Wisconsin Farm Technology Days a no-go in 2021
A slow ag economy and an off-farm site prompted Wisconsin Farm Technology Days officials to cancel plans of holding the 2021 show at the Jefferson County Fair Park as previously planned.
After the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days state board met with a group of the largest World Dairy Expo exhibitors last week, Matt Glewen, Wisconsin Farm Technology General Manager said the exhibitors were supportive but skeptical about holding a show at Jefferson Fair Park.
"Wisconsin farmers have gotten used to WFTD being hosted on a farm and it seems like that's a difficult tradition to change," Glewn said in an email. "They were far more optimistic about the upcoming shows - 2020 in Eau Claire County and 2022 in Clark County."
Following a long discussion, the board listened to the exhibitors.
"After more than 60 years of on-farm shows, they felt the combination of a slow agricultural economy coupled with a non-traditional off-farm site would not have the level of appeal to attract the large numbers of attendees needed to host a successful show," Glewen said in a news release.
Two sites were under consideration to host the 2021 show, the Iola Old Car Show Grounds located in Iola, Wis., and the Jefferson County Fair Park located on the Northwest edge of the city of Jefferson. Officials with the Iola Car Show wanted to hold the show on their permanent show grounds in 2021 as a pilot effort. However, the FTD board opted to go with the Jefferson County Fair Park which would have meant the show would have been conducted by Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Inc., the statewide organization, instead of being organized and run by a host county.
While there is lots of support from larger agricultural counties to host the show, the problem is that not nearly as many of the counties have the farm population and agricultural infrastructure to host the show as there was 15 to 20 years ago, Glewen explained.
"Thus, we simply did not have a county looking to host the show on a farm in 2021," Glewen said.
When Wisconsin Farm Progress Days was formed in 1952, an early goal was to have the show located on an active farm and move it around the state, according to the FTD history on wifarmtechnologydays.com. In 2003, the event name was changed to Farm Technology Days to reflect the changes in agricultural technology and reduce confusion with another event called Farm Progress Show.
With the 2021 show not taking place, efforts are being focused on the 2020 show in Eau Claire County and the 2022 show in Clark County.
The 2020 show is slated to be held at the Silver Springs horseradish farm in Eau Claire County. Silver Springs, the largest horseradish producer in the world, will be opening up their farm to provide attendees an inside look into the world of horseradish production. Attendees will have the opportunity to see and learn how horseradish is grown and harvested. Additionally, a tour of nearby Nellie's Holsteins, a recently constructed 200 cow dairy operated by the Nelson Family will be on tap for the 2020 show.
Clark County, recently announced its host family this week for the 2022 show. Roehl Acres and Rustic Occasions of Loyal, Wis., will open the doors to their dairy farm and event barn ventures during the 2022 Clark County Farm Technology Days, July 12-14, 2022.