By MaryBeth Matzek
MAA Editor
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is a three-day event, but the planning for it takes nearly three years.
In 2015, Kewaunee County was awarded its first-ever Farm Technology Days, an agriculture show. Matt Glewen, who works with University of Wisconsin-Extension, was tabbed as the event’s part-time manager and began assembling the pieces for the event.
“There is so much planning that goes into the event. There are only three part-time employees – everything else is done by volunteers,” he said.
A critical first piece was finding a host family. Fortunately, Randy Ebert and his wife, Renee, stepped forward, offering to host the event at Ebert Enterprises.
“Ebert Enterprises is a well-managed farm,” Glewen said. “It also is on soil that drains well, which is important since we put up a lot of tents. This soil can take a lot of rain without us worrying about having to cancel because the ground is too wet.”

The Ebert family began milking cows in 1997, going from zero to 1,000 animals in five years. Between 2002 and 2012, they doubled in size via internal growth and in 2012, they purchased a neighboring farm, bringing Ebert’s herd to 3,000 cows.
The Eberts raise all the animals on the farm and are breeding the bottom 25 percent of the dairy herd to Angus for beef. They also raise corn, alfalfa, sorghum, small grains and triticale on nearly 5,500 acres. 
The family, which includes a son and two daughters, working with 40 full-time and 15 seasonal and part-time workers.
The farm went through a number of upgrades in anticipation of hosting Farm Technology Days. A new 80-stall rotary parlor was built, which allows the herd to be milked three times a day with less staff. The old parlor is used for fresh cows.
The Eberts also utilize a system separating sand and fiber from manure so the sand can be recycled. Using reverse osmosis, the farm is looking to recycle more than 50 percent of the water from manure. They are also building a custom system to distribute the concentrate manure between crop rows for optimal placement.
Hosting Farm Technology Days “isn’t about us, this is about Kewaunee County,” Randy Ebert said.
More than 30,000 people attended last year’s event, which was held in Walworth County.
Farm Technology Days is a giant trade show with more than 600 exhibitors sharing equipment and technology advances, Glewen said. 
The event includes farm tours, heritage equipment displays, a youth tent with hands-on activities, a family living tent with educational displays and entertainment and food tents. Innovation Square, which is about the size of a football field, will allow the county to showcase its agriculture successes. 
“Education is a big component for the entire show,” he said.
Then there are the field demonstrations. Between 300 and 400 acres of the Eberts’ farm will be used for the demonstration area where the latest equipment will be used for tillage, alfalfa forage harvesting and triticale forage harvesting demonstrations.
“The demonstrations are extremely popular since farmers can see new equipment and technologies at work,” said Glewen, adding the host family’s only compensation for the event is the seed provided for the field demonstrations area. 
A full schedule of events and information about exhibitors will be posted on the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days website about six weeks before the event. A printed booklet will also be available onsite.A closer look:
Wisconsin Farm Technology Day is the state’s largest agriculture show and one of the largest in the nation.
Dates: July 11- July 13
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Ebert Enterprises Inc., E5083 County Road K,  Algoma, Wis.
Website: www.wifarmtechnologydays.com


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