The Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2021 – Eau Claire today laid out its full program for the show that will be hosted by Huntsinger Farms in Eau Claire, July 20 – 22, 2021. From a back-to-back schedule of equine demonstrations to a diverse and entertaining program in the Rural Event Center, Farm Tech Days 2021 will be a jam-packed show that will keep attendees busy, fed, educated, and entertained.
“We’ve got something for everyone and then some,” said Mike Gintner, Chair of the Eau Claire County Executive Committee. “We’ve taken the extra year we’ve had to plan an even better show — we can’t wait for the show to start next month.” Everyone from 5th generation farmers to hobby farmers, families with younger children to middle school and high school kids interested in exploring agriculture careers, and the general public who wants to know more about farming in Eau Claire will find exhibits and programs designed for them. All proceeds from the show will be distributed to youth agriculture programs in the Chippewa Valley.
In a briefing to the media and a variety of associations, Gintner, Mark Hagedorn Vice Chair, Eric Rygg, president of host Huntsinger Farms and Silver Spring Foods, and Lee Caraher, Communication Chair of the Eau Claire committee, in addition to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary-designee Randy Romanski, General Manager Matt Glewen, Associate General Manager Arnold Jennerman, and show exhibitor coordinator Anna Maenner, outlined key programs for the 2021 show that set it apart from any previous show.
Some of what’s different about the Eau Claire Farm Tech Days Show:
o This is the first time Wisconsin Farm Technology Days has ever been hosted on a horseradish farm. Huntsinger Farms, owned by the 3rd and 4th generation granddaughter and great grandsons of Ellis Huntsinger who founded the farm in 1929, is the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the world. Huntsinger processes and markets its horseradish and mustard products through its Silver Spring Foods subsidiary.
· Fun Fact: Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, now Farm Technology Days, was started to show farmers how electricity could benefit their farming operations. At this year’s show Huntsinger Farms will be showing its Solar Farm that generates over 18% of the electricity needed to run its farming operation.
o The show was originally planned for 2020 but had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Rygg family generously offered to keep 290 acres of its farmland out of rotation to be able to host the 2021 Farm Technology Days.
o Two and a Half Farm Tours! This year show attendees can tour two farms and get an up close look at an apple orchard on the guided Farm Bus Tours. Attendees who want to visit the farms will board buses between 9:30am and 2:30pm Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and visit host Huntsinger Farms, 4th and 5th generation dairy farm Nellie’s Holsteins, and do a slow drive by Ferguson’s Orchards, one of the largest apple producers in the Mid-West, and the top agritourism destination in Wisconsin.
o Innovation Square will feature five outstanding area family farms displaying their best in class crops and products and the different technologies and processes they use to ensure the future of their farms. They are:
· Chippewa Valley Bean Company (and its home farm Doane Farm), the largest grower and processor of kidney beans in the world.
· Ferguson’s Orchards, one of the largest apple producers in the Midwest growing 37 varieties of apples including Pizazz, Sweet Tango, and Honey Crisp, and the top agritourist destination in Wisconsin with its award-winning Pumpkin Patch
· Marieke Gouda, the national and international award-winning farmstead Gouda cheese company that only uses milk from its Penterman Dairy that pumps milk directly from the double 12 milking parlor into its creamery
· Silver Spring Foods, subsidiary of Huntsinger Farms, the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the world.
