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Editorial: Farm Tech Days help needed

Many hands make light work.

But Pierce County organizers of next year's Farm Technology Days (FTD) also want help from people with smiling faces, nimble minds, special skills and strong shoulders.

About 1,600 volunteers are needed to help pull together and pull off the three-day event that will bring hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors to the Peterson Farm, along Hwy. 29-35 between River Falls and Prescott.

Executive Committee Vice Chairwoman Beth Ingli said that, so far, committees have signed up only a quarter of the volunteers they need.

With more than 20 committees looking for volunteers, it's pretty certain you can find your niche. (The main committees are admissions, apparel, arts and crafts, conservation, education, EMS/safety, family living, field demonstrations, food, fundraising, grounds, heritage tractors, hospitality, parking, promotion, signs, tent city, toy tractor, traffic, utilities and youth.)

Parking Committee Chairmen Dale Hines and Greg Kerr report they have signed up only 50 of the 200 people they will need to direct parking.

Hospitality Co-Chairwoman Gerda Benedict says her committee needs 25 more people to staff information tents during the event.

Admissions Co-Chairwoman Ann Webb reports her committee needs more volunteers to man entrances. Special qualifications are a smiling face, a friendly demeanor, a competency with simple math and the ability to stay calm as large groups line up to buy tickets.

Emily Lyons Hanson, co-chair of the Youth Committee, says her group needs high school and college students to help with hands-on activities in the Youth Tent all three days of FTD.

The Grounds Committee needs lots of help before, during and after the show, according to Chairman Terry Kusilek.

He says the wood chip subcommittee needs about 20 volunteers to help spread and rake early next July. The docks committee needs a dozen volunteers with experience running payloaders, forklifts and skid steers to unload and reload vendors' equipment. The fencing committee needs 20 to 25 volunteers to install and remove plastic snow fence, and the water subcommittee needs volunteers during the show to supply water for plants and animals.

Another committee is thinking of arranging tours of the farm for non-farm visitors and will need volunteers to lead those tours.

People interested in volunteering may check the website ( www.piercefarmtech.com ) for a volunteer form, stop at the UW-Extension office in Ellsworth or call (715) 273-6781.