Feeding Farmers

The Ice Age Trail staffs a food tent at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Hiking at the edge of a pasture.
Photo credit: R. Roberts, IAT volunteer

Guess what milking parlors and sand manure separators; demonstrations of alfalfa mowing and conditioning; and rows and rows of skid steer loaders, balers, windrowers, and enormous tractors have to do with the Ice Age National Scenic Trail?

A mammoth-sized opportunity, through collaboration with Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, that’s what! It’s our chance to feed the farmers who traditionally are the ones in the position to feed us.

Our collaboration is about making friends, providing a crucial service, and raising awareness of the Trail to a wider community of people who love the land, gain a sense of well-being from it, and earn their livelihood by farming it. It is important to foster a friendly alliance within the farming community as numerous Ice Age Trail segments run alongside swaths of farmland, fields rich with rows of corn, alfalfa, and soybeans.

The Ice Age Trail helps feed the farmers at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Hiking along a corn field on a clear Fall day.
Photo credit: K.Korinek, IAT volunteer

Our partnership is also about earning some valuable funding for the Ice Age Trail through our volunteer efforts as we staff one of six food tents on site during the three day event. Provided the weather gods smile kindly, nearly 70,000 people can be attracted to this colossal outdoor agricultural show. It is one of the largest in the nation and showcases the latest improvements in all aspects of farm technology related to agriculture, research, and of course, machinery.

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The Ice Age Trail volunteers at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days The Ice Age Trail volunteers at the Farm Technology days

Brad Crary, Special Projects Coordinator for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, and ever the optimist, believes trail supporters – like YOU – will step up admirably to provide coverage for the food tent shifts.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days begins Tuesday, July 19th and runs Wednesday, July 20th and Thursday, July 21st.

It is a big, three-day extravaganza and here’s what is needed:


We need 30 – 50 volunteers, daily, to operate the Food Tent between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. All are welcome, however, volunteers must be 16 years of age or older.

Not to worry, Brad has each day divided up into manageable shifts, with the bulk of our volunteers to be scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

If you can open up a hot dog bun and load it with a freshly grilled hot dog or brat, you’ve got yourself a gig as a Food Tent volunteer. Our food tent will also provide a limited breakfast menu first thing in the morning.

You also need to be willing to invest a little time and effort ahead of time to take the online food safety course and provide evidence (certificate) to the FTD committee. (No one wants to get sick over a mishandled brat – YUCK!)

Click here for the Food Tent Volunteer Form. Upon receipt of the Form, Brad will send you the information for Food Safety, Cashier and/or Golf Cart training.


We need up to 4 cash register operators during the 10am – 2pm time frame to accommodate the busy lunch crowds. If you can do basic math and make change from a $20 dollar bill then we have the perfect spot on our volunteer roster for you.

If you get your kicks driving a golf cart, then this opportunity might be right up your alley.

HOWEVER, these are super-responsible positions and cash register training and golf cart training is required if you are interested in running the cash register or a golf cart.

Training is only available in person at the Elkhorn Extension Office at 7 p.m. in the evening. You will need to be able to attend training on one of these evenings: Thursday June 23, Thursday June 30, or Thursday July 7.

Email Brad Crary at [email protected] to express your interest in being a cash register operator or golf cart driver.


We also could use a few volunteers willing to assist with parking.  As you can imagine, it is a BIG deal getting 70,000 people in and out of the parking lots.  Volunteers as young as 14 years of age may help out with this effort.  So, being part of the crew needed as parking lot attendants may be just the way to get your family involved if you have middle school aged children.

Email Brad Crary at [email protected] to express your interest in being a parking lot attendant.

Like the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the dairy and farming industry are also a part of Wisconsin’s history and legacy. This is an absolutely unique opportunity to immerse yourself in what might be a rarely explored side of Wisconsin and participate in a beneficial partnership.

Every volunteer hour committed to operating the Food Tent earns money for the Trail; it is a win-win opportunity. Besides, when you are done with your shift you can mosey-on-over and test-drive a new tractor or learn about raising backyard chickens.