JOHNSON CREEK — Visitors approaching Walter Grain Farms recently have been quick to spot several large tents that have been erected in the days before Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, hosted this year by the Walter family in Jefferson County. Semi-loads of equipment continue to be delivered daily with crews also working diligently to install temporary fencing, wire electricity and construct buildings on the 65-acre site that will soon welcome an estimated 40,000 people.
Brad Walter said traffic has really picked up a lot within the last week at the farm, with event organizers coming and going daily to check on the progress within their areas of the show and members of the Walter family staying busy preparing their operation for an influx of people. Pole barns have been going up and many of the tents have also been raised, and as of last week, the installation of two miles of bright orange perimeter fencing around Tent City was nearly complete.
“That was a lot of fence posts to dig,” Walter said with a smile.
In the days before the outdoor show, the grounds crew, in which Walter is a part, will be the busiest. Deliveries are expected to pick up significantly, and everything needs to be checked in at the Farm Technology Days site headquarters before it moves into the fields for setup.
“The guys have been mowing the alfalfa every day since the tents went up,” Walter said, adding that the fields have also dried out nicely and will be ready for numerous demonstrations during the show.
One of the demonstrations at this year’s show will be a first-ever tiling and drainage demo, in which the Walter family will be helping as they also run their own draining business from the farm.
“I think a lot of people will be curious about it and how the water is managed below the ground,” he said.
Walter was born two years after his parents first hosted Farm Progress Days in 1984, but recalled what he has heard from family about the big event. He believes the biggest change has to do with the way electricity is brought to the site; what is now run with generators used to require a lot more planning, including placement of new power poles and lines. Although installation of electrical is still a huge task taking an estimated four to five weeks, it is less complicated than it used to be.
While it takes three years to plan each Wisconsin Farm Technology Days event, the family is also prepared to help tear down the massive show after it concludes. The week after is just as busy as the month before, Walter said.
“The family is excited and ready for the show to be put together and to see how many people show up,” he added. “I have four kids between the ages of 5 and 9 and they are thrilled to have this in their own backyard.”
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is July 23-25 at Walter Grain Farms, W5340 French Road, Johnson Creek. Hours on Tuesday and Thursday run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
For more information on Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, see our inside pages on this event.