WPS Farm Show returns for 60th anniversary

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Bryan Schultz, of Oshkosh, and his sons Owen, 12 (left) and Evan, 8, check out a New Holland mower at the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show in Oshkosh.

OSHKOSH - It's been two long years since farmers and vendors met face to face at the annual Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Farm Show in Oshkosh. With spring in the air, everyone is eager to cast off the winter doldrums and check out what's new during the three-day event's 60th anniversary, Tuesday through Thursday, March 29-31 at the EAA grounds in Oshkosh.

“We’re thrilled to bring back this signature event that’s been an annual favorite for generations of farmers and families,” said Rob Juneau, show manager. “We’re proud to continue this 60-year tradition of helping our agricultural customers and farms of all sizes grow and thrive.”

WPS spokesperson Matthew Cullen said the WPS Farm Show is one of the company’s signature events each year, providing farmers with the opportunity to “grow new ideas”. Each year the show draw approximately 20,000 people from across the state and beyond.

Rob Juneau is the long time manager of the WPS Farm Show, this is in addition to his job as an agricultural consultant WPS.

Cullen said show organizers are excited to mark the event's 60th year, noting that the show started in 1961 and was held at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena and featured 25 exhibitors.

"It was an opportunity for vendors to demonstrate the displayed the era’s state-of-the-art technology, including silo unloaders, vacuum pumps and milk coolers," Cullen said. "Fast forward to today and we have nearly 400 exhibitors from 18 states and two countries showcasing products that can help farms run as efficiently as possible including animal feed pushers, animal nutrition products, farm machinery software and corn harvesting equipment."

Visitors will also see hundreds of innovations up close, including large farm machinery, robotic milking systems and precision planting technology.

In addition to longtime exhibitors, the WPS Farm Show also is seen as a valuable event for new companies. Cullen says 35 exhibitors will make their debuts at this year’s event.

"Over the years we've heard from both our show-goers and vendors that they like the format of the show because it provides them with those opportunities to see different products and equipment that can help them run their farm as efficiently as possible," Cullen said. "No matter if you're a small family farm or a large dairy farm."

Along with seeing the latest innovations, attendees can visit the WPS booth to learn how to use energy efficiently on farms. WPS agricultural consultants will be available throughout the show to answer questions, discuss energy needs and share tips on managing energy use on farms.

Farmers are eager to get out and see what's new and innovative at the year's first farm show in Oshkosh.

Working for farmers

In addition to equipment and product vendors, service and ag organizations will also be on the grounds to answer questions from farmers including Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin who will provide dairy producers with checkoff information and details about how checkoff builds demand for Wisconsin milk.

"I believe a number of farmers would be surprised to learn all the facets of what their checkoff is doing to grow demand and protect the brand of Wisconsin Cheese and Wisconsin Dairy," said Brenda Murphy of DFW. "Many farmers can see firsthand the support at local dairy breakfasts celebrating National Dairy Month but most dairy farmers won’t have the opportunity to the efforts outside of Wisconsin through retail and media to move more product. Coast to coast we have relationships with key retailers to showcase Wisconsin Cheese at the point of purchase."

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Since 90% of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese and 90% of that cheese is sold outside of the state, Murphy says DFW emphasize the brands in major population areas and with trendy retailers to encourage trial and sales of Wisconsin Cheese.

Representatives from both Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, dairy advocacy groups, will be available to listen to producer concerns during the event.

"The WPS Farm Show is a great event for our team to visit with farmers and industry supporters to share what we are doing but more importantly learn more about how we can support our dairy allies," said Travis Senn, the groups' communications manager.

Presley Putzke, 7, of Berlin, takes first place in his group for the Kiddie Tractor Pull at the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show in Oshkosh.

Farm shows on deck

Cullen says the WPS Farm Show is not only a great opportunity for farmers to take advantage of the lull before the planting season, it gives them the opportunity to speak with vendors about supply chain concerns and product availability. 

"One of the factors that has been present year in and year out is that relationship factor, the ability for farmers to connect with those different vendors and exhibitors to see what types of equipment and products they have available," Cullen said. 

Another farm show that gives vendors an opportunity to meet with farmers is the Wisconsin Farm Technology Show slated for mid-July. Bob Meyer, publicity and promotions chair, will be in attendance at the WPS Show to spread the word about the 2022 event in Clark County.

Coming off a successful show in Eau Claire County last year, Meyer is eager to welcome guests to Roehl Acres.

"Historically, WI Farm Tech Days have done well in the central Wisconsin area, the central location and easy access bode well for the event," Meyer said. "As for COVID, I think people have learned how to deal with the virus as part of life and are taking it in stride. Attendance has been good at everything from basketball games to farm shows, and I fully expect a return to normal for the WPS Farm Show and I hope the WI Farm Tech Days can enjoy the same and we can return to the days where the biggest 'unknown' was the weather."

Additional attractions

Visitors to the 60th anniversary show also can stop by:

  • The WPS Farm Show Food Tent, featuring food from several state nonprofit groups.
  • A silent auction benefiting the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and Oshkosh West FFA (located in Hangar B).
  • Kids’ tractor pull (March 30 at 12:30 p.m.).
  • Health screenings from University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh nursing students and Rural Health Initiative.
  • The WPS Farm Show office (west end of the grounds) to purchase a WPS Farm Show hat for $5. All proceeds are donated to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation.