How old were you when you first attended the Farm Progress Show? I remember going with my dad when I was in high school; that was a while ago. Later in life, the first show I worked as a Farm Progress employee was the 1977 show at Crawfordsville in southeast Iowa.
It rained heavily several days prior to the ’77 show, and Al Bull sent me and another young Wallaces Farmer staff member down to the show site on the host farm to go around with a honeywagon and pump out big mud puddles so they would dry up enough before opening day.
Back then, the show was held on a different farm in a different part of the state each year it was in Iowa. No paved streets, and parking was in harvested, mowed cornstalk fields. All dirt. Muddy when it rained too much.
At that show, my job was to help FFA students park cars. Also, the first morning of the show Al had me stand by the entrance to where the field demo machinery parked and count the number of moldboard plows (and number of bottoms per plow) that went out to the field demo. Equipment companies were still selling moldboard plows in 1977. I also counted the number of chisel plows, which were fast replacing moldboard plows. I can’t remember if there were any no-till planters. Probably just a couple.
Having fun at the show
Fast-forward to modern times, at the 2016 Farm Progress Show at Boone, I spotted two future farmers, ages 4 and 6. They were enamored with a statue of Cy, the Cyclone mascot standing in front of the Iowa State University exhibit. Cy was welcoming show visitors to the ISU tent. Under the watchful eye of their father, Adam Nechanicky, the two boys — Carson and Mitchell — posed next to Cy as I took their picture.
You don’t see many young kids at the Farm Progress Show. Most dads opt to go to the show and leave the kids at home. That’s understandable. However, as I look at the Nechanicky family’s Facebook page, I can see they have deep roots in farming, and these two youngsters are involved and interested in activities on their home farm in Tama County. Adam says he knew his boys would learn a lot and enjoy the show, so he took them with him in 2016 to Boone. Just like grown-up farmers, Carson and Mitchell were impressed with the acres of new equipment and other exhibits.
View of a father and farmer
The boys enjoy helping with chores on the family farm. They take care of bottle calves. They especially enjoy harvesttime and riding with Adam.
“I think the younger one, Mitchell, now 6 years old, will definitely grow up to be a farmer,” Adam says. “He’s all about farming, very attentive to what’s going on, asking questions. If I move some machinery or the semitruck, he asks where it’s at and what I’m doing. Carson, now 8 years old, is very attentive, too. He’s especially interested in math. Maybe he’ll grow up to become an engineer and get a job designing farm machinery.”
Adam and wife Lindsey are both ISU graduates. No wonder their boys were so enthused about seeing Cy. “There are Hawkeyes and Cyclones in our extended family,” Adam says. “It’s fun talking to the boys, trying to get them to like both teams.”
Carson and Mitchell have a set of twin brothers turning 4 years old this August. With four boys growing up on the farm, this family will have lots of help eventually. “I keep thinking we will have cheap labor, but it’ll get pretty expensive keeping them all well-fed. So, the labor might not be so cheap,” Adam says, with a smile. He adds, “We are proud of our farming operation: crops and livestock. The home farm has been in our family since 1902. Our goal is to keep it going, and with the boys interested in farming and agriculture, we’ll have something for them to take over someday.”
Thinking about the future
Farming with his father, Mark, Adam says, “We take pride in our farm and work to keep it productive and profitable.” Raising seed corn, commercial corn, soybeans and hay, they also do some custom farming. Adam and Lindsey have a cow-calf herd. Using conservation practices including no-till, strip till and cover crops, they participate in the Middle Cedar Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Benton-Tama Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project.
There’s a lot of thought into the future. “I have four boys; hopefully, they all want to come back and farm, and we’ll have something for them,” Adam says. There’s a Farm Strong T-shirt that Iowa State has that hits home, he notes. It says, “Farms are not just crops and cattle; it’s our heritage and our future.”
Once upon a time Adam worked at the Farm Progress Show. While he was a student at ISU in Ames and the show was nearby at Boone, he helped various exhibitors and enjoyed visiting displays and field demonstrations during the big and busy three-day show.