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home : top stories : top stories December 17, 2014


6/26/2013 12:51:00 PM
Volunteers gear up efforts for Farm Tech Show

The loading dock is open, and trucks are delivering machinery and other items every day in preparation for Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2013 in Barron County.
Agricultural Agent Tim Jergenson gave County Board supervisors at their regular session June 27 a visual tour of the many activities taking place to prepare for the show Tuesday-Thursday, July 9-11.
Jergenson distributed a colorful map of the "heart of the show," Tent City, that's being established in the hay field of host family Alex and Mary Olson's Breezy Hill Dairy in Dallas. In all, 60 acres are being used for the show, said Jergenson.
To prepare for Tent City, volunteers put 1,100 stakes into the ground in a 6-hour period. "By the time we're done, we'll have 142 tents in Tent City," he said. Streets and avenues have been established to help everyone find their way around the grounds.
Five miles of perimeter fencing was being erected, said Jergenson. A wiring grid for electricity has been installed.
Volunteers are an integral part of the show's success, and Jergenson said that at the time there were 1,447 volunteers, whose training has been ongoing.
For example, volunteers are learning how to drive tractors and trams to take visitors for a tour or field demonstration. They're getting safety training in all aspects of the show. And they're learning how to coordinate parking for the 20,000 visitors anticipated each day.
Nearly half of the volunteers will be working in the Food Tent, said Jergenson.
Volunteers will be identified by the yellow T-shirts they wear, he said. Coordinating the volunteers is no easy feat, and the Barron County Extension office has hired a limited-term coordinator for that purpose, Jergenson said.
Key to the volunteer team are the Barron County Master Gardeners, said Jergenson. They installed a garden at the home of the Olsons as a gift to them for being hosts.
The Family Living Committee gave a bench to the Olsons as a thank-you for their participation in the show, said Jergenson, adding that the Olsons receive no payment for hosting the show that's been 3 1/2 years in the making.
"They withstand any and all of the expenses that are related to any improvements that they make to their farm to host the show," Jergenson said. "They have just been troopers to work with."
The Master Gardeners have a project called Adopt a Barrel, which involved assembling 120 barrels of flowers that will be placed around the show grounds.
"It's still going to be a hayfield, but it's going to be a pretty darn fancy-looking hayfield," said Jergenson. After the show most of the barrels will be moved to the Barron County Fairgrounds for the Barron County Fair.
Jergenson said Media Day was a huge success in getting the word out about the show. "We had a tremendous turnout from our local media as well as the farm media throughout the Midwest, not just Wisconsin," he said.
Charter donor signs will be displayed on the grounds. They list the names of local businesses and individuals who have stepped forward to provide money to pay the bills that come before the show brings in its income, said Jergenson.
County Board Supervisor and volunteer Jerry McRoberts said this week that he wouldn't have believed the show was as big as it is had he not seen it for himself. He added that Jergenson has put in an incredible amount of time to make sure the show is a success.

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