the Raising Nebraska Exhibition at the Nebraska State Fair will feature a variety of new interactive activities during the 2021 show, which takes place August 27 through September 6 at Fonner Park on Grand Island.
The exhibit, a collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska State Fair, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, covers 25,000 square feet of exhibition space in the Nebraska building. Open all year round, Raising Nebraska encompasses a wide range of immersive, interactive, and hands-on activities designed to help visitors understand the manufacturing, conservation, science, technology, business, and consumption aspects of agriculture in Nebraska to understand better.
“We’ve started digging deeper into the present and future of agriculture in Nebraska, and that’s what we’re all about,” said Sarah Polak, experience coordinator for Raising Nebraska. “When people come in here and think we’re about agriculture, they don’t expect the technology. They don’t know that the effects of our research can often be felt around the world. “
New activities for 2021 include a giant scale that converts a visitor’s weight into bushels of grain, number of newborn pigs, gallons of milk, or about a dozen other Nebraska farm produce. Another new activity shows how agricultural exports from Nebraska get around the world, while another shows how corn is used in hundreds of everyday products.
In addition, popular functions from previous years will be available again in 2021. These include a walk-through map of Nebraska, a combine simulator, and a variable rate irrigation simulator that allows farmers to control individual sprinkler heads to deliver precise amounts of water to different areas of their fields.
“Raising Nebraska set a new standard for agricultural education when it opened at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair,” said Kathleen Lodl, assistant dean of Nebraska Extension. “Just as agricultural producers have to keep inventing new ways to feed the world, Raising Nebraska has to keep evolving and incorporating new ways to tell the story of our food and the families who grow it.”
This year, the Raising Nebraska area will also host dozens of demonstrations, 4-H events, and other programs.
Last year, the 4-H fashion shows were relocated to the Raising Nebraska area. While that decision was made with social distancing in mind, attendees and their families liked the spot so much that it will again be the backdrop for the fashion show in 2021, Polak said.
The Raising Nebraska room will also host a 4-hour robotics demonstration, a 4-hour film festival, cooking demonstrations with famous chefs, a Nebraska Department of Agronomy and Horticulture presentation about uses for hops other than brewing, and more . Overall, according to Polak, Raising Nebraska will offer 85 hours of programming over the 11 days of the fair.
For many trade fair visitors, the Raising Nebraska exhibition has become an annual stop. Since the exhibit opened in 2014, 1.3 million people from across Nebraska and beyond have visited the exhibit, and Polak can say the activities and interactive displays make an impact on returning visitors.
We’re getting deeper questions now – things like, ‘How are drones used in agriculture?’ ”She said.
And as agriculture develops, so will the Raising Nebraska exhibit, she said.
“These activities, which shed light on the technology, research, and precision behind farming in Nebraska, are the elements that we can and will develop,” she said.
Raising Nebraska is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the Nebraska State Fair, and earlier on select days. For a complete schedule, Click here.
Sponsors include the Nebraska Corn Board, the Nebraska Potato Development Committee, Cargill, and the Department of Agricultural Economics.