“Best show in a decade”

John Oncken
Approximately 52,000 people visited the grounds of the 2021 Farm Technology Days in Eau Claire County.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days have come and gone and the state’s ag world is happy. Firstly because the event was held after the year sabbatical due to the coronavirus pandemic and secondly because people (some 52,000) came to Eau Claire County to sample the fruits of the of the four-year long preparation by the hundreds of volunteers. 

The three-day outdoor farm show did (as promised) have something for everyone and the crowds came: Perhaps just to “get out” and see friends, neighbors and the suppliers of the products and equipment they now use, or maybe to see and learn about things they plan to use in the future.   

Location, Location

"This was the best show in about ten years,” an owner of a farm equipment company commented to me. “And, unlike some of the recent Farm Tech Days the crowds were there and in a buying mood". Maybe it was the because the location was in an area where lots of smaller dairy farms are still operating and maybe people did just want to get out.

The Badger Steam and Gas Engine Show is held every August at its location between Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells.

He also commented that the 2022 Farm Tech Days scheduled for Clark county is also in an area of smaller farms and should be another great event. But, he knew little about the 2023 show set for the Badger Steam and Engine grounds in Sauk County, except that it would be a major change in the direction of the event. as the first non-county hosted show in the event's six-decade history. Note: While a formal announcement hasn't been made, show manager Matt Glewen reported to the media that it "looks fairly certain that the 2023 show will be held at the Baraboo Steam and Gas Engine Grounds", located about halfway between Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells.

Executive Committee Chairman Mike Gintner said the show would not have been possible without the hundreds of volunteers and exhibitors who stepped forward after four years of planning the event. "We built it and they came," Gintner said.

And, over 3,800 people learned about horseradish as they toured host Huntsinger Farms Horseradish Farm - certainly something new, different and memorable.

California passed Wisconsin in milk production in the early 90’s, The state has 1.7 million cows vs. Wisconsin’s 1.2 million.

Milk production up in June

Total milk production from Wisconsin’s 1.27 million cows rose 2,8% during June Dairy Month when compared to a year ago according to the USDA's monthly milk production report. Nationally, 18.1 billion (up 3.2%) pounds of milk was produced in the 24 major dairy states for the month. 

California continues to remain the top milk producing state with about 1.7 million cows and 3.45 billion pounds of milk in June. The top milk production states all showed increases: CA at +3.1%; WI was +2.8%; ID up 3.6%; NY a + 3.1% and TX gained 7.0%. South Dakota had the greatest percent-increase in June output--about 14.7% over a year ago and 18 of the top 24 states had higher year-to-year production last month.

Lifesaving rebates from NFMC

The National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic is again offering rebates to help farmers cover the cost of installing rollover protective structures (ROPS) on their tractors. Coordinators say farmers can apply for a ROPS rebate of up to 70% through the NFMC. Staff members will research the ROPS options for the tractor's make and model and provide the applicant with estimated costs, as well as sources for purchasing the ROPS. When the ROPS is installed, the farmer will send in the receipts and receive a rebate check in the mail.

More than half the tractors in Wisconsin do not have this projection, according to the group's findings.  For more information about the program, call the National Farm Medicine Center at 877-ROPS-R4U.

A memorial fund has been established for Jeff Hicken.

Jeff Hicken Memorial Fund

The Wisconsin FFA Foundation has announced the establishment of the Jeff Hicken Memorial Fund, in honor of the State FFA Advisor and Department of Public Instruction consultant who passed away on June 18.

Hicken, a UW-River Falls graduate began his career at Sauk Prairie High School as the agricultural education instructor in 1998. In 2006, he began his service at the state level as the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education Consultant and State FFA Advisor with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, a position he held until his passing.

Those who wish to contribute may send donations to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation at 1241 John Q. Hammons Drive, Madison, WI 53717 or may give online at

Plant-based food ingredient

The Green Boy Group, a non-GMO and organic plant-based food ingredients supplier in North America, Europe and Australia has announced it is launching Plant-Dairy Protein, a new functional plant-based protein developed for the plant-based dairy industry. Plant-Dairy Protein is said to have a neutral flavour profile, enhance mouthfeel, boost nutritional value, and improve the textures aspects in plant-based dairy products. Frederik Otten, co-founder of Green Boy Group added: “The plant-based dairy products are developing rapidly in all sorts of forms and shapes, and you have to be able to keep up with their demands. Our customers want to create the ultimate plant-based cheese, yoghurt or spread…  

It’s the third anniversary for the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center.

Ag attraction celebrates third year milestone

The Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center is celebrating three years of operation with activities, animals, equipment, special guests, and food samples Thursday, July 29 – Saturday, July 31. Abigail Martin, Program Manager, says it's "Perfect for the whole family and it's a great excuse if you've never been out to the Discovery Center at the big red barn along I-43."

For a full schedule of events, go to

John Oncken can be reached at 608-837-7406, or email him at