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FTD hosts getting ready for coming shows

April 10, 2014 | 0 comments


            Ken Schroeder, executive secretary of the 2014 Farm Technology Days in Portage County, said the two host farms and a whole group of people are working to make the show a success this summer.

            The show, scheduled for August 12-14, 2014, will be hosted by Feltz Family Farm and Blue Top Farm in Stevens Point – one a dairy operation and the other a vegetable and cash grain farm.

            Because of the importance of vegetable crops in Portage County, the show will include a focus on the production and harvest of potatoes, green beans and sweet corn, as well as forage harvesting. Open ground will be available to use for tillage demonstrations.

            The commemorative farm collectible toy for this year’s show will be an intricate, scale-model potato harvester. The toy and calendars featuring Portage County are on sale at the show’s website, he said.

            Schroeder had the model on display last week during the annual meeting of the FTD board of directors in Madison.

            Dairy farm tours will be available at the Feltz farm, with a focus on their sand separation equipment.

            Following a trend seen in recent years, Schroeder said the show’s food committee is working on having local foods on the menu, including sweet corn and baked potatoes to recognize the bounty that’s available in August from the county’s fields.

 They also plan to serve pork tenderloin with cranberry chutney, in recognition of the cranberry farms that are in the county.

            In addition, an agreement has been made with a local ice cream maker from the county whose products will be featured.

            The entertainment scheduled for the Family Living tent is being finalized and will include at least one former Green Bay Packer as well as performances of “Dairymen - the Moosical.”

            Schroeder said the most gratifying part of organizing the show has been making contact with the community. “The neat part is the outreach. Without people coming forward it wouldn’t be possible.”

            Portage County will host its preview of the show – Media Day – on June 24 at 10 a.m. at one of the host farms, said Melissa Sabel, chair of the promotions committee.


Dane County

            Bob Wipperfurth, chair of the executive committee for Dane County Farm Technology Days, said the Statz Brothers Farm is putting into place the plans to host the show August 25-27, 2015.

            The field demonstrations for the show will include hay and corn silage as well as some tillage work and potentially some tiling demonstrations.

            Fund raising is going well for the show and the committees working on parking, Tent City and field demonstrations have been active. The design for Tent City is on its eighth version or so and is still a work in progress, he added.

            “The Dane County Sheriff’s Department has been very helpful in the early planning for this event.”

            Sixteen committees in all have been working on the show, including a volunteer committee which is in charge of coordinating the many volunteers that will be needed.

            The commemorative toy tractor and implement will be finalized in the next month or so. It will be something that has “never been done before” and it’s something that is important to the heritage of Dane County, he added.

            Wipperfurth said the committee hopes to capitalize on the diversity of agriculture in the county and the mix of urban and rural communities and how they take different views of agriculture.

“We hope to show the general public the importance of agriculture.”

            Dane County is home to everything from specialized farming operations down to small community supported agriculture farms (CSAs) which makes it a good place to highlight that diversity, he added.

            “We are meeting people we’ve never met before and we are really looking forward to doing this in Dane County.”

            Dane County organizers are taking a look at leadership development as part of working with the volunteers.


Walworth County

            Walworth County, which will host the three-day outdoor farm show in 2016 has selected the host farm for the event. It will be held at the Steve Snudden farm near Zenda, in the Town of Linn just north of the Illinois border.

            The farm has 1,000 dairy cows and 3,000 acres of cropland and is located two miles north of Illinois. Walworth County has never hosted Farm Technology Days or its precursor Farm Progress Days.

            Jim Stowell, chair of the county’s executive committee, said Snudden had recently signed the necessary contracts to host the show and was excited to be part of the upcoming event. “It’s a beautiful part of the county,” Stowell said.

            Stowell is a county businessman with trucking, catering and accounting businesses. He also worked with the Alice in Dairyland finals when they were hosted by the county.

            County Extension Agent Peg Reedy, who will serve as executive secretary for the event, said that county leaders felt it was important for them to host the show, especially since the county had never done it before.

            “Maybe we won’t get the far northern county farmers to come but we are getting lots of support from Racine and Kenosha county leaders and farmers who feel it is unlikely that they will ever host the show,” she said.

            There is lots of diversity in Walworth County, she said, and organizers have already gotten great corporate support for the upcoming event with Case IH on board.

            When the show is held, Reedy feels there will be a big contingent of Illinois farmers who will attend. A similar Illinois farm show is held every other year and 2016 will be an off year for that event.

            Reedy is excited about working with the host farmer who stepped forward. “He knew before he left high school that he wanted to farm.”


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