Hometown Farmer - Year in review pt. 2

Hometown Farmer - Year in review pt. 2

This time next week we'll be a few days into a whole new year, with new possibilities in 2017.

But, before then, we're going to take one last look at where we've been in 2016.

July this year was a first for Steve DeRocher of SMAK Detasseling.

It was hard to find kids to sign up.

"I don't know what happened for sure, but we are finding it difficult," said DeRocher.

The kids that did make the cut were in for some hot, hard work.

But, they'll trade that in for an experience they'll never forget.

In August we met Ryan Lihs, owner of Redline Aviation.

He was spraying a cornfield south of Pender, Nebraska, flying about 10 feet off the ground at 160 miles an hour.

This helps farmers grow a cleaner crop, more efficiently.

"We can cover a lot more ground through the air than they can through a ground machine," said Lihs.

And, even after more than a decade of flying, Ryan says he still loves going up in the air.

"It's really nice flying in the mornings, on a really nice, calm day," said Lihs. "It's really nice flying."

In September, we found out Fedders Poultry Farm looks a little different these days.

Mark Fedders and his family used to pack 70,000 eggs an hour in a big building on their farm, that is, until the bird flu hit in spring of 2015.

"The first week of May, we had no birds left," said Fedders.

He and his son Matt already worked with leather.

But after the bird flu, he decided to take that leap of faith by buying Lobo Gun Leather from a guy in Colorado, tools and everything.

"Took the whole family over to Pueblo and spent the week there in his shop," said Fedders.

Now, in the shop outside of Orange City, there's a family operation.

In October we discovered a museum in Crofton, Nebraska, dedicated to technology.

"It really revolutionaized farming in the day," said Doug DeShazer.

But the museum wasn't full of new technology, DeShazer has filled it with old pieces, meant to help with hay.

"We have over 350 hay carriers and maybe up to 1,000 different pulleys," said DeShazer. "Plus another four or five hundred pieces to go with the system."

This is a hay carrier museum, there are pulleys, too.

"Some guy had to make the molds, carve all this, make the molds and make this thing," said DeShazer, pointing to an elaborate hay carrier. "Now why is it so decorative when it's 30 feet in the barn and you're never going to see it?"

But wait'll you see what we got our hands into in November.

A field is full of biosolids.

But, biosolids are basically a fancy name for a not-so-fancy product.

Before the stuff was being hauled into a field for storage, it was processed at the Sioux City Wastewater Treatment Plant.

It's human waste.

"It's very easy to be around," said Marv Rassel, co-owner of Big Ag Organic.

These biosolids are completely safe to touch, and they don't really have a smell, either.

Turns out it's great as a fertilizer.

"The nitrogen and phosphorous that come along with it," said Rassel. "There's approximately 20 units of nitrogen, 23 unites of phosphorous."

Just goes to show you that one man's waste is another man's fertilizer.

If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at:

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