UW-River Falls to host Farm City Day

By Kelsie Hoitomt

RIVER FALLS – The 2013 Farm City Day will take place at the University of Wisconsin River Falls Mann Valley Farm this coming Saturday, August 17.

The farm was established in 1964 with the purchase of the 293 acre Herbert Turner Farm. Today, the farm is comprised of 475 acres of dairy, beef, sheep and swine enterprises as well as the farm’s cropland, which produces the majority of the feed for the livestock.

Ryan Sterry, a St. Croix County Agriculture Agent, shared that the Mann Valley Farm is different than the other farms chosen for Farm City Day because of what it offers in the sense that it is more than just dairy; there is also swine, beef and sheep.

Since the farm is dedicated to teaching, there is both pasture-based and confinement operations that are demonstrated, along with alternative and conventional housing systems for livestock.

The farm is also home of the St. Croix Valley Bull Test Station, where difference in performance traits are evaluated among bulls raised in a uniform environment.

Outside of the barn yard, the farm features 82 acres of forest, soil pits or excavations for studying the profile and properties of the soil, a high tunnel or unheated greenhouse for research on extending the growing season and some other geological features.

As a whole, the farm stresses hands-on experience and many classes in animal science, crop and soil science, horticulture, conservation and agricultural engineering technology.

The farm is welcoming visitors on Saturday from 10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m. with a free lunch to be served and a variety of attractions including a guided farm tour, petting barnyard and farm machinery display.

The farm has an outdoor “hoop house” where horticultural items are being studied and UW-RF staff will be available to explain their research. There will also be educational displays explaining cuts of meat, animal waste composting and soil profiles.

Lastly for activities, there will be a gentleman there who will be shearing three of the farm’s sheep during three separate demonstrations. There will be other volunteers who will then show how the raw wool is turned into fabric by various spinning methods.

“Everyone is welcome. Kids especially enjoy Farm City Day as they can get “up close” to many farm animals and learn about how food is produced on our western Wisconsin farms,” said Sterry.