DECATUR – Governor Pat Quinn today joined state and local officials in Decatur at the 2013 Farm Progress Show, the nation’s largest outdoor farm show. The Aug. 27 – 29 Farm Progress Show near Richland Community College features more than 640 acres of exhibits and demonstrations that attract more than 300,000 visitors. The Governor today also proclaimed Aug. 28 “Emmett Sefton Day” in Illinois in honor of the man who helped secure Decatur as the show location. Today's event is part of the Governor’s commitment to promote Illinois agricultural products and technology to the world.
“Illinois farmers have been quick to adopt proven technologies, and each year the Farm Progress Show gives them an opportunity to compare the latest equipment and evaluate the newest field trials of seed varieties and production methods,” Governor Quinn said. “Thanks to Emmett Sefton, we can do that right here in Decatur every two years. Emmett’s generous spirit, passion for agriculture, and dedication to his community are an example for all who engage in or depend on Illinois’ agricultural industry.”
The Farm Progress show alternates each year between Decatur, Ill. and Boone, Iowa. The Decatur site, dubbed “Progress City,” was first used in 2005 and expanded for the 2007 show to host more than 600 exhibitors and record numbers of show visitors. Sefton, through his role on the Richland Agriculture Advisory Committee and numerous other agriculture-related organizations, was pivotal in securing Decatur as the show site every other year. Sefton passed away earlier this summer.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has timed its International Grain Tour to coincide with this year’s show, which will allow potential customers from Latin America and Asia to witness firsthand Illinois' vast production and distribution capabilities. In addition, with the help of the Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau, it also has organized an International Business Center that will facilitate on-site meetings between foreign buyers and Illinois agribusinesses.
“These activities will help increase future export sales for an industry that depends upon foreign business for about 40 percent of its cash receipts,” Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “While visitors walk through the exhibits looking for ways to improve their operations this year, the department will be working to develop markets for those high-yielding crops they are planning to grow.”
The Farm Progress Show got its start in Illinois when the Earl Bass Farm in Vermilion County hosted the event in 1953. Corn yields averaged 54 bushels an acre then, significantly less than the 160 bushels an acre that Illinois farmers harvest today. Soybean yields were 21 bushels an acre, or less than half the current average of 46 bushels. Sophisticated new farm machinery, advanced seed genetics and improved production methods have enabled Illinois farmers to grow more food on fewer acres than ever before.
For more information about the 2013 Farm Progress Show, visit farmprogressshow.com.