Story and photos Robyn Scherer
Kiowa, Colo.

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October 2, 2013
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Husker Harvest Days teaches attendees about irrigation innovation

Learning about the latest and greatest equipment, methods and technology is an important part of farming.

From new tractors and equipment from all the major manufacturers, to new high-tech tools from a wide range of other manufacturers, Husker Harvest Days was an event where a farmer could learn plenty.

“Like a trade show in any other industry, the producers that produce our food, fiber and fuel use Husker Harvest Days to learn what is new in their industry,” said Matt Jungmann, national events manager.

HHD is also the only fully irrigated show, and major irrigation manufacturers were on hand, showing off a wide range of tech and innovation.

With water management a growing issue, Husker Harvest Days was the place to be to learn more about tools that innovate irrigation.

Hundreds of exhibitors attend the show.

“The exhibitors are what keep the show new and fresh,” said Jungmann.

The field demonstrations are one of the most popular events. Attendees could see and compare farming equipment side-by-side in action.

“The field demonstrations had the North American debut of the Independence head,” Jungmann stated.

HHD was held in Grand Island from Sept. 10-12.

“It was another great show and a sellout, just like the past several years,” Jungmann explained.

Another popular event at every Husker Harvest Days is the Ride ‘n’ Drive. Husker Harvest Days visitors are able to put pickups and UTVs through different “Ride ‘n’ Drive” courses. Company representatives are on hand to answer questions and point out the unique features of their equipment.

“Visitors to Husker Harvest Days really enjoy being able to test drive different pickups and UTVs,” said Jungmann. “This is a great opportunity to try out a new vehicle and see how it performs on a test track.”

Husker Harvest Days is more than just crops and equipment, however.

Livestock producers and ranchers at Husker Harvest Days had an opportunity to visit with livestock company representatives, breed associations ambassadors, and watch several different demonstrations.

Cattle-handling demonstrations were held each day. These demonstrations highlighted side-by-side comparisons of various manufacturers’ squeeze chutes and cattle-handling systems and information on advances in vaccination and implanting devices.

Stock dog demonstrations were welcomed back to HHD as well.

Members of the National Cattle dog Association presented demonstrations varying from young, inexperienced dogs to seasoned, older dogs to give visitors an idea of the training involved.

Lifelong horseman and rancher Ron Knodel returned to demonstrate his techniques and share his wild horse gentling philosophies. Working with the Bureau of Land Management, Knodel’s demonstrations entertained as much as they informed.

Officials from Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts used Husker Harvest Days to announce the first three inductees into the Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame.

Inaugural inductees recognized included Ron Bishop and Dick Mercer of Central Platte Natural Resources District, and former state senator Maurice Kremer.

“This is an exciting time for the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts and the induction of the inaugural hall of fame recipients,” said Joe Anderjaska, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts board president. “The purpose of the Natural Resources Hall of Fame is to reward individuals for service and commitment to natural resources conservation, and these three inductees are very deserving individuals.”

The candidates are elected into the hall of fame by vote of current NRD Managers and NARD board members. There are three Hall of Fame categories including: Natural Resources District Board Member, Natural Resources District Employee and “Other” NRD Supporter, which includes individuals outside the NRD system.

Bishop, who recently retired as long-time manager at the Central Platte NRD, had been with the district since its formation in 1972. Bishop was described as playing a critical role in helping to develop the NRD structure and promoting the importance of natural resources conservation.

Dick Mercer was inducted for his dedication to natural resources as a director and board member of the Central Platte NRD, also since 1972. Prior to that, he was director on the Buffalo-Ravenna Soil and Water Conservation District.

A special ceremony for kids was held during HHD this year.

Six young Nebraskans started their nest egg for college by earning a big contribution to the NEST fund. NEST is the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust — Nebraska’s state-sponsored college savings plan.

Don Stenberg, Nebraska state treasurer, recognized the winners and runners-up at this year’s Husker Harvest Days.

Three first-place winners each received a $3,500 contribution to a NEST Direct College Savings Plan, while three runners-up each received a $1,000 contribution to the plan.

In the 7-9 age group, Landri Loos of Litchfield was the winner, while Madyson Sievers of Wayne was runner-up. In the 10-11 age group, Allison Rippe of Indianola was the winner, while Sophia Harder of Belden was runner-up.

“Thank you to all the young people who participated in our NEST on the Farm scholarship contest and who wrote so persuasively about their connection to Nebraska farm life and their educational goals for the future,” Stenberg said. “These young people represent the best Nebraska has to offer—our young people who work hard, who strive to do well in school and their activities, and who value their families and their agricultural roots.”

Money for the “Nest on the Farm” scholarships comes from First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for NEST, as part of its scholarship initiative.

HHD serves as a big economic engine for Grand Island.

Grand Island has been the host community to Husker Harvest Days since the show’s inception back in 1978. In some ways, as the show has grown into the world’s largest totally irrigated farm show, the support and hospitality from the community have grown as well.

“Grand Island has responded by rolling out the red carpet to welcome these guests from across the country and the world,” said Cindy Johnson, president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. “We have seen a substantial number of new hotels, restaurants and retail stores. With our community’s growth, the array of retail and hospitality options for visitors has expanded.”

In the past, it has been estimated that the economic impact of Husker Harvest Days on the Grand Island area is more than $5 million.

“Grand Island is proud to be the host city of Husker Harvest Days,” Johnson said. “The show is one of this community’s hallmark events, attracting more than 100,000 people annually. It is exciting to meet and greet the thousands of visitors from across the country and beyond. We appreciate the opportunity to showcase our community’s exceptional quality of life, diverse economy and strong agricultural roots.”

Johnson believes that Grand Island and Husker Harvest Days go together.

“We have a rich heritage that is grounded in agriculture,” she said. “It is the foundation of not only our economy, but our culture. It is a way of life. There is not a better way to showcase agriculture than to be in a place that has been on the leading edge of agricultural advancement for generations, combining traditional values with openness to new ideas and innovation.” ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 16, 2013 03:53PM Published Oct 4, 2013 09:39AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.