Monday, May 20, 2024

Drones to be featured at North American Farm Show in Owatonna

Drone technology will be highlighted at this week’s North American Farm & Power Show in Owatonna.

Included in the 157 companies represented at one of Minnesota’s largest farm shows are two drone companies, according to Brock Nelson, the show’s organizer. The drone companies will highlight crop spraying and aerial seeding, he said.

Nelson said the new and exciting drone technology that has been around for several years is finally practical for farmers to utilize in their normal operations.

There are 37 new companies coming into this year’s show, Nelson said. He noted there will be 301 indoor displays and nine outdoor displays.

He added that the show is currently at capacity with several on a waiting list to get in.

Besides the displays, there will also be seminars provided by the University of Minnesota Extension and Linder Farm Network. Some of the topics include farm business succession planning, commercial animal waste technician re-certification, taming the wild west of carbon markets and climate management.

The show aims to “create a marketplace where farmers can compare and contrast different types of equipment,” Nelson said, adding the show allows farmers to meet vendors in person so they can get the precise answers they are looking for.

The show gets underway Thursday and continues through Saturday at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Nelson expects at least 14,000 people to attend the three-day show, which has been rebuilding since being knocked out in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

The show attracts primarily farmers from a 100-mile radius extending across southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin.

For the first time ever at the show, the Steele County American Dairy Association will be selling its famous malts. Other concessions will be available courtesy of the Owatonna Youth Hockey Association and a taco wagon will be outside.

Tradeexpos, the Austin-based company that runs the show, also operates two other major farm shows in Topeka, Kansas and Fort Wayne, Ind. Nelson said attendance at the outstate shows has been “significantly up from previous years.” He added they’re hoping to exceed last year’s Owatonna show.

“I’m nervously calm about it,” Nelson said about a week prior to the show.

Nelson has found farmers are “pretty optimistic” heading into the new planting season after the past three years of above average harvests. “Overall, we are doing pretty good compared to other parts of the country,” he said.

There will be daily grand prize drawings: leaf blower bundle, trimmer bundle, and chainsaw bundle. The prizes are given out by Miner’s Outdoor of Blooming Prairie.

This is the 24th year of the show with the past 21 in Owatonna. The show was previously held in downtown Minneapolis.

There will be a second farm show in Steele County later this summer. The North Star Ag Expo will take place July 25-27 at Ritchie Brothers in Medford. Last year was the first time Tradeexpos started a summer show. Nelson said even though the show didn’t have the momentum of the other shows, they are hoping for better results this year.



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