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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: A very worthwhile project

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 06 October 2021

For years here, we worked with our neighbors in putting up our high-moisture corn to feed to our cattle. They had a combine and two good-sized grain trucks, and I had a tractor and roller mill we used to fill our corn silo with.

Well, that worked great for many years, but in time they got out of farming and sold their equipment. I was blessed to get a different neighbor after that to combine my corn, but we had one big problem: He didn’t have grain trucks to haul my corn in from the fields. He had large semi-trucks to haul grain with, but they just wouldn’t work at my building site – they were just too big.

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So we started to look for two power gravity boxes to buy. Since high-moisture corn doesn’t flow very easy, we wanted power gravity boxes. This type of box has an apron chain in the bottom that is driven by the tractor, thus saving a lot of hard work shoveling a lot of corn.

We started to pray that we could get a couple of good ones at a reasonable price, and then my wife put into the prayer “close by.” We started to look in the newspapers and online for them, but we couldn’t find any close by and the ones we did find had a higher price on than we wanted to pay. But then I ended up talking to my farm insurance agent about my farm insurance, and I asked him if he knew where there were some. He told me his brother had two he wasn’t using anymore.

I called up Mike, and he told me he had two sitting in the back of his shed that he hadn’t used in several years, since he had sold his cows. He said he was thinking about selling them and we could come and look at them. Well, we went and looked at them, and I have to give Mike full credit, he was totally honest with us on them. In this world today, a lot of people are not honest or truthful when they’re trying to sell something, but Mike was. That means a lot to me and, more importantly, to God.

Mike told us that a number of years before, early one morning when there was a heavy frost out, they were bringing them down a hill loaded. With the boxes being loaded heavily, and the frost on the ground, the boxes got away from them and ended up tipping over. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but the boxes along with their running gears sustained a lot of damage.

The insurance company totaled them out; Mike bought them back from the insurance company. With extra iron and some old running gears he had around his farm, he did a remarkable job fixing them back up. We could see they could use some more work done on them, which Mike acknowledged. I asked Mike what he wanted for them, and he told us. We thought it was a very fair price and agreed to it. Mike told us he could fix them up better and ask more for them. I told him that was all right, we could fix them up and save the money. With that, we all broke out laughing.

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Mike was happy to see them stay in the area on a small dairy farm where he could see them being used. We wrote Mike out a check, hooked them behind the pickup and pulled them the six miles home. God had answered our prayer to find two of them at a good price close to home. Once again, we saw how God delights in answering our prayers. He is so good.

We got them home and spent the next week working on them. We found extra stuff on them that needed fixing, but that can be expected when you buy older equipment. From fixing on the boxes, the apron chains, the running gears and the wheel bearings, we put in a full week of work. It was a great challenge, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very rewarding bringing them back into excellent working condition. And work they did with the new crop of corn.

We’re very thankful Mike sold them to us, and I must say the price was right. It was very enjoyable bringing in big loads of golden corn and unloading them. What was more enjoyable than that, though, was working on them as a family. There is something about doing projects together as a family and seeing the rewards of it.

In America today, families are so divided up, running in so many different directions. God made families to be together. There is something about working together and seeing the fruit of your work. It’s also a great way to teach your children so many things.

I wonder if all parents would work together with their children, and teach them in a loving Christian environment, if it would keep a lot of young people away from drugs, alcohol, crime and so many other things, bad things. Actually, I know it would, for the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What more can I say? My kids greatly enjoyed working on those boxes with me, and I enjoyed it too. It was very profitable for all of us in more ways than one. end mark

Tom Heck; his wife, Joanne; and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Contact Tom Heck or order his book at Tom Heck Farm.

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