MANITOWOC COUNTY, WI -- Wisconsin has its fair share of farms, but pretty soon, there will be one less.
Instead, a field in Manitowoc County will be replaced with a center dedicated to teaching people about agriculture in the state.
Construction on the new Wisconsin Agriculture Education Center will start this coming spring.
“I can’t believe it’s finally here, and I’m looking forward to the spring. I’m looking forward to moving ground instead of turning the first dirt,” said Nic Schoenberger, a member of WAEC board of directors.
The center, called WAEC for short, will be located off I-43 in Manitowoc County.
“It’s going to look like the old traditional red barn; it’s going to have a little bit of a modern flare to it; it’s going to be visible right from the interstate and people are going to pass by and want to stop,” explained Schoenberger.
On Tuesday, a ground breaking ceremony was held at the future location.
The 29,000 square-foot center will have educational and hands-on displays.
It'll also have a birthing barn, where visitors can watch calves be born, and a 300-person conference center.
“We’re hoping to host weddings and meetings. You know, in the farm industry, we have a lot of meetings, a lot of group get-togethers and we're hoping that this is a site that a lot of people will want to come to,” added Schoenberger.
“When I was a kid, everybody had an uncle or a cousin that you could go visit their farm and today that's not quite the case. So this is the farm that everybody will have the opportunity to come visit,” said Julie Maurer, the board president of WAEC.
Maurer is also a dairy farmer, and says the purpose of the center is to teach people where their food comes from.
“You’ll learn about everything from dairy, to corn, to cranberries and all the great products produced in Wisconsin,” said Maurer.
The entire project costs $13 million, so far 80 percent of that has been raised through grants and donations.
“We just broke the $10 million mark and we’re almost there,” added Schoenberger.
“This building won't only represent our roots our heritage as an AG state, but also our future both in Manitowoc County and statewide, I think this will be a huge addition to Manitowoc County's tourist attractions," said Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.
The entire project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.