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EC County bid considered for 2020 farm show

Public feedback sought aboutpossibly hosting2020 tech event

posted Jan. 10, 2017 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Chuck Rupnow. bio | email

Eau Claire County may be submitting a proposal to host the 2020 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, officials said Monday.

Mark Hagedorn, UW-Extension agriculture agent for Eau Claire County, and Robin Leary, chairwoman of the County Board’s UW-Extension Committee, both said there has been discussion since December about the project.

“Nothing is etched in stone yet,” Hagedorn said. “What we’re really interested in is feedback from the community about what they think of this endeavor. We have to go into this with our eyes wide open.”

Eau Claire County hosted the event, then known as Farm Progress Days, in 1992.

“This event offers a real good educational experience, is a great way to promote agriculture and would be a real economic boost to the area,” Hagedorn said, “but with that said, you need to have a volunteer infrastructure to support that kind of enterprise.”

Leary said her committee will be discussing the proposal idea at a meeting Wednesday.

“It’s on this week’s Extension meeting agenda to just get a general update and to discuss it. Mark approached the committee in December about the possibility of submitting a bid, and we’ve been kind of reviewing a few things since,” she said.

Leary said proposed staffing changes within the UW-Extension system and financial concerns will be major topics for the county to consider in whether to make a bid, which would need to be submitted in April.

Leary also plans to meet with Eau Claire County Administrator Kathryn Schauf later this week to discuss the proposal idea.

“We just want to make sure we know what the responsibilities of the county would be, especially financially,” Leary said. “If we do this, we want to do this right. We’ll know much more by the end of this month.”

Farm Technology Days is the largest agricultural show in the state and one of the nation’s largest. The three-day outdoor event features improvements in production agriculture, including practical applications of research findings and technological developments.

This year’s event is in Kewaunee County in mid-July, followed by 2018 in Wood County and 2019 in Jefferson County. About 30,000 people attended the 2016 event in Walworth County.

The event was in 1998 in Dunn County, 2004 in Chippewa County, 2005 in Clark County, 2010 in Pierce County and 2013 in Barron County.

“It would be wonderful to do here, but there are some concerns,” Leary said, adding that major financial sponsors would be very beneficial. “We’ll be taking a real hard look at this.”

Contact: 715-830-5831, chuck.rupnow@ecpc.com, @crupnow on Twitter