Western Farm Show equipment display

The 57th annual Western Farm Show is scheduled for Feb. 23-25 in Kansas City. A broad range of farm equipment will be on display for viewing.

The Western Farm Show returns to the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Mo., for its 57th year, Feb. 23-25.

Show manager Ken Dean says this year’s show gives people a chance to see the latest equipment and technology, as well as several other education and entertainment options. He says precision ag technology is a big draw at the show.

“Several years ago when precision ag started, I think then it was a novelty,” Dean says. “… Once it became more valuable and they saw how it could help them get more bushels per acre, now it’s a way of life.”

The goal of most producers is how to get more out of the acres they have, he says.

“Ten years ago versus today, that guy with the same acre is probably getting more bushels per acre,” he says. “With the population increase as it is, they need to get more out of the land we have.”

The show is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 25. The show’s website, www.westernfarmshow.com, has more information.

The show is located at the American Royal in Kansas City’s West Bottoms area, by the site of the old Kansas City Stockyards.

Dean says the people who come to the show seem to enjoy the tradition of coming to Kansas City and the social aspect.

“First and foremost, people like to come to Kansas City,” he says.“It can be entertaining, but it’s also an event. A lot of those farmers like to come together at the show. Farmers and ranchers, they can come to an event like ours and network. They can talk with vendors, and they can get smarter about agriculture.”

Dean says farmers and ranchers can get a lot out of those face-to-face interactions with vendors at the show.

Another popular event is the MFA low-stress livestock handling demonstrations. Ron Gill, of Texas A&M, leads the demonstrations, which have drawn standing-room-only crowds. The demonstrations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Scott Pavilion adjacent to the American Royal Complex.

Gill shows tips for handling cattle smoothly and talks about how the low-stress approach can be beneficial for the cattle and producers.

“As Dr. Gill would say, a healthy cow is a profitable cow,” Dean says. “They can take that information to their farms the next day.”

Saturday also features the Culinary Center of Kansas City cooking show, held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Wagstaff Theater in the Central Hall.

Friday is FFA Day and features a canned and nonperishable food “Border Battle.” FFA members from Missouri and Kansas are encouraged to bring canned and nonperishable food items to be donated to Harvesters Community Food Network.

The Western Farm Show lets people see and learn about what’s new in agriculture. Dean says that’s a big reason why the show has been a success through the years, drawing attendees from across the Midwest.

“That is the benefit of an event like ours,” he says. “Probably every new product available for 2018 will be represented. Farmers and ranchers, they get a chance to see, touch, feel these products and see how they can benefit their farms and ranches.”

Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.