I headed over to the Dakota Farm Show going on at the DakotaDome in order to document something I think we won’t continue to see for much longer: the sea of big pickups.
You won’t see many foreign models at the farm show, that’s for sure. You will see an assortment of big, usually light-colored American sedans (sometimes hard to see over the pickups)–some of the older farm couples cruise to town in their more comfortable cars (that they don’t have to climb five or six feet down from to get out).
In this image, I’m not trying to show you the “Geo-Excel” logo so much as showing you between the bars of that cage to the other parking lots (and lawns) overflowing with, for the most part, big pickups. I wanted to get higher up so I’d get more of an eagle-eye view, but even standing with my feet triangulated on the top corner of my truck’s box, I couldn’t get high enough. Here’s why:
There’s my truck parked next to one of the average size of almost all of the other trucks in the lot. It makes me feel kind of lithe and maneuverable–like through the maze of higher and higher gas prices yet to come.
I’m not doing this to cast aspersions on the farmers with big pickups–though I do have to wonder how useful those things are for loading and unloading–they’re so high it’d be hard to reach anything in the bed.
There were some older, beat-up farm trucks (the kind you see and know that’s what they’re used for), but a lot of these trucks were pretty darn shiny and unscathed by hard wear. I don’t think they’ve been pulling the manure spreader lately, if you catch my drift.
Like I said, I’m not casting aspersions–really I think you have to have a big pickup to be taken seriously as a farmer in South Dakota (luckily, I don’t mind not being taken seriously). But I’m interested in documenting this assemblage of monster trucks mostly because I think we’re going to see the end of that era soon.
Here’s the Dakota Farm Show itself:
I took a little over an hour and walked through all the booths and exhibits. Lots of chem/GMO/big machines/tools, etc. I saw a few folks I knew and signed up for a few drawings (tools, gift certificates, but not bags of GMO seed corn).
Got some info on booth set-up costs for next year in case any farm/ag-oriented organizations I know want to set up a membership drive table. There was another section of booths in a back part of the Dome you can’t see in this shot where I found the Skystream wind turbine booth and picked up some info on that.
You can definitely see the energy crisis/environmental awareness edge starting to trickle in, though it’s pretty subdued. I didn’t see anyone advertising anything organic–it’s a pretty cut-and-dried conventional farm show. But I did see a automatic home composter at one of the tables, the aforementioned home-scaled wind turbine, and some interesting information about different kinds of forage/pasture crops for livestock–turnips, teff, some kind of Italian grass.
It was a little “stranger in a strange land” for me, but kind of fun at the same time. I don’t have a lot of use for a lot of the stuff there, but its interesting to see the trends–including, by the way, lots of manure spreaders.