Making Hay
Week of October 31st, 2004 | The weather was rainy, cold, windy and cloudy.

Feeding units for gestation sows in hoop buildings.

Feeding units for gestation sows in hoop buildings.

Hello! I just got back from Louisville, Kentucky, where the 77th National FFA Convention was held. This year, a record-breaking attendance of over 53,000 FFA (Future Farmers of America) members met with each other and had a great time! We left New Hampton, Iowa at 5:00 AM Tuesday, October 26 and came back home at 6:00 PM Sunday, October 31. It was a ten hour drive one way to the convention.

At the convention, we (6 other New Hampton FFA Chapter members and our advisor) toured the Pepsi can filling plant in Austin, Indiana. We also toured the Slugger Baseball Bat museum and factory in Louisville, and a glassblowing studio. We had a lot of fun together.

On Saturday, I listened to Dave Roever. Dave is a Vietnam War veteran and received a purple heart. In July of 1969, Dave was throwing a grenade when a sniper shot the grenade and it blew six inches from his face. He was severely wounded with 40 percent burns, blind in the right eye and deaf in the right ear. He recovered from the wounds. He may have lost some of his physical looks that day in Vietnam, but not his spirit. His speech about Vietnam War inspired everyone in the auditorium about respecting veterans and being thankful for life. He is, in my opinion and probably many others, the finest American today.

We also participated in the installation of 2004-2005 National FFA Officers, other speeches from FFA Officers, and another keynote speech. Joe Theismann, ESPN's Sunday Night NFL Commentator, spoke about leadership. I really enjoyed the speeches and am anxious to come back again next year. I also participated in the National FFA Silent Auction, Career Show, and the FFA Shopping Mall. I had a blast!

While I was gone, Dad was busy with the soybean harvest. We do not have all the soybeans harvested, though. We have about 18 acres left. It is too wet to harvest now. When I left home at 4:30 AM on Tuesday morning, I saw the combine harvesting soybeans in the field. I was surprised that we could harvest soybeans around the clock this year. Our bean harvest is custom hired. We are getting very good yields this year.

Also this past month, we have been finishing the hoop-building project. We are very close to being completed. This coming week, we will be moving sows into the brand new facility. All the feeding units are in and we have a couple days worth of finishing touches to do. I can't wait until we do chores in there. It will be very easy with the new system.

Farm Fact: In order to harvest our corn by ear, (storing it in corn cribs) it has to be either below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or less than 24 percent moisture, or it will spoil. Now, it is warm and wet. It will probably be about another month before we harvest corn.

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