EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The grounds of the 2021 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Eau Claire County truly came to life July 20-22. There were large crowds of people excited to be at a farm show again after more than a year of weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial estimates are that more than 52,000 visitors attended the three-day show, shattering attendance projections. The familiar striped tents were there. So were the colorful equipment displays and fun ride-and-drives.
“We built it and they came,” said Mike Gintner, chairman of the Eau Claire County executive committee for the event. “We're still tallying the numbers, but the early reports exceeded even our aggressive expectations. We're so grateful for the huge support from our attendees, exhibitors, volunteers and sponsors. The show will have a big impact in Eau Claire County and the greater Chippewa Valley for years to come.
“The Rygg family and all of the people of Huntsinger Farms and Silver Spring Foods went above and beyond to host the show. We're so appreciative of their generosity and support.
“It’s amazing what we were able to do to get to the show. The executive committee and their committee members – more than 250 people – have been double- and triple-planning for more than a year. They planned for different scenarios to be prepared to make the show happen. We stuck together and kept moving forward. It paid off.”
The event featured 520 exhibitors from 26 states showcasing their latest products and services. And 1,532 volunteers made the show possible, with people donating their time in every aspect of the show.
The Youth and Career Discovery Zone – led by Chippewa Valley Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and 4-H – was considered a huge success for kids of all ages. More than 10,000 youth and families walked the chip trail through the exhibits, where they learned about different areas of agriculture. They wrote postcards thanking Chippewa Valley farmers for their work.
Sixteen buses shuttled more than 3,800 people for an educational tour of Huntsinger Farms, Nellie’s Holsteins Dairy Farm and Ferguson’s Orchards.
During the opening ceremony Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers presented Mike Gintner an official proclamation commending the show to the people of Wisconsin. Randy Romanski – secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection – spoke to a gathered crowd.
Wisconsin Sen. Jeff Smith, D-31-Brunswick, presented the Rygg family a State Senate Citation of Service for hosting the show. Bob Bosold of Mid-West Farm Report presented Huntsinger Farms and Silver Spring Foods the “2021 Breakfast in the Valley Friend of Agriculture Award.” Julia Nunes, Alice in Dairyland, led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Our family is so proud that Huntsinger Farms was able to host Farm Technology Days this year after it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,” said Eric Rygg, president of Huntsinger Farms and Silver Spring Foods. “It’s been amazing to work with so many farms and companies in the area to showcase Chippewa Valley’s diverse and world-class agriculture ecosystem.”
Show attendees could partake in specialty-food samples in Innovation Square. The excitement is expected to continue July 12-14, 2022, when Clark County hosts Wisconsin Farm Technology Days at Roehl Acres and Rustic Occasions near Loyal, Wisconsin. Visit wifarmtechdays.org for updates and more information.
Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin.