Thursday, August 12, 2010

Geezer Does Empire Farm Days

Stability Demo
Rubber Track Tractor
Yesterday I had a great time visiting Empire Farm Days near Seneca Falls, NY.   Truly a feast of agricultural technology both in information and equipment.   I like to do a systematic tour of the entire expo travelling up and down the streets to gaze upon all the machinery, exhibits and educational displays.   Typically I will encounter old friends and stop off at locations that spark my interest where I get the latest information.   My first stop was at the Cornell building where I was pleased to meet a former student Don Peterson.  We caught up on the latest condition of our mutual friend, Dave Ludington who is now recovering from surgery.    From there it was up another avenue and a stop at a green building purveyor to learn about the efficacy of a new type of panel building construction.  I recommended he read  Tipping Point by Gladwell to get some insights on how his building idea could go viral - ie become widely known.   At the building visit I also saw old friends Rick and Claude Stoker from Moravia, NY.

On my walk I was pleased to come upon a vendor of coffee and donuts at the mid morning time.  They had my favorite apple fritter donut and some good coffee at bargain basement prices.   Over the course of the morning I was entertained by viewing wind energy units, hundreds of pieces of new and improved machinery and demonstrations of wood cutting and splitting.   The crowd of mostly farmers and their children and spouses was also entertaining to observe.   I observed essentially no conflict among the families and clearly the day was one of entertainment and celebration.    Many of the Amish and Mennonite families were present as evident by their unique style of clothing.

Exhibitors also included financial institutions.  It was fun to stop and talk with the Lyons National Bank folks.  When I was growing up, this bank provided financial backing for my father.   Often loans were needed to get the fertilizer, chemicals and other materials for establishing our crops.   This stop gave me a chance to catch up on the status of agricultural business in my home town/county area.

By one o'clock, I was ready for lunch and time to sit down for a while.   A great pulled pork sandwich and salt boiled potatoes washed down with lemonade provide lots of fuel for the remainder of my stay.  Surely a high calorie input and probably not the best diet for a geezer but very filling.

After observing some massive tillage equipment in keeping with my interest in the history of tillage, I also visit the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health display.   Many years ago when I was active in agricultural safety for tractors and machinery I had cooperative ventures with the unit.   I stopped by to pay my respects and ask one of the attendants for convey my good wishes to Dr. May.   He continues to direct this unit through the Mary Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY.    I also had the chance to observe the demonstration unit for agricultural tractor overturn hazards.   The demo allows one to be tipped to a certain point to get a feel for the tip angle that is close to instability.   Part of my career involved simulation of tractor stability and the efficacy of roll-over-protective structures.

Minimum Tillage
By mid afternoon I had completed my tour of the entire show and was ready to head for home.  Fortunately, I had marked my car location (South Lot, C1).   A very enjoyable holiday!!

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