MAGIE celebrates 40th anniversary

A display at August's MAGIE show at the McLean County Fairgrounds / CIFN photo.

BLOOMINGTON – Members of the agricultural input industry were able to come together over the summer to mark the 40th anniversary of the MAGIE show at the McLean County fairgrounds.

The Midwest Ag Industries Exposition featured more than 75 exhibitors and attracted thousands of attendees. The event started in Danville and eventually moved to McLean County in 2004. The annual show was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“You aren’t going to see combines or stuff like that but anything dealing with the chemical and fertilizer industry like all of the new sprayers and ammonia equipment,” explained Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president Kevin “K.J.” Johnson.

MAGIE is unique since it is the only show in the country dedicated to the industry, with a ride and drive area spanning around 40 acres. Those attending were able to test drive the new CASE and John Deere sprayers along with other brands.

“You can get in any new piece of equipment and drive it,” Johnson noted.

Show highlights included the National Agronomic Health and Safety School at the nearby Asmark Agricenter, a farewell celebration for retired IFCA president Jean Payne and a MAGIE tailgate party.

Johnson said things have been going well with IFCA as he hopes to be able to hold the IFCA convention later in the year. Major issues have included the energy bill in Springfield and employment. Retaining CDL drivers has been a challenge.

“I don’t care if you are in the fertilizer and chemical world or wherever else, it’s hard to get truck drivers right now.”

Johnson’s family farms in Champaign and Vermilion counties and reports his fields look good, even though beans to the east took on plenty of water during the growing season. He feels fortunate to be in Central Illinois.

“I’ve talked to some friends I used to work on Capitol Hill with from South Dakota and Minnesota and it’s dry out there,” observed Johnson.

After losing a good friend in a farming accident, Johnson hopes farmers stay safe out there this fall by exercising caution around equipment and being mindful on the roads.

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