Siouxland’s agricultural roots, Vermillion, SD

7 Jan

This week there is a 3-day agricultural event at the University of South Dakota’s DakotaDome in Vermillion, South Dakota, The Dakota Farm Show. The show packs in a few hundred exhibitors featuring all sorts of ag-related businesses and equipment, both large and small that farmers and ag producers in the Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota areas can attend and learn what is new and might be helpful in their production.

Like any event, I find it a fascinating place to people watch. Nothing slick, high brow or over the top, such your down to earth kind of folk who do the hard work that feeds this country and others.

One group of guys I met all live within 30 miles of one another in Nebraska and were hanging out and having a good time at the show as they wandered the aisles of stuff.

Dakota Farm Show


Most all farmers and others in ag production wear caps. My dad as a farmer always wore a cap, and sometimes was admonished by my mom to take it off at the dinner table. But given the recent cold temps, a couple of the guys were possibly showing off.

Dakota Farm Show Dakota Farm Show

The DakotaDome at USD is an arena where the school’s sports, football, volleyball, basketball, track, etc., are played. It is large, and there were booths set up everywhere imaginable for those attending to see what is currently available. In talking to one ag support business I told him that my dad would never let me drive the tractor doing certain things like plowing or planting because I could not drive a straight line. The straighter the lines the more crop seeds that can be squeezed into the area to produce more crops and the potential to make more money. This gentleman told me that now there are systems that can even run at night with satellite imagery overlayed onto a farmer’s field so once the computer program is started the farmer never touches the tractor wheel and is guided through the field by the satellite image and the computer program.

When I was leaving I briefly talked to another vendor and said in passing it was a nicer day, not as cold or below zero for the moment. He responded that being able to stay inside is what made it a nicer day, which gave me pause to reflect that there are very few days that farmers and other people involved in the day-to-day ag business actually stay inside. And with the current brutal polar vortex that has descended on the Siouxland area, I only wished these guys had a five-day event rather than just three.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


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