· Superior Fresh, the largest aquaponic farm in the world growing organic leafy greens that is fed by the first land-based Atlantic Salmon farm in the US that only uses organic food for its fish farm.
o Over 480 companies and organizations from across the country have signed up to exhibit at this year’s show. Some Canadian exhibitors have had to delay confirming their exhibits due to Covid-19 restrictions that may bar them from coming to Wisconsin from Canada.
o Youth Tent and Career Discovery Zone is a jam-packed tent that will entertain and educate kids of all ages and connect high school students to great training opportunities. Follow the wood chip trail to discover and explore agriculture related careers. Any youth 18 years and under completing the activity guide will earn a free scoop of Culver’s Custard. Stations in the Youth and Career Discovery Zone include: STEM activities, a beekeeping display, a petting zoo, a new display from the Eau Claire Children’s Museum focused on activities for elementary and middle school-aged kids, agriculture-related career exploration for middle and high school students, a touch-a-truck experience, virtual farm tour theater, and show sponsor Culver’s Thank-A-Farmer station. Youth who complete the self-guided tour will earn a free scoop of Culver’s custard.
o University of Wisconsin – Extension Education Station will have a large Education Station exhibit staffed with educators who can provide expert advice on all aspects of Agriculture and Horticulture. Exhibits will include Crops and Soils: alternative crops and cropping systems; Dairy and Livestock where the focus will be on reducing stress in cattle and calves that impacts production; Grazing and Goats; Farm Management; and Horticulture and Master Gardeners.
o Future of Farming through the eyes of four young women farmers Alice in Dairyland will moderate a panel about the future of farming with four young women farmers: Miranda Nelson – Nellie’s Holsteins, Katy Fitzgerald – Superior Fresh, Sarah Kolk – Silver Spring Foods/Huntsinger Farms, Allie Holub – Riverview Dairy Farm
· Fun Fact: Alice in Dairyland, Julia Nunes is from nearby Chippewa Falls
· When: Tuesday July 20th at 2pm in the Rural Event Center
o Rural Event Center will have a full program on the stage including the Opening Ceremony, Alice in Dairyland, Mad Dog and Merrill, music by Katie Rothbauer, Inga Witscher – Around the Farm Table, music by Danville, and important informational presentations covering financial, farm business planning, electrical safety, farm management platforms, and more.
o Ride & Drive This year shipping and supply chain challenges created by the global Pandemic has precluded several companies for doing farm demos with new equipment. John Deere will be on site with a large exhibit of tractors and other implements, and attendees will have a chance to Ride & Drive several different trucks, utility vehicles, and ATVs at the show.
o Chris Kroeze will perform every day and has donated a private concert to the raffle! Super singer/songwriter Chris Kroeze from nearby Barron, Wisconsin (runner up on the The Voice) will perform every day in the Rural Event Center at 12:15pm. He has generously donated a private concert for the winner of the raffle (must be within 50-mile radius of Eau Claire)
o The Big Rygg specialty burger created by Jason Meyer of Big Stack Meats is a tip of the hat to the Rygg family, Eric, Brittany, and their three children, hosts of this year show. It’s a meal in itself! A hearty bun with a hamburger, horseradish sauce, Big Stack Meats pulled pork, a piece of chicken, a piece of Wisconsin cheese, a run around the garden with lettuce and tomatoes, and a great big stick through the top of it to hold it all together. Price $10.
o Wisconsin FFA High School Tractor Driving Contest – this year many counties were not able to hold their county contests to determine who would travel to Eau Claire for the finals. Farm Tech Days Eau Claire will host the entire contest over three days in the Tractor Driving Arena near the Youth Tent.
o Over 200 older tractors and farm implements will be on display in the Heritage Area and attendees will get a good look at the evolution of farm implements over the last 100 years.
· Fun Fact: Kids and Adults can register for the Pedal Push Tractor Pull every day at 9am. Kids contest starts at 10am every morning, adult contest starts once the Kids’ winner is declared. (Kids 100lbs and over can compete in the adult contest.)
o Local Fiber Farmers – local fiber famers will have new lambs on site and a full display of how they raise sheep for wool. Located in the UW-Extension exhibit area.
The show will take place on July 20, 21, and 22 from 9am to 4pm each day. Tickets are available now at www.wifarmtechdays.org. Single day entry is $10, 3-day passes are $25, and a 5-person family pack for a single day is $40. Tickets bought ahead of the show will allow attendees to use a fast entry. Tickets are also available at the gates the day of the show.