Laying the groundwork for FTD
LINN TOWNSHIP — If you think planning your neighborhood barbecue is a challenge, try the logistics of coordinating an event for an estimated 60,000 visitors, complete with parking, food vendors, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations.
Then you'll understand why scores of area folks have been planning for next year's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days ever since April 2013, when the FTD board announced that the 2016 event would be held in Walworth County.
The three-day outdoor event — set for July 19 through July 21, 2016 — is the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the country, according to the FTD website. It showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, practical applications of research findings and technology developments.
Since it started in 1954, when it was known as Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, the show has been held annually in a different county, with an area farm family hosting the event. Although it has been held in neighboring Rock County three times, next year's location will be Steve Snudden's 400-acre dairy farm, located on County Highway B and Zenda Road in the town of Linn.
“There are some big firsts — the first time the show is going to be in Walworth County and also the farthest south the show has ever been held,” said Peg Reedy, Walworth County University of Wisconsin-Extension agricultural agent and executive secretary of the county's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
Reedy worked on the last FTD in Rock County in 2001, and has been to most of them since. She has been getting pointers on what to expect by attending monthly meetings in Dane County, where this year's FTD is being held.
“It's a huge undertaking,” Reedy said. “When you first start meeting and putting committees together, you think things are never going to come together, but now I'm listening to what each committee is actually doing, I really feel good about this.”
FTD's board provides a manager for support, but the actual preparation work is broken down into a county executive committee and more than a dozen subcommittees, whose hundreds of volunteers focus on everything from marketing to traffic and public safety.
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