31st annual Greater Peoria Farm Show

By Joe Bennett

November 27, 2012 Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- As many as 30,000 people are expected to attend the 31st annual Greater Peoria Farm Show at the Peoria Civic Center.

The show began at nine this morning and this year, it is all about keeping up with the times.

For the agriculture enthusiast wanting to see what's new at the Farm Show this year, look no further than the wheel of a tractor cab.

"To properly steer it and guide it and what have you, there's a lot of technology out there that will help with that,” said John Sampson, Farm Show Marketing Director.

Ag experts here say technology, such as "steer assist", has progressed to the point that tractors can drive themselves. So, crop producers can now focus more on what's happening around them as they go through the field.

"Most of the guys are asking about GPS equipment and talking about updating to newer equipment that's coming out," said Jim Muhlstadt, Stoller International Manager.

Mike Francis is one such seasoned farmer seeking newer equipment. Francis has yet to apply the technology to his equipment, but he will consider it an investment when he does.

"It saves chemicals; it's just better cost-wise and saves you money,” said Francis. “It's better for the environment because you don't overlap and have extra chemicals out there and such."

"It allows the crop to be planted at certain lengths in the field so that it doesn't have to go as far as wasting seed,” added Muhlstadt. “It also doesn't over plant so he's able to make more yield in those areas also."

To a veteran farmer, GPS equipment will contribute to a better bottom line. To a farmer who is new in his field:

"Without the GPS and the steer-assist he'd be taking out fence posts or skipping half his field," said Sampson.

In all, more than 350 exhibitors have wares to display at the three day event taking up almost every space in the Civic Center. The farm show runs through Thursday from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.

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