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Wisconsin Farm Technology Days (FTD) starts off on Tuesday, July 23 looking to the future by hosting the first-ever Ag Career Day. 

"We are trying to celebrate the future, we have to even in a tough economy, so that we don’t continue to have a labor shortage," said Peter Curran, or Pioneer Pete, with the fundraising committee.

Free for up to 1,000 students in grades 7-12, students board one of the 20 Cheesehead Express busses departing from 10 different locations in the state. 

Once on the grounds, students will go to the Future Generations Center to start the interactive career scavenger hunt, powered by Allflex Livestock Intelligence. Each student will be wearing a lanyard that holds a cow RFID tag. Students will then be given a clue sheet leading them through 12 stops in tent city where they will need to scan their RFID tag with an Allflex wand.

Career stops will range from plant gene editing, to animal handling, to financial services, to robotic milking, with the goal being to show students the many possibilities for an agricultural career in Wisconsin. 

Curran hopes students will see that there is so much more to a career in agriculture than working on a farm. 

"Lely milking robots - they're short on IT techs. You don't need to know anything about cows or what they eat," Curran said. "You just have to know how to run that computer. That's all Lely needs. If there was an outdoor IT person, that would be a perfect job."

As part of the career day, students will hear from Kim Bremmer of AgInspirations. Bremmer will provide tips and language to help celebrate ag rather than just defend it, Curran said.

Related: Bremmer to dispel myths about ag at Farm Tech Days

With 250 signed up at the end of June, Curran was hoping to have 500 students participate in the activity. 

"We have room for 1,000, but if I get 500 I will be thrilled," said Curran. 

To participate in Ag Career Day, students grade 7-12 must register online or with their FFA or SkillsUSA Chapter. However, Curran said they will take walk in registration the day of the event. 

The trips will be FFA Chapter sponsored events and be provided free transportation, a free Ag Career Day t-shirt and free admission to the show. Students will need to bring cash to purchase food and beverages.

For more information, contact Curran at 608.658.4452 or peter.curran@plantpioneer.com.

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Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or carol.spaeth-bauer@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carol.spaethbauer.

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