Farm & Ranch Expo tips hat to our major industry

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Even in this economic downturn, McCook is blessed to have a thriving economy, driven by manufacturing like Valmont and Parker-Hannifin, industry like the BNSF railroad and oilfield service businesses, plus institutions like the school, college, hospital and clinics, not to mention our role as a retail trade center, entertainment and dining.

But we should never forget that underpinning it all is agriculture in the form of grain and meat production. Since the earliest days, our region's prosperity depends on putting soil, water and sunshine to work in creating a valuable commodity where none existed before.

It's in recognition of that fact that 300 vendors from 20 states and Canada are converging on the Red Willow County Fairgrounds Wednesday and Thursday for the McCook Farm & Ranch Expo.

Featured attractions include three-time world champion bareback rider Will Lowe, who will be signing autographs in the Kiplinger Arena at noon each day, Dean Gorsuch, PRCA world champion steer wrestler from Mullen, will sign autographs, Southwest art dealer Jackson Clark who will speak at 1 p.m. each day in the 4-H building, Miss Rodeo Nebraska Amy Amack, who will sign autographs at noon in the Community Building, and, of course, pig racing in the Kiplinger Arena at 9 a.m. each day.

State Sen. Mark Christensen will speak in the Kiplinger Arena at noon on Wednesday, and new this year is a beer garden, which opens at noon each day.

Be sure to register at any of the corporate sponsor booths to win two 10-ticket Tri-City Storm hockey packages to be given away at the conclusion of the Expo.

Nebraska leads the nation in the production of red meat, great northern beans, popcorn and in the amount of irrigated land. We're number two in the number of cattle and calve, cattle on feed, pinto beans and proso millet.

We're number three in corn for grain production, grain sorghum and dry edible beans -- and the list goes on and on.

If you really want to find out about Nebraska agriculture today, a visit to the McCook Farm & Ranch Expo Wednesday and Thursday is a good place to start.

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