by Cori Hilsgen
Local residents and businesses once again crowded into the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud to attend the 48th Annual Central Minnesota Farm Show Feb. 24-26.
Large machinery displayed outside the center offered visitors a glimpse of new models available. Inside, exhibits, booths, prize registrations, seminars and more beckoned to those interested in learning more about trending practices and latest products and services related to agriculture.
About 3,000 people attend the show annually. Local businesses hosting booths at the show included Cy Pfannenstein Music Service, Powerhouse Outdoor Equipment, Finken Companies, Lumber One Avon and more.
Cy Pfannenstein once again had a 10- by 10-foot booth to offer a variety of compact discs with music choices that included polka, country, gospel, and more.
Pfannenstein owns Cy Pfannenstein Music Service and as a former band member who played the trumpet, drums and concertina in various bands for more than 35 years, Pfannenstein understands some things about music choices.
Before setting up his music booth, he was previously involved with the Beef Council and KASM booths at the show. Pfannenstein decided to sell his music at the show when he realized that many of the new-and-improved tractors and combines came with new-and-improved music systems that allowed drivers to have more listening options.
“The show is better this year than last,” Pfannenstein said. “Many returning customers are stopping to look at new selections.”
His mother, Ginny Pfannenstein, 82, also returned to the show to help at the booth.
“I am happy to be back,” Ginny Pfannenstein said. “I enjoy the show. It is a very nice show.”
Many people who know both of them locally from the St. Joseph Meat Market stopped to visit with them and discuss music options. Ginny and her husband, Al, previously operated the St. Joseph Meat Market. Her son, Harvey, now owns it. Cy is currently in charge of the sausage department there.
Pfannenstein also hosts a Sunday morning radio show on KASM radio station in Albany.
The KASM booth offered children a chance to play KASM blackout bingo and register for prizes. Freeport resident Mandy Welle and her four children (Hannah, 9, Jack, 7, Alex, 4, and Lucy, 5 months) stopped at the music booth to have Pfannenstein sign their bingo sheets. They were hoping to win tickets to the Great Theatre Company’s performance of Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Vic Boeckmann and his son, Michael Boeckmann, hosted the Powerhouse Outdoor Equipment booth. Boeckmann and his wife, Ruth, own the business with Craig and Kristin Wolf.
Their booth gave visitors a chance to see new selections in lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers and more.
Michael Boeckmann is the store manager for the St. Joseph location. He was happy to point out the new technology of the Exmark Lazer Z zero turn lawn mowers, including fuel injection and a steering wheel instead of operating levers.
“The Farm Show is one of the best shows,” Vic said. “It gets a very good turnout with good traffic and a lot of interest.”
“Spring is on its way. Come in and look at the new equipment,” Michael said.
Aaron Rieland hosted the Finken Companies booth. He said this is the seventh year that Finken has had a booth at the show.
“It is a great day,” Rieland said. “We have had a good turnout so far and I have talked to a lot of good people. It is nice to see familiar faces from past years and to talk to old customers and meet new ones.”
Brian Abraham and Dave Ritzer hosted the Lumber One Avon booth. Ritzer said they have been at the show for several years now.
“It’s usually a good turnout and we get three or four leads at the show,” Ritzer said.
The Central Minnesota Farm Show is organized and coordinated by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Special events coordinator Ginny Kroll said the show grows every year. She said this year’s event included 200 exhibitors and 370 booths.
Organizers added more seminars and rebranded the show with a new logo and updated website. Speakers discussed topics such as crop-cover options, decision agriculture, adapting your marketing approach to weather and demand, dairy-markets outlook, passing the family farm through generations and commercial-vehicle regulations.
According to Farm Show information provided by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 1.32 million acres of Minnesota’s 26 million farm acres are dedicated to conservation and wetland-reserve programs. Of 12 types of soil found in the world, Minnesota has seven of them. The state ranks third in the nation in corn production, third in hog production and fourth in soybean production. The average farm size is 349 acres and less than 1 percent of the state’s population is employed in farming.
Revenue from the show helps support central Minnesota agriculture. Kroll said they will give out eight $400 scholarships to seniors from area high schools. Students who are interested in pursuing careers in the industry should apply through their school counselors. For more information, visit the website, centralmnfarmshow.com.