Move over Fiserv Forum — Statz Bros. Farm in Marshall is Wisconsin’s hottest new music venue.
The Statz family put on their first concert on Sept. 26 when they hosted country music singer Luke Bryan, along with 20,000 of his fans, in the middle of a freshly-harvested sorghum field. The performance took place behind one of the dairy operation’s many locations, a “farmette” at 5875 Highway VV, and was part of Bryan’s Farm Tour 2019, an annual fundraiser supporting and providing awareness for the farming industry.
“It's nice to know that people still respect what we do out here and how hard it is sometimes for us to do that job,” Lisa Statz said.
Statz referenced such concerns as “tough” milk prices and excessive rain in the past two years making it difficult to harvest crops.
“Our job depends on weather a lot, but we still go out there and people still need to eat,” she said.
A second-generation farm established in 1966, Statz Bros. was just one of six farms in the United States selected for Bryan’s Farm Tour.
“The (Wisconsin) Farm Bureau contacted us two years ago and it was between us and two other farms — one in DeForest and one in Oregon, I believe it was.” Statz said. “It was almost a no brainer for them once they saw the site. Just to be asked was quite an honor for us and we're glad we got picked.”
Statz Bros. previously played host to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, the largest agricultural show in the state, for three days in 2015.
“Being that we hosted Farm Technology Days four years ago, we kind of had an idea of what needed to be done and they chose the same spot (to hold the event), which was easy enough for us,” Statz said. “We knew actually two years in advance. We knew how to plant the field, what to put there and to get the crops off, so they could get in there and do what they needed to do.”
Lisa’s husband Joe, who is a co-owner of Statz Bros. alongside his cousins Troy and Weslie, received a check during Bryan’s concert as compensation for using the farmland.
“We got to stand on stage for about a half hour while he performed and that's quite a different view up there,” Joe Statz said. “When you're up there and you glance over the 20,000 (people), it was like, ‘Wow, this is incredible.’ The stage just shakes from all the speakers and everything.”
Members of the Statz family also got the chance to meet and get pictures with Bryan, who is a native of rural Georgia.
“We've never met a celebrity before, so that was pretty neat to be able to talk with him,” Lisa Statz said. “He is so down to earth, such a nice guy. He asked us a few questions about the farm — he's a farm boy, so he likes to know all about stuff like that too.”