The Experience

CREATE | Renewed Interest in how America’s Farms Help Feed the World

Across the country and around the world restaurants, grocers and other vendors increasingly market their products with an emphasis on origin – where their products come from and how they were produced. People want to know more about what they are consuming. And, while most have a vague understanding of the origin of their food, the enormous role of the agriculture industry in their lives is a mystery to many Americans.

Though they may not always know it, the answer to the question, “where does my food come from?” is more often than not, “from America’s family farms!”

Our nation’s farms fuel the economy and help feed millions of Americans every day. With rapidly growing populations and the urgent quest to find more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of farming, the importance of farming in our lives continues to increase.

America’s farms have been tackling these issues for generations. And, with so much interest and excitement currently surrounding our industry, now is the perfect time to share what we know with the world. The new WAEC is our chance to put a friendly face on our industry!

And there is no better place to do it than here in Wisconsin. The agriculture industry is the heart and soul of the Badger State and, with our decades of accumulated knowledge, this is the ideal location for visitors to learn about our industry.

Using local case studies, stories and exhibits, the WAEC will explore the historic, traditional, artisan and locally produced agricultural products being made here in Wisconsin, illustrating the fruitful partnership that results when hard-working farmers help meet the needs of the communities they serve – both locally and globally!

CULTIVATE | An Exciting, Innovative and Interactive Tourist Destination

The WAEC will be the region’s premier destination for thousands of local and out-of-state visitors who will tour the state-of-the-art discovery center to learn about the importance of the agriculture industry – and to have fun!

A self-sufficient destination tourism business, the WAEC will enrich and attract significant business to our state. It will emulate some of the enormously successful approaches employed by Fair Oaks Farms, an education center in Northern Indiana that hosts over 500,000 visitors each year. In attracting visitors from across the country and reinforcing the impact of our region’s farming on their lives, the WAEC will support and drive the economic impact of the industry in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin and worldwide.

Visitors of all ages will gain an appreciation of the rich diversity of agriculture in Wisconsin through interactive exhibits exploring how cheese, fruits, vegetables, and many other crops are produced.

We expect a wide array of visitors – school groups and families to travelers from across the country, and from young families and senior citizens alike. A few of our exciting plans include:

  • A 29,000-square foot discovery center with educational displays and hands-on learning opportunities
  • A birthing barn where visitors can watch calves being born
  • An interactive globe to showcase population density and highlight the importance of finding a way to feed the world
  • A 300-person conference center
  • An opportunity to tour Grotegut Farm, a progressive 3rd generation dairy farm focused on sustainability and farming best practices
  • A café and country store featuring Wisconsin products and an outdoor playground
  • An educational display showcasing the cutting-edge technologies used to serve growing populations around the world
  • The center will also host a variety of events, which might include other dairy and farm production tours, seminars, culinary events, pairings and gourmet dinners. Truly a twenty-first century tourist destination, the WAEC will be equal parts fun and educational.

EDUCATE | People of all Ages and Backgrounds, from Across the Country

With environmental stewardship and the ability to feed the world’s growing population both top international concerns, the importance of understanding and appreciating the role of agriculture in our lives increases every day.

The new WAEC will be a key resource for those who want to learn more, inspiring a new generation of future farmers and instilling greater appreciation for how agriculture impacts our daily lives.

Dedicated to educating people of all ages and interests through innovative physical and interactive displays, as well as puzzles and fun educational challenges, the Center will show how:

  • Agriculture has, over time, cost-effectively fed a growing population – and how it can meet the world’s growing need
  • Agriculture and environmental stewardship are compatible
  • Animal health and welfare are vital to successful farming operations
  • There are abundant career opportunities in the fields of agriculture and dairy
  • There are endless health benefits to consuming dairy and other agricultural products
  • Good farming depends on strong conservation and good environmental stewardship practices, providing habitat for wildlife and producing energy
  • In addition to capturing the hearts and minds of visitors with exciting experiences such as the birthing barn, our exhibits will engage visitors in critical thinking exercises meant to challenge their understanding of what agriculture means to the world, and to get them to think creatively about how they might contribute to it.

©2017 Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center