While driving Interstate 70 to Columbus, we have all seen it.
In Madison County just after Exit 72 there is a place called The Molly Caren Agricultural Center. Most of the year it looks like just a bunch of unused empty county fair buildings out in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t even an exit there.
But if you check out that same section of land during this coming week, you will watch that area fill with farm equipment and displays, then overflow into the surrounding fields.
This is Farm Science Review, held this year on Sept. 18 - 20.
Now those of you who farm or take FFA might just want to rest your eyes for the rest of this column. (Five minute naps can be refreshing.) After all this is not news to you. You’ve probably attended this since your parents pulled you around in a little red wagon. Go ahead, chill.
This column is for the rest of us who are surprised to zoom past a huge event that sprung up in a place that looks abandoned 51 weeks out of the year.
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From I-70 this gathering looks like a large county fair with no neon lit midway, no rides, and no barns full of animals. Instead there is equipment, demonstrations, and displays. This is not for entertainment. This place is real.
The Farm Science Review is just what it says it is, as straightforwardly as possible. This is the place where farmers, gardeners, and anyone concerned with the business of agriculture comes to get updated on the newest methods, equipment, and research from experts from OSU and Purdue. Farm Science review is legendary and has been called the Superbowl of farm shows for decades.
This is the place to see new innovative types of farm equipment up close. Climb up into the cab of a harvester or lift the hood and check out the massive engines used to power them. It is almost compulsory to have your photo taken next to a tractor wheel taller than you.
There is much more to this event than what you see from I-70. From the highway motorists can only see the rows of displays on 80 acres, but what they cannot see are the 600 acres of field demonstrations of corn and soybean harvesting, drainage installation, and UAV technology. Folks can compare the different pickers as they harvest their section of a field and watch the most modern ways to install drainage tile.
Another thing that you cannot see from I-70 is the Script Ohio that was made in a 100 acre corn field to the east of the main exhibit area. It was made using GPS technology. Amazing.
The 67 acres of the Gwynne Conservation Area cannot be seen from the highway either. This area exhibits use of ponds, windbreaks, stream stabilization, wetlands, naturally flowing stream. There will be many different demonstrations including chainsaw maintenance, and techniques, and information on attracting hummingbirds, purple martins, and bluebirds, pollinator habitats, wildlife food plots, conservation tree planting and dozens more.
The number of informational presentations in each area of the event boggles my mind. There is a big enough variety to keep long time farmers to even the casual gardener or local nature lover content.
Visit the Farm Science Review website at fsr.osu.edu to check out the schedules for presentations.
The Farm Science Review is generally visited by more than 150,000 farmers and their families from all over the United States and Canada. The event is located at the corner of US 40 and SR 38 and the address is 135 SR 38 NE, London, OH 43140. Gate admission is $10.
Local friends who never miss this advise me to wear comfortable shoes because there is lots of walking. They also suggest getting there as early as possible.
Gates open at 8 a.m. each day.
This is called the Farm Science Review but don’t let that keep you away from the event. This event is for any of us who love the land around us, and want to learn more about it. Just don’t forget those comfortable shoes.