There will be lots for visitors to see and do at the 2015 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Dane County near Sun Prairie, according to show organizers.
This year's show will be held Tuesday, Aug. 25, through Thursday, Aug. 27, at Statz Brothers Farms. The Statzes farm 6,000 acres and milk 4,000 cows between Sun Prairie and Marshall. They grow corn, alfalfa and soybeans. A few weeks before the show, the Statzes were busy putting the finishing touches on a new double-50, state-of-the art milking parlor which visitors will get a chance to see. Guided tours of the farm will be available on buses.
The theme for this year's show is "Capitalizing on Ag" highlighting the fact that the state's capitol is located in Dane County. This is the third time Dane County has hosted the show. The show was held in Dane County in 1970 and then again in 1986.
"Hosting an event of this size requires a lot of cooperation from the host family and we are lucky to have the Statz family who have been really helpful in making this all come together," says Dane County Extension Crops and Soils Agent Heidi Johnson, who serves as 2015 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days executive secretary.
The show will feature daily field demonstrations, several theme tents and more than 575 commercial and educational exhibits in the 70-acre Tent City. Lots of experts will be on hand to answer questions about everything ranging from weeds, soil and insects to water quality, tillage, drainage and conservation.
Drinking water testing will be available on site.
David Smithback, co-chair of the Field Demonstrations Committee, says field demonstrations will be held daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on alfalfa and corn, which will be harvested for silage. There will also be daily tillage demonstrations.
Demonstrations will include
* pull type and self-propelled mower-conditioners
* rakes and mergers
* pull-type and self-propelled choppers
* kernel processors
* chopping wagons
"We will also have a self-unloading chopper wagon from Holland here that everyone will get a chance to see, too," Smithback says.
Hundreds of equipment manufacturers and dealers from the Midwest will be on site to discuss visitors' needs and available options.
A Ride and Drive area will be located on the east end of Tent City. A variety of equipment will be available for test-driving, including auto-steer tractors, sprayers and skid-steer loaders. This year there will also be demonstrations of unmanned aerial vehicles. They are used for crop scouting and will be demonstrated in the ride and drive area.
"There will be pickup trucks in the Ride and Drive area completing an obstacle course," Smithback said. "We're also going to have some demonstrations with sprayers out in the field."
In Education Square, visitors can see a cover crop plot and learn about 15 different cover crop species.
"There will also be deer food plots and a pollinator garden," Johnson says.
In addition to on-site generators providing electricity to Tent City, there will be one direct line of electricity coming from the Statz Farms digester providing power to the show.
In Innovation Square, there will be solar-powered cell phone chargers available for visitors to use and wireless Internet will be available on the grounds.
Local foods featured
Six food tents will be serving baked potatoes, Wisconsin State Fair pork chop sandwiches, Angus beef burgers and cheeseburgers, brats and hot dogs. Chef salads and garden salads will also be available, according to Scott Johnson, Food Committee chair.
"We'll also have Pizza Hut pizza that will be baked fresh on site," says Scott. "And of course we'll have milk, soda, ice tea, lemonade and juice. Our soda vendor will be Pepsi."
There will also be two ice cream tents featuring Sassy Cow ice cream from nearby Columbus.
"We'll have vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, Arctic mint fudge and Cherry Dairy Delight which is cherry ice cream with marshmallow and chunks of chocolate," Scott explains.
There will be four beverage trailers on the grounds in addition to the food and ice cream tents.
Scott says several groups are helping with the food tents. Those groups include Marshall FFA Alumni, a group from Stoughton High School, Kiwanis groups and Sacred Heart Church from Sun Prairie.
"Dane County 4-H members will be making the baked potatoes for us," he says. "A group of Rotary clubs will be running one of the ice cream tents. A group from Marquette County 4-H will be operating the other ice cream tent. It's a nice fundraiser for them and it's good they will get something for all of their hard work."
The Statzes and some 1,250 Dane County volunteers have worked countless hours during the past three years to plan every detail of the event, ensuring visitors will see the latest and greatest farm technology Wisconsin agriculture has to offer.
"We have 33 chairs and co-chairs. They are a really diverse group and it has been exciting to watch them work together and grow in their roles," Heidi says. "Many of them are already leaders in the agricultural industry but I think planning this show has brought them some fun and interesting new challenges. They've done a great job of stepping up to the plate and getting the job done. I'm impressed by all the amazing talents and skills that our volunteers have. Their efforts are really appreciated. We're in great shape and ready for the show."The Statzes have been great to work with, Heidi adds.
"It's important to have hosts who are flexible and easy to work with and they are a wonderful family with a top-notch facility," she says. "We are honored to work with the Statz family. I'm excited for everyone to see such a well-run farm."
The cost of admission is $6 per person. Parking is free. Children 12 years old and younger will be admitted free.