events director for Farm Progress, in a news release. “An important focus for the virtual event is that the field demonstration are captured on the show sites. Where the machine would have run if the show had gone on.”
Those virtually “attending” also will be able to access content provided by UNL and more than 450 other virtual exhibitors.
Registration for the virtual experience is available for free at huskerharvestdays.com.
Theme of this year’s programming by UNL and its Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources is “Knowledge That Helps Cultivate Opportunities.”
The Recorded UNL programming will be reachable either from a list of exhibitor links on the Husker Harvest Days website or directly from the Nebraska Extension website, extension.unl.edu, where it will remain available to watch on demand until February 2021, said Ron Seymour, Nebraska Extension educator in Adams County and coordinator of UNL’s Husker Harvest Days presence.
The UNL content will be generated by Nebraska Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis — all part of IANR.
“It is the hope of the Nebraska Extension, CASNR, and NCTA Husker Harvest Days teams that the information being provided will help participants increase their knowledge to help cultivate opportunities and to develop strong solutions to the diverse issues that are facing rural Nebraskans,” Seymour said.
Topics to be addressed by UNL, and the groups involved, include:
Reproduction and nutrition strategies in cattle (UNL Beef Systems)
Soil health management practices (Cover Crop/Soil Health Team)
Water management decisions (Irrigation and Water Utilization Team)
Utilizing agriculture technologies on farms to improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability (Precision Agriculture Team)
Pest management and pesticide application practices (Pest Management Team)
Farm financials education and analysis for successful operations (Department of Agricultural Economics)
Environmental impacts (Community Environment)
Mental health for agricultural producers (Rural Wellness)
Developing agricultural leadership (Nebraska LEAD Program)
Youth programs in college and career success (Career & College Readiness Team)
Choosing University of Nebraska agriculture education programs (CASNR and NCTA)