The Farm Progress Hay Expo, the nation's largest two-day hay show, heads to Cannon Falls for its 2011 event that will be held June 8 and 9 near Goodhue County Hwys. 1 and 9 on the Hernke's, Inc. farm. The show is expected to draw 3,000 people to the area.
"This is the first time the Hay Expo will be held in Minnesota," says Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress publications national events manager. "The show is locating in a very prime hay-producing location that offers easy access for hay producers and dairy operators from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and those from across the country."
Sponsored by Farm Progress' Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa farm publications (The Farmer, Wisconsin Agriculturist and Wallaces Farmer), the Hay Expo provides a look at new hay and forage technology with an extensive exhibit area and working field demonstrations conducted throughout each day.
The two-day hay extravaganza showcases mowing, conditioning, baling, hay handling and silage demonstrations. Visitors have opportunities to compare equipment brands operating side by side under actual field conditions.
About a 10-acre exhibit field highlights displays from the major and shortline specialty manufacturers, with a focus on products aimed at boosting the efficiency and profitability of hay and forage productions. Last year almost 80 companies exhibited. Hay Expo visitors can examine the latest balers, forage choppers, mower conditioners, tedders, rakes, mergers, bale carriers, forage seed and more hay production products.
The Expo will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $10 per vehicle. The public is welcome.
The Hernkes farm about 2,000 acres and milk about 650 cows. They also run a rock quarry business and a trucking line. The family traces their roots in the area to 1927 when Alvin and Ida Hernke moved to Leon Township from the Wausau, WI area. Alvin and Ida had six children: Mildred, Owen, Elroy, Virgil, Marvin and Allen.
In 1960, Hernke's Inc. was formed, combining three smaller farms and dairy herds. The farm gradually diversified and expanded. Today, Owen (and wife Gladys) and Allen (and wife BettyAnn) are still involved in the operation. Their brothers have all passed away.
They are joined in the operation by Owen's sons Dave and Marc (wife, Julie) and Elroy's son, Rahn.
Marc said the Cannon Falls football team and Urland Church will provide volunteers to help coordinate parking and will get a donation from the Expo. The Goodhue County Pork Producers will serve food and the Goodhue County American Dairy Association will serve malts, also providing a fundraising opportunity.