Brown County – ranked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Wisconsin's 8th largest agricultural county – will host Wisconsin Farm Technology Days on July 15-17. Country Aire Farms, 1440 Lamers-Clancy Road, Greenleaf, is the 2008 show site.
Founded in 1954, the state's largest outdoor agricultural expo travels to a different Wisconsin county each year. The three-day event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments.
The 2008 show features in-field demonstrations of the latest mowing, raking, merging, harvesting, baling and transporting equipment. This all takes place on more than 300 acres of land surrounding a 65-acre tent city boasting approximately 600 exhibitors. At the farm, visitors can see harvested alfalfa packed into bunkers and the wrapping of baled hay. Tillage demonstrations are also planned on a 60-acre parcel adjacent to tent city.
Established in 1968 when Budd Gerrits purchased the farm from his father, Country Aire Farms at that time consisted of 160 acres with 80 cows and 60 head of young stock. Currently, Bud and Ione Gerrits – along with their sons, Mike and Tom, and their families – manage 3,600 acres of crops and more than 1,800 dairy cows.
The Gerrits family.
One of the first farms in Northeast Wisconsin to have a milking parlor in the early 1970s, Country Aire currently milks 3 times per day with a rotary parlor. The milk travels directly to two family-owned milk tankers instead of bulk tanks. The dairy employs 13 full-time people, including Latino workers who joined their operation in 1996. Seven additional part-time employees aid with custom hay and small grain harvesting operations.
According to Budd Gerrits, his family is enthused and excited to have thousands of guests visit their farming operation next year. "We feel blessed to be chosen to host a show of this caliber," he says.
Agriculture provides jobs for 16,759 Brown County residents and accounts for $3 billion in economic activity each year. Brown County agriculture also pays $75 million annually in taxes, which does not include all property taxes paid to local schools.
Further information on 2008 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is available by contacting Mark Hagedorn, Executive Secretary, at 920-391-4612 or by visiting the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days web site at www.wifarmtechnologydays.com, then clicking "Brown County."