Hello from Flat Aggie and greetings from Waterman, Illinois! I'm visiting Frieders Farm Corp. this week where I'm helping harvest corn and meeting some of the locals. Waterman is a small rural community with a population of about 1500.
Corn is the number one ag commodity grown here. Farmers grow corn on nearly two-thirds of the farmland in the county! Most of the land (88%) is for farming purposes.
It sure is colder than normal here! Luckily, I packed my hat and scarf for the trip. It looks like Ryan and the combine are ready for me to get to work!
Time to work!
First, we have to grease a few things that aren't running quite right. The farmers tell me you never know what to expect on a day at the farm.
Check out the size of this tire! I sure do feel small out here!
Here's just some of the equipment we're working with today. I'll be riding in this one, the combine. It cuts the corn and picks the kernels from the cobs. Then it chops the leftover stalks and puts them back into the field.
Denise Frieders is driving the other machine. She's driving a tractor with a cart. I'll explain more about that in a minute.
Check it out, Flat Aggie is driving! Equipment and computers operate in the combine to monitor the amount of corn that is coming in and the moisture content. Alarms go off if something isn't working correctly.
Here's what the field looks like from the combine.
The grain moves from the combine head into a hopper behind me, where corn kernels are falling. When this gets full, we'll dump it into the cart riding along side us.
Here we are, dumping the corn into the cart. From here the cart dumps the corn into the semi and then the semi hauls it to a grain bin for storage.
Once the corn kernels are stripped, the corn cob looks like this. This part stays in the field.
Oh, look at the time! I have a quick visit scheduled at Indian Creek Elementary. I'm meeting Mrs. Lovett's third grade class. Nice to see you, kids!
Next stop - Monsanto
Now it's off to Monsanto's seed packaging facility in the town of Waterman. Monsanto is a big employer in Waterman. Much of the corn planted in the fields next year is packaged here. Miss Kellie took time out of her busy day to give us a tour. She's the best!
They didn't have a hardhat or jacket to fit me, so Luke carried me. Safety first! This place is HUGE!! Let's take a look around.
The seed corn is packaged in this area. My new friend Jose (JoJo) shows me the conveyor belt where corn drops into the seed bags and is sealed. From there it's transferred to pallets and stored until needed. There are a lot of moving parts so I couldn't get too close.
This is Mike, and he uses a forklift to move the pallets of corn in the gigantic warehouse. He let me drive, wheeeee!! I had no idea how much went on inside this building. Very impressive!
Well, it's getting late. Even through it's dark out, the farmers will still be working for several hours. For me, I'm going to call it a day. Thanks for having me, Frieders Family! I hope to visit again soon!