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Madison —  Farm Technology Days will return to Jefferson County for the third time when it is held on the Walter Grain Farms.July 23-25, 2019.

The host family - Mike and Sarah Walter - was introduced by the Jefferson County Farm Technology Days Executive Committee last week. The family is no stranger to the three-day event which was hosted by Mike's parents Bernard and Beverly Walter in 1984.

The Walter's operation is located in Grellton in northwest Jefferson County. The couple farms with their two sons and their wives, Adam and Heather Walter and Brad and Kristi Walter and their respective families to comprise this family farm. A daughter and two other sons with their families live nearby.

The family with combined and separate business operations grows corn, soybeans, winter wheat and some alfalfa on over 6000 acres. They also own and operate a farm tiling and drainage business. There is one full-time employee and four seasonal employees.

Walter Grain Farms was selected after thorough consideration of other possibilities. Soil types, land suitability, location, available acreage, cropping plans, willingness and experience were among the factors considered by the Jefferson County Executive Committee when making their selection. Matt Glewen, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days general manager was also involved in the review.

Previous Jefferson County host families along with the Walter's families include Craig and Laura Beane and Bill and Jan Ward who combined their two farms in 1956 to host the event.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days (WFTD) is an annual event. WFTD started in 1954 as a plowing contest. It was soon developed to demonstrate improvements for rural life and ways to mechanize the hard manual work that was common then. Starting as Farm Progress Days its name was changed to Farm Technology Days to more accurately represent the agriculture innovations of today.

Counties are selected three years in advance to allow for planning. Organizing the show will involve nearly 20 operating committees with chairs, co-chairs and members numbering in the hundreds. It is expected that nearly 1500 volunteers will be involved during the show itself. Recently, Dane County hosted in 2015, Walworth County in 2016, with plans for Kewanee County in 2017 and Wood County in 2018.

This event showcases agriculture along with the newest innovations in technology for growing and producing food. In addition there will literally be something for everyone at this three-day show. Horse events, youth activities, rural and family living information, equipment and supplies for small and large acreages to name a few. Visitors will include both large and small farmers, individuals from agribusiness, families and those interested or curious in wanting to learn more about agriculture.

Jefferson County set some objectives when asked to be a host County. Acknowledging the importance of agriculture as important to the County’s economic base, identifying the considerable variety of agricultural production within the County, recognizing the broad spectrum of agriculture processing within the County, encouraging the development of individual and community relationships in the planning process, using WFTD as a springboard to future activity and to enjoy this opportunity.

Forty-thousand plus people are expected to attend the three-day event. Several studies conducted by UW River Falls have accounted for an economic impact of $1.2 to $1.5 million for the show and the three years leading up to it.

People interested in helping with this exciting project whether volunteering or exhibiting are encouraged to contact Katelyn at the Jefferson County UWEX Office at (920)-674-7295.

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