Chad Colby, Cross Implement sales and marketing manager, describes the inner-workings of a John Deere combine to James Davis, member of the Heyworth FFA, before harvesting a 23-acre soybean plot. FFA members assisted in the planting and harvest of the plot, including a chance to ride and drive.
Chad Colby, Cross Implement sales and marketing manager, describes the inner-workings of a John Deere combine to James Davis, member of the Heyworth FFA, before harvesting a 23-acre soybean plot. FFA members assisted in the planting and harvest of the plot, including a chance to ride and drive.
HEYWORTH, Ill. — A 23-acre soybean plot transformed into a classroom recently when dozens of Heyworth FFA members assisted in harvesting and documenting data.

The annual educational program that includes both planting and harvesting, as well in-class topics, involves a partnership between the FFA, Friedrich Farms, Cross Implement, numerous seed companies and other agribusinesses.

Area farmer Paul Friedrich donates the plot for use by the chapter each year.

Chad Colby, sales and marketing manager of Cross Implement in Minier provided the John Deere combine for the harvest. Each student enjoyed a ride-and-drive experience in the state-of-the-art machinery with Colby’s assistance.

This marked the third year Cross Implement has provided the combine — and planter last spring — for the program.

Also on hand to assist during the Oct. 28 harvest were seed company representatives John Eckley of Pfister Hybrids and Shaun Tyson of Beck’s Hybrids.

Soybean hybrids ranged from group 3.0 to 4.1, which included seed from Pfister, Great Lakes, Beck’s, Sun Prairie, Stone and Syngenta.

The students organize all the seed, communicate with the seed dealers to have the seed delivered on time for planting and organize the planting day, which includes cleaning out the planter after each pass through the field with all the different hybrids.

Students also record all the data at harvest, which includes test weight, moisture and poundage on the weigh wagon.

Throughout the school year, Nutter also invites agriculture professionals to give presentations to students.

“The generations in the individualized ag programs in schools across the nation have to figure out how to feed 10 billion people by 2050, so we educate the students with the new technologies of the modern day farmer,” said Heyworth FFA Adviser Jestun Nutter.

“Most students are not going to be the farmer, but they will be the support staff for the farmer to feed the world. This is why it is important to introduce them to all aspects of the agriculture industry.”