The Ebert family and their large farming operations near Algoma, Wis., will host Wisconsin’s largest ag show July 11 – 13. The largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the nation, the three-day outdoor event showcases the latest improvements in production agriculture, including many practical applications of recent research findings and technological developments. Each year, it is held in a different Wisconsin county – on a different host family farm.
Kewaunee County, host of this year’s event, has a diverse agriculture which provides 2,058 jobs, about 20.7% of the county’s workforce and contributes $423.9 million in economic activity, more than 25% of the county’s total economic activity. The county has more than 176,735 acres, or 81%, used as farming ground. This includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, tree farms, and farm forests. Sales of Christmas trees, fruits and vegetables, greenhouse, nursery and floriculture add strong agriculture impact totaling $2.1 million per year. Leading the list of agriculture impact is milk at $190 million per year followed by grain at $33.95 million per year.
The Host Family
Sixth generation farmer Randy Ebert and his wife Renee started out raising heifers and crops after purchasing the farm from Randy's parents in 1987.
"I knew I wanted to farm," said Randy.
The Ebert's goal is to take pride in producing quality food in an environmentally safe and profitable fashion.
Randy and Renee have three children, Jordan, 21, and twins Whitney and Britney, 19. Randy and Renee raised three children on the farm: Jordan, 23, who graduated in May from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science; Whitney, 20, a junior this fall at UW-LaCrosse; and Britney, Whitney’s twin. Britney, who was born with disabilities, died unexpectedly last year.
“Britney is an important member of the Ebert family,” Randy said during a Media Day event held at the farm on June 6.
“She was my rock,” Renee added.
“Britney brought us together, slowed us down and taught us to appreciate life,” Jordan said. “Even though she is no longer here, it will always be the five of us.”
The Ebert family started milking cows in 1997 and grew from zero to 1,000 animals in five years. From 2002 – 2012, they doubled in size through internal growth, and in 2012 acquired a neighboring farm that increased the farm to the current size of 3,000 cows, milking twice a day. They work with 40 full-time and 15 part-time valued employees.
Corn, alfalfa, sorghum, triticale and small grains are grown on nearly 5,500 acres, of which about 20 percent is double cropped. All animals are raised on the farm. They are currently breeding the bottom 25 percent of the dairy herd to Angus for beef. Ebert's will be generously donating all the beef to be served to attendees during the three-day show and are working with a local butcher to prepare it.
The farm is undergoing a variety of renovations and upgrades in preparation for the 2017 show. Already in progress is a new, 80-stall rotary parlor that will allow all cows to be milked three times a day with less staff, and allowing the old parlor to be used for fresh cows. The feed center is being relocated, and they are in the process of implementing a new manure handling system.
The manure system updates will separate the sand and fiber to be recycled. The goal is for 50 – 70 percent of the water to be removed through reverse osmosis. The nitrogen and phosphorus will be captured in a form that is best for feeding to their growing crops. Ebert's are building their own custom system that will distribute the concentrated manure between crop rows for optimal placement.
The manure system is just one of many new innovations that will be showcased during FTD.
The Ebert family is excited and honored to be hosting the 2017 Farm Technology Days to showcase the rich heritage of and economic value that agriculture is to Kewaunee County.
"This isn't about us, this is about Kewaunee County," said Randy and Renee.
For more information visit the show’s web site http://www.wifarmtechnologydays.com/kewaunee/