Farm Talk Newspaper Editor Samantha Athey sat down with Lance Markley, Four State Farm Show coordinator and Farm Talk Newspaper publisher, to discuss the decision to move the Four State Farm Show to May in 2019.
Athey: So the big news at this year’s Four State Farm Show was the show date change for 2019, how did you make the decision to change the dates?
Markley: Obviously, it was a major decision and not one to be taken lightly. The Four State Farm Show has been at its current location and held in July since 1984. Prior to that, the show was held in various locations in Miami, Oklahoma; Parsons, Kansas; and Pittsburg, Kansas. The July dates were originally chosen to be compatible with area farming schedules including wheat harvest completion and double-crop bean planting with about the only interference being hay baling. Much has changed in the last 34 years. In 1984, many farmers drove pickups and/or tractors without air conditioning. That’s a different story today. We’ve received many compliments about each year’s show but the primary complaint in recent years has been the excessive heat. With the decision being made to not continue in July, it was time to look for alternatives.
Athey: How did you decide on the first weekend in May?
Markley: After polling a number of area farmers, implement dealers and other show exhibitors, May or June became obvious choices. June was ruled out due to soybean planting, wheat harvest and on-going haying. May brings Mother’s Day, graduations and Memorial Day into the equation. The first weekend in May surfaced as a window of opportunity with some farming being completed, some not yet started and less competition from outside factors.
Athey: Do you have weather concerns for the new dates?
Markley: Sure, I have weather concerns for any outdoor show, regardless of the time of year. We have seen extreme rain just prior to our July dates in the past. If anything, I believe May weather to be more favorable today than years ago. We know for certain July will be extremely hot. Early May has the potential to bring pleasant show conditions.
Athey: How will the demonstrations be affected?
Markley: The new drone demonstrations proved to be popular and I anticipate their return in 2019. The date change should not affect those, the Argo XTV, the water well drilling, or the lawn mower test-driving area. This year’s hay demonstration participants have indicated a desire to continue but maybe switch to high-moisture baling. With eight balers in the field this year along with mowers, rakes and miscellaneous equipment, the hay show remains popular. Other demonstration opportunities are also being considered for next year.
Athey: Will the show hours change?
Markley: If so, only slightly. Maybe from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. compared to 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this year.
Athey: What about the new features initiated for this year’s show?
Markley: The golf cart rentals were very popular and will return for 2019. Our cooling tents will become more of a rest area with tables and chairs and will still be located close to concession stands.
Athey: How have people responded to the announcement?
Markley: It has been overwhelmingly positive. Several companies that have dropped out of the show are already expressing an interest in returning. Spectators are looking forward to cooler temperatures and spending more hours at the show.
Athey: Do you have any final thoughts to share about next year’s show?
Markley: The Four State Farm Show has been in existence since 1975 and has a proud heritage of promoting agriculture in the Four State area. Farm Talk Newspaper employees work year-round to ensure the show is successful for exhibitors and enjoyable and informative for attendees. Any changes made are with the sincere desire to see the show remain as the area’s premier agricultural event.