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LUXEMBURG – The next two 11th days of the month will have special significance for the agricultural community in Kewaunee County and beyond.

It is on Sunday morning, June 11th, that the county's dairy promotion board will be staging its 35th annual breakfast on the farm at the Wallace Dairy Farm, N9388 County P near the border with Door County.

Thirty days later, Tuesday, July 11th, is the opening day for Wisconsin's 2017 Farm Technology Days (FTD) being held at the Ebert Enterprises farm near Algoma and the shore of Lake Michigan.

Those events served as the focus of attention at the county's annual June Dairy Month breakfast on Thursday, June 1. Program emcee Kristy Pagel noted that June 1 has been designated as World Milk Day – a fact which she surmised probably hasn't achieved great awareness even within the agricultural sector and in dairy circles. To recognize it, she asked breakfast attendees a carton of the milk they were having with the meal.

FTD 'Sneak Peak'

The kickoff breakfast attendees were treated to a “sneak peak” at the attractions of the three-day FTD (July 11 to 13). The insights and highlights were shared by guest speaker Terrilyn Hastreiter, who is the publicity chair for the county's 18 member FTD executive committee.

Hastreiter, who has a background as an agricultural instructor at Lakeshore Technical College and more recently as an agricultural lender, also serves on the dairy promotion committee in neighboring Manitowoc County. She noted that there was a span of 1,001 days to the event from when Kewaunee County was awarded the hosting of the 2017 FTD on October 14, 2014 and that only 40 days remained until the event's opening from the day of the June Dairy Month kickoff breakfast.

From her perspective as the publicity chair for the upcoming event, Hastreiter described the host Ebert family – Randy and Renee, and their children Jordan, Whitney, and Whitney's late twin sister Britney – as “humble people” who are imbued with a passion for agriculture and their community. Ebert Enterprises milks about 3,000 cows, crops 5,500 acres, and has about 50 employees.

FTD Attractions

But the 2017 edition of FTD is designed to encompass far more than the host farm, Hastreiter stated. She said the county's agricultural diversity and its geographical attractions, including its frontage on Lake Michigan, will be brought to the attention of the FTD attendees.

About 60 acres are being used to house the Tent City complex which will have about 600 vendors, Hastreiter pointed out. An equine area will offer daily shows by Chris Cox and Dan James on training techniques for horses.

A new FTD attraction will be a farmer's market based on the county's diversity of food production and processing, including apples, wines, raspberries, and cheese. Another special display will be a mini mockup of Lake Michigan.

Tent Programs

In the Family Living tent, at which the opening ceremony will be staged at 9:30 am on July 11, the headline attractions will include Mad Dog & Merrill and music by Bobby Rivers and imitators of Elvis Presley and Reba McIntyre. Youth Tent activities will include presentations on the ingredients in pizza, the making of cookies, the uses of butter, and a tractor safety simulator cab.

An agricultural heritage area will feature live demonstrations and a range of displays of tractors and other farm equipment of bygone eras. A special attraction will be a restored Hamachek pea viner, which has close historical ties to Kewaunee County.

Tractor driven farm tour rides, scheduled for 45 minutes, will visit the free-stall barns, rotary milking parlor, automatic calf feeder unit, and the dairy cow maternity pens. Field demonstrations will include the cutting, merging, and chopping of alfalfa and triticale and mechanical picking of stones.

“You need to spend 2, 3 days to see it all,” Hastreiter remarked.

Promotional Practices

A video produced by Dan Hagenow and featuring members of the executive committee outlines 10 reasons to attend the 2017 FTD. It is available for viewing on the dairypromo.com and www.wifarmtechnologydays.com websites.

In addition to other social media connections, daily Facebook updates are being posted, Hastreiter noted. The executive committee hopes to attract 45,000 attendees during the three days, she said.

To serve a crowd of that size, more volunteers are welcome to help at the food tents, admission gates, and farm tours, Hastreiter announced. She noted that the menu will feature local foods, including the Czech ethnic kolache pastries.

Whatever the number of FTD visitors proves to be, Hastreiter urged everyone involved with FTD and other area residents to “welcome these individuals. Treat them well and they'll come back” for the area attractions which can also be accessed beyond the 9 to 4 daily hours of FTD itself, she promised.

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