Advancements in technology help many areas

Tom GillsTom Gillis is a corn and soybean producer at Roberts, Wisconsin and serves on the Corn Promotion Board.  He talks about technical advancements, the export market and the importance of upgrading the lock and dam system on the upper Mississippi River.

AUDIO: Tom Gillis (5:00 mp3)

Changes with SRA and crop insurance

Tom OdeenTom Odeen handles crop insurance for M & I Bank, he says that new Standard Reinsurance Agreement with USDA will mean some changes but most producers will not really notice any difference.  He also talks about some deadlines coming up and the need to utilize crop insurance.

AUDIO: Tom Odeen (3:40 mp3)

Opportunities for careers in agriculture

Dale GallenbergThis show is right in the back yard of one of the premier agriculture colleges in the country. Dale Gallenberg is Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.  He says enrollment at the college is strong and the opportunities are there for those interested in a career in agriculture.  He says that even though we have an increasing urban population, the need for agriculture is going to grow.

AUDIO: Dale Gallenberg (5:30 mp3)

Time for Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

The Peterson Family Wisconsin Farm Technology Days this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Pierce County. When Roger and Beverly Peterson were selected as the host farm a few years ago, it was an 80-cow dairy operation. Since that time, a couple of their children decided they wanted to come back on the farm and the decision was made to expand. Within the last year, they built a free stall and milking parlor operation with 250 in the herd. Roger says it was a tough decision at this point of his life but it has worked out well and it is great to have the kids back on the farm.

AUDIO: Roger Peterson talks about his family and their farm

Visit the Pierce County Farm Technology Days website here:

The County Extension Agent is key

Since Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the property of the University of Wisconsin Extension that means the county extension agent is always heavily involved as Executive Secretary for the show. This year that job belongs to Greg Andrews. He has been in Pierce County for over 25 years and has seen a lot of changes during that time. Like other areas, there has been a lot of modernization and consolidation in farms but the sprawl from the Twin Cities has prompted growth of small, hobby farms as well. Another big influence in the area is the University of Wisconsin River Falls especially the college of agriculture.

He is excited to have the show in Pierce County, the first time ever and welcomes the chance to show off agriculture in his county. The fact that tent city will have one of the biggest footprints ever is evidence of the strong support for the show from the area.

AUDIO: Greg Andrews talks about Pierce County

Visit the Pierce County Farm Technology Days website here:

Bringing the show to Pierce County for the first time

Executive CommitteeOne of the unique features of Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the fact it is a travelling show, it moves around to a different host county each year. The show is bid at least three-years in advance which means at all times there are three separate county committees operating at various stages. Mel Pittman is Chair of the Pierce County Executive Committee and like those before him, he cannot say enough about the army of volunteers that step up to make a show successful. He says it has also been a complete pleasure to work with the Petersons as the host family.

AUDIO: Pittman talks about his county, his committee and the show

Visit the Pierce County Farm Technology Days website

Brad family/field demonstrations

Peterson Family FarmBrad Peterson will be a very busy guy this week, not only is he part of the host Peterson Family Farm, he is also heading-up the field demonstrations. Brad is one of the reasons the farm recently expanded, he was an agronomist with Land O’Lakes for about five years and then decided he wanted to come back on the farm. The expansion has meant big changes on the farm going to a free stall, milking parlor, bunker silos and different management style.

As for the field demonstrations, there will be about 70 acres of wheat grain for harvest, they will be making hay including bagging and wrapping and new this year, an “equipment walk-around time” in the field during the noon hour. There will also be tiling demonstrations each day.

AUDIO: Brad Peterson talks about the farm and the show

WFTD Daily Schedule here:

Another big show from Mills Fleet Farm

Five years ago, Mills Fleet Farm did an expansive display at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days to commemorate their 50th anniversary. The display was such a hit, the company decided to do it every year. Mark Stelzl puts the show together each year and he has a lot lined up again this year. This year they will feature three horse hitches, the Meyer Farms ten-horse Belgian pyramid hitch, the Preifert Percheron Texas Thunder six-horse hitch and the Milk Buds.

Once again there will be horse trainers: Lynn Palm on Tuesday, Mike Richardson on Wednesday and John Lyons on Thursday.

There will be continuous entertainment in both arenas along with more than 50 vendors within the display showing off the various products available at Mills Fleet Farm.

 AUDIO: Mark Stelzl talks about the display

The daily arena schedule here:

WFTD will offer tours for non-farmers

Each year Wisconsin Farm Technology Days tries to attract non-farmers to the show but the reality is, a lot of what is on display is quite foreign to those not involved in agriculture. Last year, Jay Richardson ran, a farmer from Spring Valley ran into just such a situation at Crave Brothers Farm. “A gentleman walked up to me and asked what is that piece of equipment? I explained what it was and he was tickled to death, it was just like I made his day by taking 30 seconds to explain something to him.” But that got Richardson thinking and so this year he and a group of farmers from around the state and Minnesota will offer “courtesy tours” of tent city to the non-farm attendees

The tours are free, they will be set up in the Applied Technologies tent, all they have to do is walk up and once they have eight to twelve people, they’ll do a tour. Richardson says the ultimate goal is to build relationships between farmers and non-farmers.

AUDIO: Jay Richardson talks about the tours

American Star in Agriscience: Amy Robak

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The 2009 American Star in Agriscience is Amy Robak of the Foley FFA Chapter in Minnesota. Amy’s interest in undergraduate research involves a number research projects near her home area.

AUDIO: Amy Robak, Minnesota (3:50 MP3)