Bill Northey

The always popular Red River Farm Network “Issues and Events Center” program will be held at the East Horse Barn this year to allow for proper social distancing. Pictured is Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, speaking at Big Iron in 2018.

WEST FARGO, N.D. – Educational programs have always been an important part of the Big Iron Farm Show, and this year offers several educational chances, but in a little different format than in previous years. Some of the sessions will be held in different locations, while others will take on a purely static display.

Another popular display, the Big Iron Field Demo, which is normally held in a field south of the fairgrounds, will not take place this year due to a variety of reasons, and individual field demos will not be offered this year by private companies, with the exception of the ride and drive demos for model tractors, according to Big Iron coordinator, Emily Grunewald.

The following is a summary of this year’s Big Iron educational events:

NDSU Extension educational

According to Tom Scherer, NDSU Extension ag engineer, NDSU Extension will occupy their normal space in the front of the Hartl Ag Building.

“These will be static displays and not manned by Extension personnel, but we plan to check them every day,” he said. “The displays will include copies of publications and contact information.”

Scherer gave a brief explanation of the display topics in the Extension booth:

• New LoRaWAN technology is making it possible to remotely monitor crop growing conditions. LoRaWAN is a low-power, long-range, electronic communication system that can be used transfer sensor data from the field to the Internet. Battery-powered sensors can be placed in fields several miles from an antenna connected to the Internet so data can be monitored on a computer or cellphone. This display will include information about the equipment needed to use LoRaWAN technology to monitor soil and ambient field conditions, and how to setup the equipment to view the sensor data.

• With all the fatalities and injuries that have occurred on farms recently, a display on farm safety will highlight the work of the NDSU Farm Safety group and the new farm safety website: Grain safety is an important part of this educational effort, but new videos on being safe around PTOs on tractors and implements, dealing with COVID concerns, use of proper hand signals and safety around moving agricultural equipment are some of the topics.

• A display on subsurface drainage will include a summary of what has been learned over 10 years of research, the results of testing water that flows out of tile drains and saline soil conditions in fields next to road ditches.

Red River Farm Network ‘Issues and Events Center’

The always popular Red River Farm Network “Issues and Events Center” will again be featured this year, but in a new location. Show officials decided it would be hard to maintain the social distancing in the usual location, so this year the “Issues and Events Center” activity will be held in the East Horse Barn.

Here is a complete list of activities the three days of the show:

Tuesday, Sept. 15

• 10:30 a.m., “A Conversation with Ag Commissioners,” with N.D. Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring and Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Peterson.

• 11:30 a.m., “AgCountry FCS Seminar: Transition and Estate Planning,” featuring Andrea Zink and Bobbi Sondreal.

• 1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” with Tommy Grisafi, Advance Trading; DuWayne Bosse, Bolt Marketing; and Kristi Van Ahn-Kjeseth, Van Ahn & Co.

• 2:30 p.m., “The New Normal: What’s Next for the Land Market,” by personnel from the Farmers National Company.

Wednesday, Sept. 16

• 10:00 a.m., “A Conversation with the EPA,” featuring Region 8 administrator Gregory Sopkin and agriculture advisor Carrie Meadows.

• 10:30 a.m., “Agriculture in a Post COVID-19 World,” with Marc Knisely, AgCountry, FCS; Frayne Olson, NDSU; and Lynn Paulson, Bell Bank.

• 11:30 a.m., “AgCountry FCS Seminar: The Tax Law Changed…Again,” with Ashley Kieke.

• 1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” featuring Betsy Jensen, Northland FBM; Bryan Doherty, Total Farm Marketing; and Randy Martinson, Martinson Ag Risk Management.

• 2:30 p.m., “The New Normal: What’s Next for the Land Market,” by personnel from the Farmers National Company.

Thursday, Sept. 17

• 10:30 a.m., “Weather Outlook,” with Daryl Ritchinson, NDSU NDAWN.

• 11:30 a.m., “AgCountry FCS Seminar: Agriculture During a Pandemic,” with Ron Fronning.

• 1:30 p.m., “Market Outlook Seminar,” with Jenna Knutson, the Arthur Companies; Mike Krueger, World Perspectives; and Bret Oelke, Innovus Agra.

ACME booth

Several thousand Big Iron Farm Show visitors visit the ACME booth to learn about the latest tools for the farm and ranch, but this year that activity will not take place in the ACME building, but rather in the West Horse Barn. According to Grunewald, this switch in locations was made to avoid the heavy congestion of people and allow for social distasting required by the pandemic.

Health education

Want to run a quick check-up on your health? According to Grunewald, the services offered this year will range from diabetic screenings to detailed information on preventing a stroke. There will be a small fee charged for some of the screenings, while other services will have no charge.

Again this year, daily health screenings, hearing tests, and stroke information will be offered all three days of the Big Iron Farm Show. In addition, information on vocational rehab will be available. These services will be available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and will be held in the Horticulture Building, which for the three days of Big Iron will become the Health and Safety Center.

Check the latest Big Iron schedule of events for the most up-to-date information on the many educational events at this year’s Big Iron Farm Show.