LONDON, Ohio -- When the 46th annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review began on Sept. 16, there was little, if any, indication that hurricane-force winds from Hurricane Ike had swept through the grounds two days prior.
On Sunday, sustained winds of up to 75 miles per hour scattered debris, caused minor building and equipment damage, shredded tents, crumpled tent frames and drove metal poles a foot and a half into the ground. But when the gates opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday, it was business as usual. When it was all over, the three-day event, one of the top agricultural shows in the nation, drew 126,555 visitors.
"What a phenomenal Review," said Chuck Gamble, Farm Science Review manager. "This is the show that will be talked about by exhibitors and the farm show industry for years. No doubt the show was meant to happen."
Gamble said that show organizers, exhibitors, vendors and university experts worked around the clock to clean up the damage and have the show start on time for attendees.
"When you walked around the exhibit area during the show's first day, you never would have recognized that it was a disaster area the day before. I can't say enough about the staff who worked hard to get the show up and running, and about the exhibitors and vendors who were patient in dealing with the conditions we were facing," said Gamble. "The one good thing about the whole situation is that we never lost power. If we had, there probably would not have been a show."
The only major event cancelled during Farm Science Review as a result of the storm damage was the Vice President's Luncheon, because the shredded tent that would have held over 600 luncheon attendees couldn't be replaced in time. A handful of other programs were readjusted, but much of the show -- from university educational sessions to field demonstrations to equipment displays -- went on as scheduled.
"Sales were happening and the exhibitors were very pleased. The general economy in agriculture right now is very positive and that was reflected in this year's show," said Gamble. "Despite what we went through, overall we had an excellent show based on exhibitor and attendee comments. Typically, it takes a lot for folks not to attend Farm Science Review."
Next year's Farm Science Review will be held Sept. 22-24 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. Look for the familiar and something new at http://fsr.osu.edu as updates develop throughout the coming year. One aspect of the show that will remain the same for next year is the golf cart-only rule.
"The positive response we got this year in allowing only golf carts and disability-approved equipment for attendees was phenomenal," said Gamble. "Look for that rule to continue next year."
Farm Science Review is sponsored by Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. It attracts visitors from all over the country and Canada, who come for three days to peruse 4,000 product lines from 600 commercial exhibitors, and learn the latest in agricultural research, conservation, family and nutrition, and gardening and landscape.