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Tours serve to connect farmers to FTD goers

As Wisconsin Farm Technology Days (FTD) 2010 approaches, Tuesday-Thursday, July 20-22, just south of River Falls, a new feature of the show is a special welcoming effort designed for non-farmer attendees.

Jay Richardson, organizer of "Courtesy Tours," is excited about this unique feature of this year's show: "We love telling our story to the 98 percent of our population who are not engaged in producing the food they consume. This year, we are setting up special tours to educate and answer questions about production agriculture."

The Applied Technology Education tent will serve as headquarters for a group of almost 50 dairy and crop producers who have volunteered to serve as tour guides of tent city. These producers will take small groups on guided tours along predetermined routes through tent city.

Each tour will be about an hour to an hour-and-a-half in length. During that time, the participants will be able to ask questions of the guides about the equipment on display as well as general questions regarding modern agriculture.

The goal is to reach out to the people who may be attending in hopes of learning more about what it is dairy and crop producers do and the tools they use to produce the world's safest and most abundant supply of food. Even though FTD is primarily a show for farmers, many curious non-farmers attend as well. With the close proximity to urban areas, this year's show in Pierce County hopes to capitalize on its location.

"We want to welcome and educate those that might not call a farm 'home!'" Richardson said.

Tours will leave about every 10 minutes from the Applied Technology Education Tent starting at 9:30 a.m., with the final tour leaving at 3 p.m. each day.

For more information, contact Richardson at 715-495-8440 or Liz Doornink at 715-760-1221, or visit