Colorado Farm Show is 47 years in the making | TheFencePost.com

Colorado Farm Show is 47 years in the making

Bill Jackson
Greeley, Colo.

The Colorado Farm Show will mark its 47th anniversary with the 2011 show scheduled in Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park, starting Tuesday and concluding Thursday.

Exhibitions and programs will be open to the public, at no cost, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday.

It is fitting that one of the largest – and oldest – farm shows in the nation is conducted in the heart of Weld County, the eighth largest county in the United States in terms of receipts for agricultural products.

This year, the annual three-day event will feature about 350 exhibitors from throughout the country. In the past, the show has brought upwards of 30,000 people to Greeley interested in learning more about agriculture products, services, machinery and technology. Funds generated by parking fees and other excess revenue are used to award six, $2,000 scholarships to area high school students each year who plan an agricultural career. They are named in memory of Chuck Urano, a horticulturist with the Weld County office of Colorado State University Extension, who was among the founders of what became the Colorado Farm Show.

The agriculture trade show is a not-for-profit event which is planned and managed each year by almost 100 volunteers.

The first show conducted under the name Colorado Farm Show was staged in 1967, but the nucleus of the event began in 1964, when it was called the Colorado Agricultural Chemical Exposition.

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That also was the first year state organizations were solicited to help sponsor some of the programs – organizations such as Colorado Cattle Feeders Association, Colorado Pork Producers Council, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Area III Potato Administrative Committee and others. An offer was made exchanging financial support from industries for the organization. It also was decided to ask the Greeley Chamber of Commerce to participate by handling the finances and to underwrite the program.

The 1964 show was conducted Feb. 16-17 at the Community Building in downtown Greeley. That space is now occupied by the Union Colony Civic Center.

It has continued to grow every year, but perhaps the greatest single year of growth came in 1982 when the number of programs and facilities put into use at Island Grove Regional Park were expanded, and 14,000 attended the annual three-day affair.

Because of a growing waiting list of exhibitors, exhibition space for the farm show was enlarged in 1998 with the addition of a tent on the south side of the Exhibition Building. A larger tent was added for the 2000 show. In 2002, the 60,000 square-foot Events Center was added to the mix, eliminating the need for the tent.

Displays, as in the past, will also be set up in the Exhibition Building, the 4-H Building, and the Livestock Building. All those areas are connected by protected, heated tunnels. There are additional displays of farm equipment in outside areas around the buildings.

This year, much of the show’s emphasis will cover a variety of topics. Specific programs will deal with the agriculture outlook for 2011, tax implications for farmers and ranchers, starting a business, a session on magic, and specific programs for beef producers, dairy farmers, horse owners, hay and forage farmers, a Spanish seminar on cow handling and the worker protection standard, and the always popular weather outlook for 2011 farmers and ranchers.

Those programs will follow four decades of the show which highlights a history rich in volunteers coming together to provide a series of educational programs and exhibits of interest to the agricultural community.

It is a story of how a community event has grown to become one of national repute, one that many exhibitors have on their “must attend” list. And it is a story of how an annual event, by growing and bettering itself, helps to improve the facilities used by other groups during other times of the year.

What was to become the Colorado Farm Show began more than 40 years ago as a result of a discussion over coffee. It was then that a group of CSU Cooperative Extension agents were asked about the possibility of an agricultural trade show for Greeley.

That group discussed the demise of the Farmer’s Institute in 1958, which used to be the big farm program in the area. They also discussed changes needed to revise such a show.

The Colorado Farm Show will mark its 47th anniversary with the 2011 show scheduled in Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park, starting Tuesday and concluding Thursday.

Exhibitions and programs will be open to the public, at no cost, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday.

It is fitting that one of the largest – and oldest – farm shows in the nation is conducted in the heart of Weld County, the eighth largest county in the United States in terms of receipts for agricultural products.

This year, the annual three-day event will feature about 350 exhibitors from throughout the country. In the past, the show has brought upwards of 30,000 people to Greeley interested in learning more about agriculture products, services, machinery and technology. Funds generated by parking fees and other excess revenue are used to award six, $2,000 scholarships to area high school students each year who plan an agricultural career. They are named in memory of Chuck Urano, a horticulturist with the Weld County office of Colorado State University Extension, who was among the founders of what became the Colorado Farm Show.

The agriculture trade show is a not-for-profit event which is planned and managed each year by almost 100 volunteers.

The first show conducted under the name Colorado Farm Show was staged in 1967, but the nucleus of the event began in 1964, when it was called the Colorado Agricultural Chemical Exposition.

That also was the first year state organizations were solicited to help sponsor some of the programs – organizations such as Colorado Cattle Feeders Association, Colorado Pork Producers Council, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Area III Potato Administrative Committee and others. An offer was made exchanging financial support from industries for the organization. It also was decided to ask the Greeley Chamber of Commerce to participate by handling the finances and to underwrite the program.

The 1964 show was conducted Feb. 16-17 at the Community Building in downtown Greeley. That space is now occupied by the Union Colony Civic Center.

It has continued to grow every year, but perhaps the greatest single year of growth came in 1982 when the number of programs and facilities put into use at Island Grove Regional Park were expanded, and 14,000 attended the annual three-day affair.

Because of a growing waiting list of exhibitors, exhibition space for the farm show was enlarged in 1998 with the addition of a tent on the south side of the Exhibition Building. A larger tent was added for the 2000 show. In 2002, the 60,000 square-foot Events Center was added to the mix, eliminating the need for the tent.

Displays, as in the past, will also be set up in the Exhibition Building, the 4-H Building, and the Livestock Building. All those areas are connected by protected, heated tunnels. There are additional displays of farm equipment in outside areas around the buildings.

This year, much of the show’s emphasis will cover a variety of topics. Specific programs will deal with the agriculture outlook for 2011, tax implications for farmers and ranchers, starting a business, a session on magic, and specific programs for beef producers, dairy farmers, horse owners, hay and forage farmers, a Spanish seminar on cow handling and the worker protection standard, and the always popular weather outlook for 2011 farmers and ranchers.

Those programs will follow four decades of the show which highlights a history rich in volunteers coming together to provide a series of educational programs and exhibits of interest to the agricultural community.

It is a story of how a community event has grown to become one of national repute, one that many exhibitors have on their “must attend” list. And it is a story of how an annual event, by growing and bettering itself, helps to improve the facilities used by other groups during other times of the year.

What was to become the Colorado Farm Show began more than 40 years ago as a result of a discussion over coffee. It was then that a group of CSU Cooperative Extension agents were asked about the possibility of an agricultural trade show for Greeley.

That group discussed the demise of the Farmer’s Institute in 1958, which used to be the big farm program in the area. They also discussed changes needed to revise such a show.