Farm Technology Days Comes to Kewaunee

After more than three years of planning, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days makes its first appearance in Kewaunee County July 11-13 at Ebert Enterprises on County K.

While the event’s the thing, host farmer Randy Ebert said the relationships that have formed during the extensive planning for the event is probably the greatest benefit for county residents.

“Some of these type of events are judged by how many people attend or how much money is left over, but to me it’s really about the networking of people,” Ebert said. “That’s what I consider the success of this. We’ve met so many good people. It’s so fun to put all these different personalities together and try to make it work. From that standpoint, I think it’s already been a success, seeing all the people come together for this.”

Amber Hewett, chair of the Executive Committee, is thankful for the widespread support the effort has received from the community.

“We have just over 200 people on our planning committees and a little more than 1,600 volunteers who will volunteer the three days of the show,” said Hewett, who is co-owner of Lakeshore Dairy Services and business manager of Kinnard Farms Inc.

Matt Glewen, who serves as general manager for Farm Technology Days for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, agreed that the relationships formed on the committees are the best thing to come out of the event.

“The biggest benefit is the relationships that develop by working together,” he said. “People build relationships and sometimes even meet people from other parts of the county they didn’t know previously. The more people know and trust each other, the more good things can happen after the show. Kewaunee County has been very intentional in involving some very young leaders on the committees, so we know over the three-year period of planning and organizing the show, they got some really good leadership experience and that’s a very good thing for the community to have going forward.”

He added that the local committees are instrumental to the success of the event, and they are trained by committee members from other counties who have already held the three-day event.

“Once a year we get all the counties together that are working on a show,” Glewen said. “There’s three in the hopper and one that just hosted the show. We get them all together, and then each committee will meet individually. After this year’s show, the Kewaunee County folks will teach the Wood, Jefferson and Eau Claire county folks what they did on each committee, and each committee writes some pretty detailed reports. It’s a pretty neat process.”

He added that at this point he is pretty much hands off because the committees do all the heavy lifting.

Hewett said the Executive Committee she chairs was formed in August 2014. The next month three potential farms were suggested to host the event.

“We went around and toured the dairies and looked at the sites that were proposed,” she said. All three met the criteria for size, which includes enough room to erect a tent city and another 400 acres for field demonstrations.

Then they looked at where each farm is situated and the roads leading up to them.

“We have 45,000 people coming to this event, so we had to make sure our roads worked,” she said.

The final key point for the decision was based on drainage – two of the farms are located on clay-based soil while the Ebert farm is on a gravel base.

“Considering we’ve had five inches of rain in the last few weeks, I’m really glad we’re sitting on gravel,” she said.

Randy Ebert said he and his wife Renee prefer to remain under the radar, but were happy to step up for this event because they saw it as an opportunity to represent agriculture but also as a benefit to the entire county.

“This obviously has taken us out of our comfort zone,” Ebert said, “but agriculture has to tell their story. Even though we’re not comfortable talking about what we do all the time, we have to tell our story. From our standpoint, our family is very humbled to be a part of this. We do this as a county event. It just happens to be on our farm. That’s truly how we look at it.”

Ebert points out that although he and his family are proud to represent the dairy industry, they wanted Farm Technology Days to showcase all sorts of area producers, so he said in Tent City you will see a local hops grower next to the owners of the new Thumb Knuckle Brewery in Walhain, or a vineyard owner next to a local winery, or a beekeeper and a maple syrup producer, along with CSA farmers talking about what they do. He’s happy this event is bringing all these small businesses together to show what they do.

“I think watching that develop and how some of those people have met, that to me is one of the most rewarding things from Tent City,” Ebert said.

He also praised the dedication of committee members.

“We’ve had an absolute rock star publicity group and the fundraising group, the amount of time they’ve given and using different avenues to reach people. Now, I see the Tent City Committee and the Grounds Committee hard at work. It’s just so much fun to watch some of these guys work.”

Hewett said right from the moment Kewaunee County was chosen to host the event, the idea was to boost the whole economy.

“One of the things our committees and the Eberts really wanted to do was showcase all of the agriculture of Door and Kewaunee counties,” she said. “So we’ve put together a farmers market with beekeepers and wineries, breweries, all different forms of agriculture and hopefully showcase a little more than just dairy. We have a fishing charter that will bring in a boat and talk about the impact of the lakes and the fishing industry. We also have a farm to fork area where youth attending can follow the process from field to table of a piece of pizza or sugar cookies.”

Ebert said people have compared the planning of this event to planning a wedding.

“That would be the really sad part of this, if it just ended,” he said. “All of a sudden we won’t have a reason to meet every month. But we’ll stay in touch, that’s for sure.”

For more information on Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County, visit

Schedule of Events

ADMISSION: Cash only, $8 per person; children 12 and below are free; FFA and 4-H students accompanied by their instructor/leader are free

  • Interactive demonstrations, discussions and displays – both inside and outside of UW-Extension’s Education Station, will highlight stewardship of the land, water and environment. Scientists from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey will use a karst landscape model to demonstrate water movement through fractured bedrock systems and the unique geologic features of such topography. Karst landscapes are found throughout Kewaunee and Door Counties. Ken Bradbury, Director and State Geologist, will be featured in Specialist Central on Thursday, where he will talk about regional groundwater systems.
  • Visitors to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days can have their well water tested for nitrate, the most common health-related contaminant found in Wisconsin’s groundwater. This is a free on-the-spot test, and it will only take a few minutes to get the results. If you would like to have your water tested, simply bring one cup of your well water in any clean container to the UW-Extension Education Station.
  • Farmer interest in cover crops, and thus the need for objective, research-based information, has exploded in recent years. UW-Extension experts will provide information about the innovative use of cover crops and soil health, including cover crop demonstration plots and hands-on activities on measuring soil health. Various pieces of cover crop planting and interseeding equipment will also be on display. A soil pit will highlight soil properties as well as new tile drainage technologies.
  • Visit with UW-Extension state specialists and county agriculture educators about innovative technology for your farm operation at the UW-Extension Education Station. Interactive displays include the use of iPads to score hooves for digital dermatitis also known as hairy warts, infrared cameras to detect infections, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), ATP meters to determine cleanliness, and gas monitoring systems and masks.
  • In the Equine Area, horseman/clinician and Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee Chris Cox; horseman/entertainer Dan James; Mounted Justice, the only Wisconsin-based cowboy mounted shooting club; and the Wisconsin Draft Horse Breeders Association.

See the complete program at

Article Comments