Grand Island, Nebraska – There will definitely be more to see at this year’s Husker Harvest Days, scheduled for September 15, 16 and 17 and located just west of Grand Island, Nebraska. With a sold-out exhibit field filled with more than 600 exhibitors there will be plenty for farmers and ranchers to check out.
Visitors to this year’s Husker Harvest Days will be treated to a change in the corn planted for field demonstrations this year. The corn to be harvested Tuesday and Thursday during the show was planted in twin rows, rather than the conventional 30-inch rows. Roger Luebbe, HHD farm manager, says more farmers expressed interest in twin-row corn and the show is responding. Corn harvesting demonstrations are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
This year’s event has inspired additional charitable programs. Monsanto and Husker Harvests Days are teaming up to stock Nebraska’s emergency hunger-drive food shelves with the Genuity Farmer Food Drive.
"We’ve had several businesses experiencing layoffs and some have even closed so we have a number of people out of work,” says Kathy Rathke, president of Heartland United Way in Grand Island, Nebraska. “As a result, our local food pantries got really short of food this year."
As part of the initiative, Husker Harvest Days visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the show. Each gate will have a drop-off location. For every pound of food donated, Monsanto will donate $1 in cash to the Heartland United Way chapter in Grand Island, up to $20,000.
For those who forget to bring food to the show, Monsanto will have canned goods available at their tent for farmers to purchase. For a cash donation, Monsanto will move food into the "donated" pile.
Don Tourte, Farm Progress director national business development, says an event like this is a great way to further strengthen the bond between Husker Harvest Days and the local community. "We are excited to be part of this food drive," said Tourte. "It is an excellent opportunity to give something back to the community that is our home during Husker Harvest Days."
A Grand Island family is working on a unique project to help boost the morale of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We collect baseball caps and send them to Fort Sam’s Hospital in Houston, Texas,” says Kathy Siemon.
Siemon notes there are around 500 wounded soldiers at the hospital at any given time who appreciate receiving caps. Truck drivers delivering her caps tell her this is an important project for the soldiers. “First, caps are great morale boosters for both men and women,” Siemon says. "Plus, those patients with head wounds use the caps to cover their injuries.”
Siemon has been working on this project for several years. "A friend of my son, who is a trucker, started this project about four years ago," Siemon says. "When I heard about it, I thought what could be neater than sending caps from Husker Harvest Days? Last year I handed out flyers to exhibitors at Husker Harvest Days. John Deere and other companies said they would send some caps." Plus she collected other caps as well. “We ended up sending 100 ourselves.”
If you want to donate caps, drop them off at the Husker Harvest Days office. Or, you may send them directly to Army Community Service, 2010 Stanley Road, Suite 95, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234, Attention Judith. Siemon suggests including a note about yourself with the caps. "It makes it more personal," she says.
Stock Auction Co. will hold three live auctions, one each show day at 1 p.m., on its lot to generate funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Each day's auction will feature approximately 50 items, and this year's successful bids are expected to range from $20 to $100,000.
"We have some big items to auction this fall, including a Rouse double bale hauler," says Mark Stock, company president. Stock Auction Co. raised approximately $70,000 at auctions held the last two years during Husker Harvest Days.
"Generous vendors at the show and other businesses donate everything from toy tractors, seed corn and gift certificates, ATVs, and gift certificates for farm equipment parts," says Stock, whose 25-year-old company works primarily in the Midwest and has buyers worldwide.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a world leader in the fight against childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, the Memphis, Tennessee-based hospital is the nation’s second largest health care charity and unique in that research and patient care are under one roof. All patients accepted for treatment are treated regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
Other demonstrations at Husker Harvest Days include spraying, shredding, tillage, haying and GPS ride ‘n drive opportunities.
For those more interested in livestock than crop production, Husker Harvest Days has demonstrations and exhibits to interest livestock producers and horse enthusiasts.
Cattle-handling demonstrations will be held at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. in the northwest corner of the show site. The popular horse and rider competitions return with team penning, two-man ranch sorting and one-man ranch sorting, beginning daily at 10 a.m. Lifelong horseman and rancher Ron Knodel will demonstrate his techniques and share his wild-horse gentling philosophies at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily.
The Rural Life tent, located in the southwest corner of the exhibit area along First Street, features a wide variety of program topics scheduled throughout the day to amuse, enlighten and educate audiences of all ages and interests. The morning opens with information on the market and the outlook for 2010 followed by a lively game of Jeopardy, the agriculture edition. The afternoon is filled with cowboy humor by R.P. Smith and cowboy singer Pat Meade’s songs are sure to entertain visitors.
In a new location this year on West Avenue, the Craft Tent will be filled with more than 40 crafters selling candles, jewelry, paintings, toys, quilts, pottery, jam, clothing and yard ornaments.
Husker Harvest Days is located west of Grand Island, 1 1/2 miles north and 2 miles west of Alda, in central Nebraska on Husker Highway. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for ages 13-17, and ages 12 and under are free. The public is welcome. For additional information, visit the website.