By MELISSA HART
HOWE, Ind. — An estimated 6,500 farming enthusiasts attended the first annual Midwest Farm Expo held Dec. 6-8, 2012, in Howe. Coordinator Robert Mishler said he considered it a great first year: “The vendors were all happy.”
Vendors from all areas of the agricultural industry filled the Michiana Event Center, where visitors enjoyed the indoor venue during the cold days of December. From large farm equipment of all colors to cattle handling equipment, to seed companies and everything in between, exhibitors from all areas of agriculture were represented.
Because Michigan doesn’t have an indoor farm show during the winter, Mishler thought a farm expo such as this would offer a great meeting venue and networking opportunity for area farmers and the businesses that serve the agricultural industry.
Dec. 6 was coined “Dairy Day” with seminars that focused on serving the industry. Jon Zirkle of Michigan State University extension taught a seminar on forages covering irrigated forages, ways to stretch forage supplies this winter, spring seeding, management of forage mycotoxins and several other topics.
Dr. Emilie Blough, DVM from Goshen, Ind., stepped in and provided expertise on herd heath basics and the benefits of a good relationship with one’s vet. Dr. Craig Thomas, PhD, MSU extension educator from Sandusky, covered the importance of a quality water source for dairy cattle and a brief update on dairy markets.
It was a capacity crowd on Dec. 7 when the MSU extension educator team of Zirkle and Bruce MacKellar, along with Purdue University extension specialist Steve Engleking, presented a seminar on sprayer safety, new weeds to watch, getting rid of unwanted pests and threats to corn and soybean crops. Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) credits were offered at these seminars for Michigan residents, while Private Applicator Recertification Program (PARP) credits were offered for Indiana farmers.
The Friday afternoon seminars included estate planning with George Bewley of Bewley and Koday of Fort Wayne, while Lyndon Kelley, MSU extension irrigation educator, spoke on making irrigation profitable on the farm.
The annual Plato Consignment Auction was the highlight on Dec. 8, where nearly 1,500 people braved the cold to bid and buy. This annual farm equipment consignment auction was the centerpiece of the three-day farm expo.
While no date has been set for 2013, Mishler said, “I’m very happy with the turnout for our first year. There’s always room for growth and improvement, but we think it’s going well. With the success and popularity of this event in its first year, we will definitely be doing it again next year.”
For those who want to be involved as a vendor or for more information for next year, call Mishler at 260-632-7576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org