Task of hosting 2022 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days sinks in at Roehl Acres with media day event
While the magnitude of hosting the 2022 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Clark County may not have sunk in yet for the Dennis and Suzie Roehl family, given this year's weather, they know what that sinking in feeling is like.
Roehl Acres of Loyal, home to more than 500 registered dairy cattle, was one of six applicants for hosting the show in Clark County.
"It was a very hard decision to make," said Clark County Committee Chairman Chuck Rueth during a media day event on Oct. 21. "Any one of those applicant farms could have done the show."
It's the third show hosted in Clark County, with the first show in 1984 and another in 2005. Rueth was chairman for the 2005 show and worked at the 1984 show.
Erlin Roehl bought the farm in 1968 and milked cows for many years before they decided to stop milking cows in 2003, Dennis Roehl said at the media day. That's when Dennis and his dad Lowell (Erlin's brother) decided, "Hey that would be a great idea for us," Dennis said.
The Dennis and Suzie purchased the farm in 2005 from Dennis’ father, Lowell, who still helps with the fieldwork. Dennis and Suzie’s children make the third generation on the farm.
Along with operating the farm, Lowell’s brother Erlin and his wife Bonnie Roehl and their family started an event barn, Rustic Occasions. In 2017 when Doug and Kim Roehl's daughter was getting married she wanted "nothing better than to get married in grandpa's barn," said Dennis. "And Rustic Occasions was born."
The event barn, Rustic Occasions, is operated by Doug and Kim Roehl.
“Small farms are becoming a thing of the past and people are looking for ways to convert their farms into other forms of income,” Erlin said in a press release.
After thousands of hours of working turning a barn stuffed with hay into a events venue, it made sense to include Rustic Occasions in Farm Technology Days.
"What do you do with an old barn rather than tear it down?" said Dennis. "Why not make it into an event center."
Roehl Acres registered dairy herd is milked daily in an over 100-year-old stantion barn. Even though the barn may be considered old technology, it is working at peak efficiency, with the family milking three sets of cows in the barn twice a day.
With their commitment to Clark County and passion for agriculture, the Roehl families are excitement to host Farm Technology Days in 2022.
“Clark County offers the traditional feel of agriculture, but has adapted to many of the new technologies available for use in agriculture,” Richard Halopka, Clark County’s extension crops and soils agent, said in a news release. “We are excited to host the show with our theme: ‘Where tradition and technology meet.’”
The Clark County show is scheduled for July 12-14, 2022.