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Town, country meet at Dayton Ag Expo

By Staff | Feb 20, 2009

The Dayton Community Center was the place to be Friday during the 17th annual Dayton Ag Expo. An estimated 350-400 people toured the 40-plus exhibits.

DAYTON – Donelson Distributing … Dayton Community Grocery … R&W Power … Hunziker & Associates.

Active and retired farmers and residents of this southeast Webster County community gathered Friday for a day of socializing and catching up on the local news, in the Dayton Community Center while seeing what’s new in their town and in the world of agriculture while browsing along rows of vendors’ booths.

According to event coordinator Meredith Hurtado the 17th annual Dayton Ag Expo was well attended. “With the economy the way it is,” Hurtado said, “I wasn’t sure how many people would attend.”

Security Savings Bank … FC of Farnhamville … Lambert Farms … Tri-County Cash Lumber Mart.

Over the years, the daylong exhibits have gone from mostly agricultural businesses to a blend of Dayton retailers and other local small businesses. “We try to provide something for everyone,” Hurtado said.

Dave Mickelson, right, owner of Mickelson Seeds, speaks with a friend at last week’s Dayton Ag Expo.

A feature of the day is a free pork burger lunch, paid by the Ag Expo committee and cooked by Webster County Pork Producers. “We usually feed 350 to 400 people,” Hurtado noted. Not bad for a community that boasts a population of 800.

Sandholm Real Estate & Insurance … Clocks and Things … Enquist Lumber Co. … Farm News.

Security Savings Bank provided an activity for all attendees to scoop loose change into a coin counter and guess the total of the scooped change. Those who guessed within 5 percent of the total without going over, were awarded the money.

Dana Lantz, who heads up Farm News’ advertising department, was also manning the newspaper’s booth. “This is a nice show,” Lantz said, who had just spent three days in the booth at the Pork Congress two weeks ago and three days at the Iowa Power Farm Show last week. “A lot of people know each other here. It’s just a good feeling here.

“Besides, to what other show can you go and eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor?” Lantz asked with a laugh, pointing to the multitude of shells that were being crushed underfoot. Aside from peanuts, complimentary popcorn was also available for expo attendees to munch. In addition, most booths provided candy.

Ebony Scott, 8, of Dayton, scoops loose change into a coin counter Friday during an activity sponsored by Security Savings Bank at the Dayton Ag Expo.

Dayton Farm Drainage … Blair Peterson Insurance … Diehls of Dayton … A1 Pace Septic Service.

The new Dayton Community Grocery offered samples from a meat tray, a vegetable tray and a variety of cookies. After the meat tray was consumed within the first two hours, many of the attendees dug into the cookies, leaving the raw broccoli and carrots for the afternoon’s visitors.

Kirk Donelson, of Donelson Distributing in Ogden, was selling stationary and portable corn-burning stoves. “A few years ago we got bad publicity because people were mad because we were burning corn while people were going hungry,” Donelson said. “Now that they are picking on ethanol instead, we are selling more (stoves) again.”

NEW Cooperative … Van Kooten Ag Service … T&L Properties … Mort’s Plumbing and Heating.

Donelson said he sees a big difference in the generations that were roaming the room. After one gentleman walked away when he learned that a 5,500 btu space heater cost $1,050, Donelson commented that “if they are older people, anything over $100 is too much. If they are younger, what’s a $1,000?”

Kathy Jondle, owner of Express Yourself, in Dayton, checks on a computer-operated sewing machine as it embroider the Southeast Webster-Grand's Eagle logo on a ball cap during Friday's Dayton Ag Expo.

Edward Jones … Anderson Implement … Carpenter Construction Inc. … Xenia Rural Water.

Dick Swanson, who was manning the Dayton Farm Drainage booth, said he was one of the few to help start what has become the Dayton Ag Expo. He noted that there’s been a big change in the people who attend the shows. In the early years, Swanson noted, “about two-thirds of the people were farmers. Now about one in 10 are (active) farmers.”

King’s Christian Bookstore … Dayton Rodeo … West Central elevators … Webster County NRCS, Conservation Board and Extension.

The Dayton Rodeo, which is set for its 2009 run for Sept. 4 through 7, was giving away free tickets in a drawing, while announcing its main entertainment Troy Lerwill – The Wild Child. Lerwill is a rodeo clown that mixes his professional motorcross riding skills for comic entertainment during rodeos.

The rodeo is also planning to set a “date night” theme after Friday’s competition.

Dayton Lions … United Bank of Iowa … Iowa Learning Farms … Mickelson Seeds.

Back in the concessions area, where boxes of free doughnuts and bags of peanuts were available to all visitors, Kathy Jondle of Express Yourself, in Dayton, was busy setting up a computer-controlled sewing machine to embroider the Southeast Webster Eagles mascot.

Established in the center of town, Jondle said her business also does extensive embroidery services for the Daviess-Dekalb Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Mo.

The Carpet Store … Pickett’s Salvage LLC … CS Construction … Harcourt Equipment.

Dave Mickelson, of Mickelson Seeds, said some of his customers are considering planting more beans than they did last year, depending on when fertilizer costs drop, and the kind of weather that spring will bring.

“A lot of people didn’t get any fertilizer put down last fall,” Mickelson said. “If we get an early, dry spring, they’re willing to go with ammonia.

“But some people have purchased their own sidedress gear, because they don’t want to wait in line for elevators (and chemical dealers) who can’t do everybody at the same time.”

McCrary- Rost Clinics … Express Yourself … Bella on Main … From Miry Clay Pottery.

“The more people we can get into Dayton, the better it will help the town,” explained coordinator Hurtado. “And the proceeds from this go back into the community center.”

Contact Larry Kershner by e-mail at editor@farm-news.com.

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