Farm Technology Days back better than ever in 2021

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Ken Traaseth, Huntsinger Farms Farm Manager, left, Mike Gintner, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Eau Claire, Executive Committee Chair, and Mark Hagedorn, Vice Chair, right, were on hand at the show site as the first trailer for Farm Tech Days 2021 was placed on the grounds.

After a year off, Eau Claire County organizers say Farm Technology Days is back and stronger than ever.

"At several points we weren't even sure we were going to even have a show, but we kept pushing and planning to make 2021 the best show ever," said Mike Gitner, Chair of the Eau Claire County Executive Committee.

Set to open Tuesday morning, the three-day outdoor farm show runs July 20-22 and will be hosted by Huntsinger Farms, the world's largest producer of horseradish.

From a back-to-back schedule of equine demonstrations to a diverse and entertaining program in the Rural Event Center, Farm Tech Days 2021 will be a jam-packed show that will keep attendees busy, fed, educated, and entertained.

“We’ve got something for everyone and then some,” Gintner said. “We’ve taken the extra year we’ve had to plan an even better show. People are going to see the best that Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley has to offer.”

Everyone from 5th generation farmers to hobby farmers, families with younger children to middle school and high school kids interested in exploring agriculture careers, and the general public who wants to know more about farming in Eau Claire will find exhibits and programs designed for them.

All proceeds from the show will be distributed to youth agriculture programs in the Chippewa Valley.

"Every summer we look forward to those few days in July we can learn about new practices and trends in the ag industry as well as spend time with family and friends neighbors," said Randy Romanski, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "Last year COVID-19 clearly changed all of that. Although our ag industry never stopped working through the pandemic. But those precautions meant we couldn't get together for things like Farm Technology Days, State Fair, World Dairy Expo. But this year, things are looking different. There's a reason for optimism." 

What sets this year's show apart from the ones before? 

This is the first time Wisconsin Farm Technology Days has ever been hosted on a horseradish farm. Huntsinger Farms, owned by the 3rd and 4th generation granddaughter and great grandsons of Ellis Huntsinger who founded the farm in 1929, is the largest grower and processor of horseradish in the world.

Eric Rygg, president of Silver Spring Foods, is the great-grandson of Ellis Huntsinger, a German immigrant who discovered how well horseradish grew on his land in west-central Wisconsin.

Eric Rygg, president of Huntsinger Farms and Silver Spring Foods says his family is honored to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to host the show.

"We're excited to share something most people have never seen, horseradish in its natural state," Rygg said. "When we weren't able to host the show in 2020, we searched for input from some of the other farms involved with Innovation Square, and a lot of people in the community and decided that we had to move forward and offer Huntsinger Farms once more as the host. Besides, we didn't want to let all that hard work go to waste."

This year show attendees can tour two farms and get an up close look at an apple orchard on the guided Farm Bus Tours.

Because the global pandemic caused disruption of the supply chain for many industries, including ag machinery, it precluded several companies from doing farm demos with new equipment.

John Deere will be on site with a large exhibit of tractors and other implements, and attendees will have a chance to Ride & Drive several different trucks, utility vehicles, and ATVs at the show.

Arnie Jennerman who will take over the duties of general manager for Wisconsin Farm Technology Days next year says Farm Technology Days is an event for the whole family.

"It's really an educational experience to see the diverse agriculture in the areas of Wisconsin and how people have operated up close and personal and experience the local flavor," Jennerman said. "This show is really has a lot of diversity in terms of the entrepreneurial businesses that have been developed around agriculture. And I think we could all learn from that adaptation."