COLFAX — With fewer farms in the state and the number kids with no experience around agriculture, the Chippewa Valley Farm-City Day hopes to educate the community about modern agriculture practices.
The 12th annual event is being hosted by Denmark Dairy of Colfax from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 7.
“People usually have a lot of questions that you’re getting at 55 miles per hour when you’re driving by (the farm),” Katie Wantoch, Dunn County Extension Agriculture Agent and Farm-City committee chair, said. “What are they doing on the farm? Why do they do it that way?”
The on-farm event will feature wagon rides through the dairy’s facilities, presentations and agriculture displays, a petting zoo and kids’ activities.
Denmark Dairy, located at E7455 County Road B in Colfax, began in 1902 and is now owned and operated by Dennis and Mary and Karl and Mandy Kragness.
The farm now milks 2,400 cows three times a day while operating 4,500 acres of land. Among recent features that visitors will see on the farm is a sand separation system added four years ago that is designed to reclaim more than 90 percent of the sand to reuse for bedding to keep cattle cool and comfortable.
Denmark Dairy also recently constructed a mechanically ventilated barn for 400 cows and a calving center, as well as expanding the farm’s milking parlor.
“As a host, to say no to an event like this is not good for our industry, let alone our farm,” Karl Kragness said. “I think it’s very important farms in general come together and be a voice in our industry.”
On Friday, 550 third and fourth graders from area schools will be on the farm for an all-day field trip where they will learn about what cows eat and drink, how veterinarians work with farms to assist in animal care, seeing the cattle being milked and farm and tractor driving safety. Students from the Menomonie, Colfax, Boyceville, Elk Mound and Elmwood school districts will be in attendance learning about current agriculture practices.
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“A lot of kids maybe haven’t been on a farm like this, so maybe it might peak their interest in a certain aspect that they might pursue later on in their lifetime,” Wantoch said.
To provide the community the opportunity to see different farming operations in the Chippewa Valley, Farm-City Day rotates its host location between Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn County each year.
With the event running on Friday for students and the public on Saturday Kragness said Farm-City Day will provide community members the chance to see what daily operations are like. The farm must continue operations while visitors attend allowing the public to experience how Denmark Dairy works.
“We still have to operate our farm,” Kragness said. “I think people are going to see that and see our day-in and day-out operations of what it takes to run our farm firsthand.”
Representatives from the master gardeners, county health department, sheriff’s department, Menomonie FFA and agriculture science classes and Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association will have education displays and presentations during the event.
Attendance is free and food will be available for purchase from the Willing Workers 4-H Club.
To get to Denmark Dairy, take exit 61 from Hwy 12/29 near Elk Mound and turn North onto Hwy 40. After six miles, turn left onto County Road B for 2 miles.
“To be able to come out and see for yourself what we do and where a lot of our food is produced and how it’s produced I think that is important for people to be able to that,” Kragness.