Husker Harvest Days, billed as the world’s largest working farm show, opens just west of Grand Island on Tuesday and runs through Thursday.
Husker Harvest Days is always a special time as thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors come to Central Nebraska. This year, especially, the show also will serve as a respite for farmers from the struggles of a difficult year.
Flooding and a blizzard in March ruined swaths of farmland and killed cattle and calves. Flooding also hit in July and August in some areas.
In many areas, planting was delayed and crop development is behind that of other years.
On top of that, a U.S. trade dispute with China has impacted prices and created uncertainty in ag markets.
Husker Harvest Days, though, provides a great learning environment for farmers and can encourage them about the future of agriculture.
Through the many vendors, businesses and educators at Husker Harvest Days, farmers can see the latest in equipment and technology and also hear about research findings and ways to improve practices.
Farm Progress, with assistance from the city of Grand Island, has made vast improvements to the HHD site. The improvements, unveiled at last year’s show, help the show deal with wet weather.
The site now has paved streets, a sewer and stormwater detention system, underground wiring, increased electrical capacity and other improvements that were part of the $7.5 million upgrade.
New this year is an International Visitors Center. Every year, HHD has visitors from other countries and the center will stress the importance of international markets to the ag industry.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the extension service will also have a large presence at HHD as UNL is celebrating its 150th year in 2019.
Farming can be a laborious occupation. Farmers are at the mercy of the weather and international markets, two things over which they have no control.
At Husker Harvest Days, though, they can see and hear about things they can control, such as farming practices, livestock handling, equipment, the latest technology and ways to improve safety.
And what makes HHD special is that visitors can see many of these practices demonstrated in the fields as actual crops are harvested and livestock are handled.
HHD is always a busy time in Grand Island. But it is a great time to welcome visitors and encourage the people who supply the food that Americans and people around the world enjoy.