The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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July 20, 2012

SLIDESHOW: Drought on minds of Four State Farm Show visitors

Crowds turn out for 38th annual event

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Visitors to the Four State Farm Show on Friday were examining farm equipment for prices and the latest advances.

But at the front of the minds of many was the drought.

The event, south of Pittsburg, continues through Sunday.

Farming is a second career for David Adams, of Delaware, Okla. He said he started farming seriously after retiring from a company job. At one time, he farmed 250 acres.

“I’m learning a lot, even though I’m almost 70 years old,” Adams said.

He said he tries to make it to the farm show every year. This year, he’s shopping for tools.

“You can get a good discount,” he said.

RAIN NEEDED

He said he hasn’t given up on his soybean crop, though rain is needed — soon.

“I double-cropped wheat and beans,” he said. “Right now the beans are doing all right.”

Dennis Brown, of Girard, was comparing prices on farm equipment.

“We need rain real, real bad,” he said. He said the corn crop was dismal.

“If we don’t get rain in the next week to 10 days, there probably won’t even be a soybean harvest,” Brown said.

Greg Barnhart, of Chanute, isn’t a farmer. He’s an insurance adjuster, and he and his wife own a restaurant in Chanute. He said the drought is affecting both businesses.

“It affects us all,” he said.

Barnhart said he was at the farm show with a friend, who was looking for a mower.

Chuck Johnston, of Edna, was looking at cattle-handling equipment, but he also has planted corn and soybeans.

“I’d just as soon not talk about it,” Johnston said. “I don’t think there’s going to be any corn crop. The beans are right on the verge.”

BUSINESS

Dan McNett, with Lang Diesel Inc., of Chanute, said he was hearing the same story from visitors to the farm show and his customers back home.

“It’s been two years back to back” with the drought-stricken corn crop, he said. “It’s hurting bad now. It’s probably going to be worse than it was last year.”

He said people are looking at the equipment, but he won’t be surprised if the drought hurts sales.

John Deere has one of the largest exhibits at the farm show. Yancy Wright, of Olathe, is a John Deere salesman.

“It’s definitely on everybody’s mind,” Wright said of the drought. “Demand has been very, very good the past several years. The dealers are trying to stay positive.”

He said the corn crop is too far gone, but the wheat crop was fairly good in his region.

Randy Studebaker, a Case Agriculture dealer in Thayer, was at the Case exhibit at the farm show.

“It was tough last year, but it’s going to be tougher this year,” he said of the drought. “The guys with cattle, you’re not going to grow any more grass.”

Farm Talk newspaper, a sister paper of The Joplin Globe, has sponsored the farm show for 38 years. It has been at its current location, on 25 acres south of Pittsburg, for nearly 30 years. It outgrew other locations, said Publisher Ted Gum.

Gum said the farm show is an ideal situation for everyone. It allows farmers to compare equipment and prices in one location and it generates sales for dealers.

“It brings our advertisers together with our readers,” he said. “This is our baby. This is one of the biggest events of the year.”

He said agriculture is a way of life, but first and foremost, it’s a business.

“If you’re not managing a business, you’re not going to be in business,” he said.

Today and Sunday

Hours for the Four State Farm Show are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Parking and admission are free.

 

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