CALS experts had the answers at Farm Tech Days

CALS students learned how a piece of machinery makes it from concept to market during a tour of an AGCO exhibit at the 2009 Farm Technology Days.
CALS engineers- and ag-marketers-to-be learned how a piece of machinery goes from concept to product during a Farm Technology Days tour.

“If you come in here with a question and these folks can’t answer it, there is no answer.” That comment was made to CALS associate dean John Shutske by one of the thousands of visitors who passed through the UW-Extension pavilion at Farm Technology Days, where 40-some CALS faculty and staff members helped answer questions on topics ranging from weed identification to genomics to bioenergy to managing family stress caused by depressed dairy prices. Farm Technology Days, held July 21–23 at the Crave Brothers Farm near Waterloo, drew more than 75,000 attendees.

CALS welcomed more than 140 of its alumni and friends to visit with each other and special guests, including Troy Runge, director of the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, Ben Brancel, CALS state relations liaison, and Dean Molly Jahn at daily gatherings.

On Wednesday afternoon, 25 CALS students — majors in agricultural and applied economics and biological systems engineering — and a few more from UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls were guests of top execs of the equipment manufacturer AGCO. CALS Career Services teamed with AGCO to give the students a tour of a new AGCO traveling exhibit that demonstrates how a product makes it from concept to market.

Some of the students rode to the event in style. At AGCO’s request, the quarter-scale tractor teams from Madison, Platteville and River Falls fired up the engines on their pint-sized powerhouses and drove them in a procession into the AGCO booth. FTD visitors flocked around the tractors and peppered the students with questions.

On Wednesday night, CALS alums, faculty, staff and friends converged on the dairy farm owned and operated by Bob and Chris Topel and Jeff and Jenny Spoke for brats and burgers at the annual WALSAA Farm Technology Days picnic.