Sports clichés are often overdone, but I have to admit, the offices of FARMING during the summer have a “playoff” atmosphere. In preparing for the August issue with an Special Extended Preview (page 62) of the two largest farm shows of the region: Empire Farm Days and Ag Progress Days, I’ve never seen our publisher Barb Sweet and associate publisher Annette Dauscher more focused. It’s like they both have the “eye of the tiger” (Okay… the sports cliché once again).

It derived from their background of growing up in a farm environment and working in an industry that is season-based rather than punch-clock. The summer – when most people rest and vacation – is arguably the most busiest for farmers. Depending on what you grow, your harvest is most likely almost ready. Maybe, your spring calves have been recently dehorned. Is your corn “knee-high” yet?

All these considerations are or have been running through your head this summer. Like the farmer’s mind, the swirls of ideas between Barb and Annette had given me plenty to consider as we prepared to bring you this issue. As a playoff season, the action becomes faster and results are more critical and vital. In addition to the many features this month, we placed a great focus on the two shows: Empire Farm Days and Ag Progress Days.

As the farming world gets in the heat of things (no pun intended), it also settles into introspection. Having such large shows in our backyard gives us the chance to meet together, share ideas and have conversations about the industry that is also intertwined in daily life.

As I’ve witnessed throughout my time, the agricultural business is different than any other trade. Visiting the show this year, I see business deals made by handshakes with family in tow – unlike what I’ve noticed in your typical trade show. The businesses that exhibit notice that as well.

“For us, the reason why we go to Empire Farm Days is that we come into contact with our customers,” said Larry Seymour, general manager of BCS America, which is exhibiting this year. The manufacturer specializes in two-wheel tractors as well as tillers, mowers and other attachments. “In such a niche market, our growth also comes from word-of-mouth. It helps promote our line. That’s what helps our sales – the fact that we touch base with consumers face-to-face.”

While the emphasis is placed on farm work at Empire Farm Days and Ag Progress Days this month, there’s also focus on farm life and safety. Barb covers that in her column on page 100.

Now that the issue is ready, I hope you’ll find the features and columns useful and informational. Speaking of Ag Progress – hosted by Penn State University – our cover feature highlights the school’s groundbreaking tool, The InterSeeder and the benefits it’s providing for cover crops. Also, make sure to say “hello” if you happen to stop by our booth at either of the shows. Until then, Cheers!