AMES, Iowa –Soil takes the stage in the Iowa State hoop building at the Farm Progress Show near Boone this year. Attendees will find multiple ways to connect with fertile soil – one of Iowa’s most important natural resources – as they travel in and around the Iowa State University building at the 2010 Farm Progress Show. The building and demonstration plots outside the ends of the building are educational experiences complete with Iowa State faculty, researchers and specialists to discuss the concepts presented.
“We want people to understand that it all starts and ends with the soil,” said Kendall Lamkey, Iowa State department of agronomy chair. “What gets removed from the soil must be returned to the soil in a way that makes sense for the environment and the crops we grow. That’s the message we want our visitors to walk away with.”
Educational displays in the Iowa State Farm Progress Show building will provide striking sensory experiences around the full crop production cycle as it relates to soil. Four major display areas within the building focus on Iowa soils, concepts of soil health and erosion, and the role of nitrogen in the cropping system. The displays, developed by three Iowa State units - Department of Agronomy, Extension and College of Design, are based on the theme “working together to care for our land.”
“Visitors will better understand the importance of soil quality to crop production, how their decisions and management practices impact the soil and water quality, and how the biomass crops, including corn, relate to soil and water quality,” said John Lawrence, ISU Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources director.
Farm Progress Show attendees will learn about Iowa soil regions, the flow of water through soil, soil movement and soil nutrient cycling in very visual ways. A water bottle wall simulates water flow through soil; a block representing 10 tons of soil illustrates soil movement; a history of ISU crop breeding and the energy crops of the future grow in demonstration plots at the building entrances.
The Iowa State exhibit building is also a visual representation of how Iowa State University and ISU Extension work together and in partnership with farmers to help them make profitable and caring decisions about their interactions with the land.
“We have a long tradition of partnering with and supporting Iowans so they can improve their lives,” said Lamkey. “This theme lets us demonstrate how we can all pitch in and care for a treasured natural resource.” Hosting the exhibit and bringing home the theme message will be Iowa State faculty, researchers and extension experts who are eager to discuss the issues around soil with visitors.
Iowa State is incorporating social media tools instead of handouts to connect visitors with ISU’s Farm Progress Show presence. Quick Response (QR) codes found in the building will link visitors to informative videos and resources, while Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare updates will keep followers current on display content, location of ISU presenters and exhibitors at additional show venues and connect visitors with ISU Extension. Visitors who complete an ISU Farm Progress Show online survey while in the building will receive a free pocket weed guide – while supplies last. Survey results will be considered when planning future Iowa State Farm Progress Show exhibits.
Iowa State exhibits, faculty and experts bring applied research on these topics and others during the Farm Progress Show Aug. 31 – Sept. 2 in Boone.
• Iowa soil cores and soil regions
• Corn suitability ratings
• Soil testing
• Complete crop nutrient cycle
• Soil nutrient management
• Energy crop production and use
• Soil and water movement
• Crop breeding, history and future
• Precision agriculture
• Farm transitioning
• Maple sap to syrup
• Herbicide resistant weeds
• High tunnel vegetable and fruits production