Jefferson County is hosting Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in 2019
Walter Grain Farms – W5340 French Road – Johnson Creek, WI 53038
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.
Host Farm Information:
Walter Grain Farms
The Walter Family had its start in farming in 1957 when Bud & Bev purchased 50 acres in Jefferson County’s township of Grellton. Their son Mike and his wife, Sarah, took over the farm in 1992, naming it M&S Farms. The farm and family grew quickly. In 2003 the Walters decided to rename the farm Walter Grain Farms. The 2nd and 3rd generations continue the farming tradition started by the late Bud Walter, with the 4th generation coming up fast!
The farm has been through many phases of agriculture. They began with 20 milk cows, eventually transitioning over 800 head of veal calves, feeder steers, and heifers. There was a time when family was farrowing over 350 sows. Currently, the Walters are farming over 6,000 acres of owned and rented land.
Bud and Bev Walter proudly hosted Wisconsin Farm Progress Days in 1984. The 2019 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, occurring on the same site, will mark the 35th anniversary of the first show the farm hosted. As a result, the location of the upcoming show will be one of the most well drained show sites for Farm Technology Days. In addition to their cropping operation, the Walters continue to strive and build a sustaining business which also includes drain tiling. The Walters have recently improved their facilities with a new farm equipment storage building on the main farm where Mike and Sarah reside.
Bev, Mike and Sarah, Brad and Kristi, and Adam and Heather, along with their children, are looking forward with pride and anticipation to welcoming you to their farm in 2019. They invite you to join them in celebrating the many generations of Jefferson County families that are doing their part to keep agriculture thriving in Jefferson County.