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Name Change Reflects Growth Of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days

As of 2003, Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, the state”s largest outdoor agricultural show, will change its name to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. The 2003 show will take place in Waupaca County.

The annual three-day event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments. The show also highlights evolving issues that impact how farm businesses operate such as new marketing techniques, farming in concert with the environment, and farm business arrangements. Educational programs are also offered about changes that affect farm and rural community families.

The show”s organizing structure, Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, Inc., is a non-profit, educational organization. At the host county level, the University of Wisconsin-Extension coordinates the event with the cooperation of the host county and many volunteers under the direction of the general manager.

There are a number of reasons for the name change, according to Rick Klemme, Associate Dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension at UW-Madison/Extension and current chair of the Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, Inc. Board of Directors.

“As the organization marks its 50-year anniversary in 2003, the timing is right to make the transition,” Klemme said. “The industry has changed significantly over the last half decade. Technology, in many forms, is transforming the industry. Technological innovations in production processes and information systems as well as movements towards management intensive marketing and environmental strategies are important industry trends that we need to address. Yet, we remain focused on the farm and on the management decisions facing the farm operators. Therefore, the name change made a lot of sense to us.”

Over time, confusion has arisen about the relationship between Wisconsin Farm Progress Days and the Farm Progress Company, Klemme added. He said the working relationship has been very positive, but the use of similar words implies a direct connection that does not exist. The Board of Directors believes the name change will have three benefits:

— The change will help organizers avoid future name infringement issues. Farm Progress Company is a leading agricultural publisher in the U.S. The company sponsors farm shows in several other states, but they do not sponsor the Wisconsin show, and this causes confusion for exhibitors and visitors. Farm Progress publishes 35 state and regional publications such as Wallace”s Farmer and Wisconsin Agriculturist.

— The Farm Progress Company will continue to support the Wisconsin event, printing the event program and sponsoring an exhibitor”s lounge, as they have done each year.

— Because the Wisconsin show has good relationships with many other agricultural publications, the show”s organizers believe the name change will help dispel the appearance that they are tied solely to the Farm Progress Company. Glenn Thompson, general manager of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days, Inc., will be working with Wisconsin counties to facilitate the organization”s name change.

This year Wisconsin Farm Progress Days takes place in Rock County September 18-20. In 2002, Richland County will host the event. For more information, see the Wisconsin Farm Progress Days web site at www.wifarmprogressdays.com; call 920-478-3852 or email to info@wifarmprogressdays.com.