This spring, the Miami Trace FFA chapter, a satellite program of Great Oaks Career Campuses, planted a combined 100 acres of corn and soybeans on two farms.
The first farm was located in Jeffersonville on farmland donated by the late Mel Bush. Bush granted the Miami Trace FFA chapter 40-acres of his farm to operate on, rent free, with 100 percent of the profits benefiting the MT FFA chapter treasury.
The second site was 60-acres alongside the Miami Trace High School, which was purchased by the Miami Trace Local School District, MTLSD. In agreement with the MTLSD, the chapter receives 50 percent of the profits from the farm with the remaining 50 percent going toward graduating senior scholarships. The financial support and educational knowledge gained from these endeavors would not be possible without the support of numerous individuals and businesses within the community.
The Jeffersonville farm was a 40-acre field planted with soybeans. This field was planted and harvested through the generous donations of Dale Mayer and Mayer Farm Equipment, LLC. Dale and his family donated their time, fuel and equipment to make this project successful. In addition, Brian McClish and the McClish family also donated time, fuel and trucks to haul the beans to Premier Grain in Melvin. Scott Jenks and family donated time and funds to provide the FFA with an outstanding soybean variety and treatment that yielded 56 bushels an acre.
Weed control management at both locations were donated by the efforts of Byron Gustin and his family. Kevin Stockwell and the other Bush Trustees, Bill Diley and Marion Stockwell, provided much needed information about the logistics of the farm.
The Miami Trace High School farm consisted of 50-acres of soybeans and 10-acres of corn which were also possible through contributions of many individuals, families and businesses. The beans were planted by the McClish and Carmen families in late May. Gustin Seed and Doug Coe of Pioneer Seed donated time and labor to secure a good priced seed bean. The beans on the school farm yielded 61-bushels an acre at 9 percent moisture. The crops were marketed at the Miller Grain Company in New Holland, thanks to the Miller family. Byron Gustin and the Gustin family again managed the weed control for Miami Trace FFA.
The soybeans were harvested by Baxla Tractor Sales of Fayette Inc. and Brad Reisinger free of charge. In addition, Marvin and Wayne Arnold donated time, labor and fuel to transport the grain to the Miller Grain Company. The MT FFA would also like to thank Eric Bartchy who gave an educational demonstration to some of the Miami Trace FFA chapter members about the combine and its internal workings used for harvest on the field. Bartchy was also instrumental in getting the crops harvested in a timely manner by staying beyond normal business hours to finish the production.
The 10 acres of corn were planted by Doug Coe and Bryan McCoy with the donation of a tractor and planter use from JD Equipment. The seed was donated by multiple seed companies from around the area and the crop was fertilized and sprayed to control weeds by Crop Production Services Inc. Again, the harvesting was done through donations of time, equipment and labor from Baxla Tractor. The corn yields struggled due to very wet conditions on that side of the field, but because of the many donations to the corn crop it was still a substantial profit.
The overwhelming support of the community has been a direct catalyst to the success of these two farming operations. Financially, the profit made from the farms will go toward the MT FFA chapter’s program of activities as well as funding scholarships for Miami Trace graduating seniors.
While the financial opportunity of farming 100 acres will undoubtedly benefit current and future Miami Trace students financially, the educational experience is also extremely valuable. This project has created an opportunity to educate the agriculture education students, and in particular the Farm Management Capstone class, about effective management practices. The students experienced first-hand the planning of seed, fertilizer, treatments and marketing that would produce the most successful harvest. With the experience from this past year, the future Farm Management Capstone classes will be able to study the data and make a continual growth plan to improve production each year.
The Miami Trace FFA chapter plans to continue this farm management practice for future years and thanks everyone who helped make this project a success.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy