Farm Science Review expands exhibit area substantially, other improvements

December 17, 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Joel PenhorwoodSome may recall the soggy situation at the 2017 Farm Science Review when heavy rains plagued the event and led to swamped areas on the grounds. To address that issue, new water control structures are being installed for an improved visitor experience in case Mother Nature does not cooperate in the future.“We are in the process of a multi-year drainage project we have going on here at the Farm Science Review,” said Garrett Nowak, FSR site manager. “Last year, you may remember we had a little bit of wet weather. Some years, we’re really dry — other years we’re a little damp — it’s just part of being an outdoor farm show. As much as we can address those issues, we try to.“We’re doing over 1,500 feet of drainage this year. Most of that is going to be a new sub-main we’re running almost from the total south end of the exhibit area, all the way to the north and little over 1,500 feet of 12-inch tile under our Hay Street. Hopefully you won’t be able to notice it at show time, but we’re really hoping to move a lot of the water issues that we had noticed last year out of that area. Alongside the roads we have French drains. We have surface inlets now. The same way that you would put tile in a field, we have a similar type of approach here, although we’re really removing surface water as fast as we can. This drainage project will affect about 25% of our exhibitors.”There will be new additions in terms of educational and opportunities to learn about research are always a highlight of the Review as well.“We are adding our new OSU Extension education corral for livestock. The OSU Extension Beef Team is an exhibitor this year,” Nowak said. “We hope to build on that in the future and have a lot more livestock demonstrations, but that’s one of the new things you’ll be able to see this year the Farm Science Review.”The Gwynne Conservation Area will also be buzzing with activity.“Our beehives are new this year. We’ve got 15 hives on site. This is a situation where we’re partnering with the Ohio State Entomology Group,” Nowak said. “We have a three-year project to restore a prairie here on site for pollinators. We’ve got about 10 acres with a mix of four different annual wildflowers for this year and then next year we’ll transition into a perennial wildflower plot. Other things you can see here are the grazing demonstrations and the stream bank restoration project that we did last year.”Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review manager, has been leading the charge to get the changes in place ahead of this year’s event on Sept. 18, 19, and 20.“There’s always something new to see at Farm Science Review, whether it’s from our exhibitors out here as commercial exhibitors or with our educators in OSU Extension and some of the researchers on site,” Zachrich said. “There are some facility changes we’ve been able to make and updates for this year.”One of the most noticeable changes visitors will see this year is a substantially expanded exhibit area. The eastern fence enclosing the exhibitor area has been removed and a new fence has been added several hundred feet further out, increasing the exhibitor area substantially.This is some of the new, expanded show area at the Review.“Our exhibit area has always been 80 acres since we’ve moved out to this site. We were able to fill that up pretty quickly when we moved out in 1983. We’ve been able to utilize most of our space pretty well. We decided to change it up a little bit and add 20 acres of space that was already part of the facility, so we’re not really adding new space, but we’re adding it to the exhibit area, for a total of 100 acres of exhibits now,” he said. “We have a lot of things that we want to accomplish in moving our fence this year. We moved our fence out to the east just a little bit to meet the parking lot. We had some plots that weren’t being quite utilized the way they were 35 years ago. We also had an issue of not getting a lot of attention to our ride and drives that we wanted to focus on. We’re bringing some activity into that space and to really get some people involved with the ride and drives to be able to test drive some of the new machines that are out there on the market with UTVs, lawnmowers, some compact tractors, and doing some other hands on activities. We decided to go ahead and move those things into this 20 acres. And over the next several years, we’ll try to utilize that a little bit more as far as exhibit space goes with more exhibitors. We usually do have a waiting list for outdoor space, so that’s going to help with that as well.”Included in the space will be ride and drives, crop test plots, and a designated area for antique tractor clubs — all efforts to add more engaging activities.“In this ride and drive space, what we would really like to do is bring some activity and get people involved in what’s going on,” Zachrich said. “We want people to get out and see our field demonstrations. Most of the items are a little bit smaller with UTVs, mowers, and even some ground engagement. There are a lot of things to see and do out in the ride and drive area.”Antique tractor clubs will now have a more up-front viewing area.“Several of them have been participants before and we’ve been able to get a good collection of those this year to really fill that space up with them,” he said. “We also would like to move the handicap parking and accessible vehicle rentals to the same space too. They’ve been in a couple different areas and it became kind of confusing at times, so we’re really trying to improve that for our visitors and put them all in that same location. Whether you’re bringing your own vehicle or you want to rent a vehicle, they’re going to be at gate A.”As far as entering from the parking lot, not to worry — there will just be a shorter distance to walk.“All the entrances will still be at the same locations. The ticket booths will be a little bit closer to the parking lots. As soon as you get inside the fence, you’re going to be inside the show,” Zachrich said.With an expansion to the exhibit area comes the idea of new street names. The Farm Science Review has enjoyed iconic names such as “Corn Ave.” and “Market St.,” at the intersection of which you can find the Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal building. Zachrich and his team said names of any newly added roads are still up in the air.Zachrich also noted the relatively fast turnaround of the project. A team comes together after each year’s Review to talk future changes and the process behind such projects through Ohio State University is extensive and takes time.“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. So being able to put this new fence in and have it ready to go was a major accomplishment for us,” he said. “We have a great site staff that’s been doing a lot of great work. There are a lot of things we would like to do to this site. Stay tuned for the next few years and see what we can accomplish.”last_img

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