Walter Grain Farms, Johnson Creek, WI
July 23-25, 2019

SIXTY YEARS OF WISCONSIN FARM PROGRESS (TECHNOLOGY) DAYS

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days was initially designed to take the university research findings to the Wisconsin citizens on a functioning farm during an outdoor show. The mission of the show was to promote technologies in agriculture and related industries and provide leadership development and education through businesses, industry and agencies.

The concept for the outdoor farm show was first envisioned by Henry Ahlgren in 1952 when he was chair of Farm and Home Week, an event for farmers to learn about the research findings by university researchers. This event had long been held at the University of Wisconsin Campus in Madison. Ahlgren envisioned a larger event, where both exhibitors and farmers could participate and learn about the latest agricultural advances. Ahlgren indicated the rapid growth of the university was proving to be problematic, especially with regard to parking.

Ahlgren said, "It became almost impossible to get farm people to drive into Madison when there wasn't any place to park." In 1952, several agencies, including cooperative Extension, formed a corporation called Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, Inc. An early goal for the show was to have located on an active farm and move it around the state. The corporation had a board of directors which sets the policies for operation of the show which provides consistency from year to year. Volunteers in the host county provide the workforce to plan and conduct the show. Representative from agencies initially involved on the state board are listed in Table 1, including the agency representative in 1953.

Since that time agency names have changed and six additional representatives have been added: host farmer, farmer and four exhibitors representing crops, livestock, machinery and construction.

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The Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation. The three-day outdoor event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including many practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments.