Spring sprung on the farm this year in early March. The nice weather helped us get started on our grain facility upgrades.
Mike: After fighting a worn-out auger all fall, and finding out that one of our older grain bins had a bad roof, Sheilah and I decided it was time to make some upgrades to our grain system. We had one bin on our farm for soybeans that we built right after we got married.
And at Jaws (the farm I grew up next to), we had our dryer, wet bin, an older storage bin and a storage bin that I built when I started farming. To make our life easier, Sheilah and I decided that we should move everything to our farm to be more efficient.
Sheilah: Ever since I have known Mike, he has always had a book of drawings that he works on every fall during harvest — his idea book. It was full of pictures of layouts of grain bins. I told him I had three requirements for what he wanted to do: It had to be safe, efficient and cost-effective.
Mike: My idea book didn’t get me very far, because sticker shock was a real problem for what I wanted to do. I spent lots of late-night hours in the early part of winter going through prices of bins, legs and conveyors. Both new and used equipment seemed expensive, and labor rates were also high.
Sheilah: Interest rates were low, and we knew that steel prices were going to go up, so we decided on a layout that we were confident we could afford. We decided to buy a new bin to replace the oldest bin we owned, which had a bad roof. Now, all of our bins will have stairs instead of ladders, and they will have safety platforms around the top.
Mike: In early March, we tore down the wet bin and hauled the bad grain bin off to the junkyard. We sold all the useful parts from that bin, too, to help fund everything we were doing. A couple of days later, we broke ground at our farm for the new upgrades.
Sheilah: I was surprised as to how much dirt we moved and how nicely everything was coming together. Mike tore down a couple of old buildings on the farm as well. We were making good use of the excavator that we rented for the month. And just about two weeks after we broke ground, my uncle and cousin came down for a week to do the concrete for the grain bins.
Mike: We have a lot of work to do yet on this project, but so far things seem to being going well. We are looking forward to seeing the bin builders real soon.
Sheilah and Mike Reskovac and their sons farm near Uniontown, Pa. Check out all of their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" blogs.