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Prairie Farmer magazine, a flagship of Farm Progress Companies, was instrumental in the development of the Farm Progress Show. Early in 1953, Prairie Farmer joined forces with WLS-Radio in Chicago with the idea to host a farm event even better than the mechanical corn picking contests taking place around the Midwest at that time. It is this group who is credited with creating the idea of hosting a field day where farmers could see first-hand the progress being made in farming equipment, along with seed varieties and ag chemicals.
The first Farm Progress Show took place on October 2, 1953 on the Earl Bass farm in Armstrong, Illinois and hosted over 75,000 visitors. This show offered folks an opportunity to see equipment, seed and chemicals as well as fire-fighting demonstrations, sheep dog trials, stage entertainment, a fiddlers’ contest and even the WLS Barn Dance. In subsequent years, the show evolved to include seed test plots and field demonstrations. While the programs have changed throughout the years, we’ve stayed true to American Agriculture and to bringing the best of American Agriculture to our audience.
The 2005 show marked the first show at its permanent biennial Decatur, Ill. site and hosted more than 500 exhibitors. The Decatur site was expanded for the 2007 show to host more than 600 exhibitors and record numbers of show visitors. The latest milestone for the show occurred with the establishment of a second feature-filled permanent biennial site near Boone, Iowa. The show now rotates between the Decatur and Boone sites and offers two excellent, long-term, weather-resistant facilities for the nation's largest outdoor farm show. Both show locations have been designed with highly developed infrastructures and conveniences for exhibitors and show visitors.
Today, the Farm Progress Show enjoys a long and rich history. This major agriculture event gives visitors the opportunity to see the latest equipment, seed, crop chemicals, field demonstrations, livestock handling and equine events, Ride ‘n Drive, rural life programs and entertainment, arts and crafts, and more. Farmers and ranchers from across North America and around the world visit the Farm Progress Show to see agriculture’s latest product introductions, meet face-to-face with agribusiness professionals and gain hands-on knowledge.