August is one of the hottest months of the year and it’s especially true for the farm show season. This month, New York’s Empire Farm Days, the region’s largest outdoor Ag trade show, and the Pennsylvania’s Ag Progress Days, hosted by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will feature the latest in innovations and cutting-edge techniques and practices.

Ag Progress Days

Known as Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural expo, Ag Progress Days (APD) brings more than tens of thousands of agricultural professionals to Rock Springs, near State College, home of Penn State University. One of only three conferences of its kind to be sponsored by a major university, APD will feature more than 400 exhibitors from 34 states and four Canadian provinces. The show will also include more than 80 acres for crops and machinery demonstrations as well as 55 acres for indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Here are some of the featured attractions:

Field demonstrations


This year’s new field demonstrations at Ag Progress Days will feature corn chopping and cover crop planting at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. daily. Several of the major equipment companies will have units in the field for the producer to compare them side-by-side in actual planting conditions. View the state-of-art sprayers and tractors for large-scale farming operations provided by commercial exhibitors. Demonstrations are approximately one hour.

  • 10:30 a.m. – Alfalfa Hay Mowing
  • 11:30 a.m. – Corn Chopping
  • 12:30 p.m. – Cover Crop Planting
  • 2:00 p.m. – Hay Rakes and Tedders
  • 2:30 p.m. – High-Moisture Alfalfa Hay Baling
  • 3:30 p.m. – Bale Handling

The Great Insect Fair

Hosted by Penn State’s Entomology Department, this annual bug extravaganza celebrates insects with lots of fun activities and interesting information. The Great Insect Fair will feature butterfly tents, an insect zoo, “The Bug Doctor” Q&A session and t-shirts from the Entomology Graduate Student Association. The fair will also host a different daily theme:

    • Bugs that Cause Diseases – Tuesday, August 18

Some insects and their relatives can transmit diseases. Researchers from Penn State will teach how to protect yourself from these bugs and other vectors.

    • Insect Pollinators – Wednesday, August 19

Pollinators are vital to food production around the world. At the pollination station attendees will be able to meet some of these important pollinators, observe them in a natural setting and learn what it’s like to be a beekeeper.

    • Insects: Friends and Foes of Agriculture – Thursday, August 20

Learn about the variety of roles insects play in agricultural and natural systems. The fair will highlight beneficial and pest insects from agricultural systems, information on invasive species, and native and wild bees.

Research tours

Throughout Ag Progress Days, experts will conduct tours highlighting research on various aspects of agriculture. Here are a few highlighted events:

    • American Chestnut Foundation Plantings

See American chestnut breeding orchards. Learn about the history and demise of the American chestnut tree, how to plant and maintain chestnut trees, and The American Chestnut Foundation’s breeding program and volunteers working to restore the species.

  • Agronomy Farm Tour


The Agronomy Farm Research Tour will highlight Plenish High Oleic Soybeans, which produce oils that contain 0 g trans fat, 20 percent less saturated fat than other soybean oils, and have an oleic content similar to olive oil.

  • Equine Best Management Practices and Livestock High Density Grazing


This tour will address real-world pasture management issues, specifically for equine and cattle, as well as highlight conservation practices that can support livestock on your farm or property while protecting natural resources.

  • Woodlot Management Tour: Decisions and Actions


Woodlot management takes time, commitment, and planning. This year the woodlot tour will visit a 2012 timber harvest and examine the regeneration response and discuss wildlife species benefited by young forest habitat.

Empire Farm Days

It all started in 1931 as an equipment showcase presented by the Empire State Potato Growers Association. Now, it’s the one of the largest Ag trade shows in the Northeast. Located in Seneca Falls, New York, the Empire Farm Days will play host to tens of thousand attendees to browse through more than 600 exhibits on 300-plus acres. A popular draw for dairy producers, cattle ranchers as well as rural life enthusiasts, the mega-farm show will showcase a wide range of industries and cover several issues and topics via seminars and demonstrations.

Dairy Profit Seminars

Dairy Profit Seminars are a popular stop for dairy operators visiting Empire Farm Days.

Photo by Empire Farm Days

Ideal for the dairymen and agribusiness professionals, the popular seminars (two on the first and last day, three on the second) will touch upon many issues such as the economic impact of milk quality, planning to successfully reinvest in a dairy operation or transition to the next generation, feed additives, and using income over feed costs.

Farm Bureau Family Education Center

New York Farm Bureau offers information on its services for farmers of all ages and interests and sponsors the Farm Bureau Family Education Center at Empire Farm Days.

Photo by Brian P. Whattam

The dairy industry is in the Farm Bureau Family Education Center spotlight with the Wheel of Agriculture, feel boxes, and info exhibits. The Farm Bureau Youth, Young Farmer, and Collegiate area offers news on events, programs and award opportunities for the future generations of agriculture.

Field Demos

Demostrations from 2014 Empire Farm Days.

Photo by Empire Farm Days

The field demonstrations of working farm equipment tilling, mowing, raking, baling and processing hay, and chopping and handling forage always draw a crowd. If you have ever wondered if an 8-ton backhoe loader can dance, check out the JCB Dancing Digger precision performance set to music.

Hear soil test inventor at new Soil Health Seminar Center

Soil Health Respiration Test Inventor Will Brinton.

Photo by Empire Farm Days

The new Soil Health Seminar Center at Empire Farm Days will feature two speakers and a farmer panel, different each day. Presenters include soil health testing innovator Will Brinton, founder of Woods End Soil Laboratory, Mt. Vernon, Maine; and representatives from the Cornell University PRO DAIRY Program, Western New York Crop Management Association, Seedway, and Kings Agriseeds.

Manure pit simulator from Iowa at show

NECAS Director Dan Neenan will offer 20-minute safety education demonstrations every hour during Empire Farm Days.

Photo by NECAS

Also new for 2015 is a visit by the Confined Space Manure Pit Simulator from the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) of Peosta, Iowa. NECAS Director Dan Neenan will be offering 20-minute safety education demonstrations every hour throughout the expo with the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health.

Apple and grape grafting techniques

The Agricultural Research Service Plant Genetic Resources Unit will provide demonstration during the show.

Photo by Agricultural Research Service

Apple and grape growers can talk with scientists from the Agricultural Research Service Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, New York, and see them daily demonstrating grafting techniques used with apple trees and grapevines. Learn how rootstock selection affects fruit quality, and changes the shape and productivity of the tree scion, or top, and how scion traits can be modified by using different rootstocks.

Youth, Mustangs and draft horses at Equine Center

The Dueling Mustangs will perform during Empire Farm Days.

Photo by Holly Underhill Photography

The Empire Farm Days Equine Center seminars for 2015 will focus on Fun on Horseback for Kids, Dueling Mustangs with noted American Mustang trainers and competitors Jack and Emma Minteer, and Best Practices for Draft Horse Care, particularly for farmers who rely on heavy horses for fieldwork, logging and family transportation.

Celebrate the farming life

Bugs during Empire Farm Days, children will have the chance to learn to identify plants and bugs.

Photo by Empire Farm Days

The Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Marketplace at Empire Farm Days offers samples of fresh food developed with Cornell expertise, a Kidz Corner, and information and exhibits on everything from sustainable farming practices to invasive species, and the opportunity to talk with faculty and Extension educators about the latest research insights on fruit, vegetable, dairy, livestock and crops production.