For the 13th year, visitors to Farm Technology Days will have the chance to see special programs in the Beef Tent and see live cattle representing many beef breeds.
Nancy Thomas, longtime organizer of the beef programs at FTD, said visitors will be able to participate in special events like auctions, hear farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson and see meat cutting and cooking demonstrations that place an emphasis on consumer demands.
Samuelson, a Wisconsin native who made his fame at WGN in Chicago, will be a special guest in the Beef Tent on Wednesday Aug. 13, with programs at 11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
The Wisconsin Beef Council will also be on the program with recipe demonstrations, and visitors will be able to see and compare cattle in 11 or 12 different breeds brought in by members of the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association.
Breeds will include Buelingo, Fleckvieh, Belted Galloway, Pinzgauer, Normande, Highland cattle, Hereford, Shorthorn, Simmental and Angus. Thomas said it's possible even more breeds will be present when the show rolls around Aug. 12-14.
"We have a tent that's 40 by 240, and it's full," she said. "It has been our vision to have the whole beef industry working together.
"If a person is considering beginning a beef herd, the Beef Tent is a good place to start."
When organizers began bringing various live animals to the three-day annual outdoor farm show, they wanted to provide a one-stop opportunity to dairy farmers who might be considering getting out of dairy and looking for another livestock enterprise.
Thomas thinks this is still a great venue to take a look at many aspects of the beef industry — including live animals — for any farmer who might be thinking of raising beef cattle.
"An individual can learn about the outstanding characteristics of each breed," she added.
Steve Leigh, a professional meat demonstrator, will be featured all three days of the show with an emphasis on new beef cuts. Working with Leigh will be Conrad Kvamme from the Midwest Quality Beef Assurance program and Sarah Agena with the Wisconsin Beef Council. Agena is a dietitian who will emphasize the nutritional value of beef in the diet.
Thomas said this programming is intended to be informative for both the consumer and for beef producers.
Other exhibitors and displays in the Beef Tent include Animart, Equity, Summit Livestock Facilities, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, Wisconsin Auctioneers Association, Midwest Dairy Beef Quality Assurance, Wisconsin Beef Council, Beef Byproducts, Calving Process, Beef for Kids, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Cattlemen's Beef Board and Beef Check-Off and the Wisconsin Cattlewomen and National Cattlewomen, Thomas said.
John Freitag, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Beef Council, will be on the program, and Kvamme will talk with producers about Dairy Beef Quality Assurance — protecting the meat supply from animals that have illegal residues of antibiotics.
Alan Clark of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium will have up-to-date animal ID information.
Summit Livestock Facilities, from Indiana, will have Ryan Lindsay from Mineral Point on hand to talk about cattle equipment and buildings.
Equity, a longtime exhibitor and sponsor of the Beet Tent, will have marketing information at the show for producers.
Thomas said there will also be programs and exhibits specially aimed at entertaining and educating children.
Once again, the beef organizers will team up with the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association and hold an auction each day. Thomas said it's always interesting to see how various auctioneers work the crowd in different ways.
"We'll have seven or eight different auctioneers, and people can see their lingo and styles and how they are different."
Anyone interested in donating an item to be auctioned off can bring it to the Beef Tent by 9:30 a.m. the day of the auction. Proceeds are split between the auctioneers' group and the cattle group.
"We've had everything from doilies to lawn chairs, tools and benches donated to this auction," she said.
The WCA portion will be used to fund the expenses of a beginning producer who wants to go to the 2015 National Cattlemen's Beef Association's national convention in San Antonio.
In addition the Beef Tent will offer the chance for young people interested in the auction business to learn about it from auctioneers. Young people can register on the morning of Aug. 14 in the Beef Tent and then return for the training session at 1 p.m. said Ken Thiel, WAA Beef Tent representative.
One of the reasons the auctioneers' group and the beef group have teamed up for Beef Tent activities is that "auctions and beef cattle just go together," Thomas said.
There will also be ample opportunity to learn about national and state legislative efforts related to the beef industry, she said.