Wallaces Farmer

‘Practical, useful’ top of farm shop wish list‘Practical, useful’ top of farm shop wish list

Having a farm shop that is useful and practical for the operation is very important for this Iowa family.

Jennifer Carrico

April 21, 2023

3 Min Read
Michael and Adam Ahrendsen  with farm equipment
FAMILY OPERATION: Michael (left) and Adam Ahrendsen, of Clutier, Iowa, are the youngest generation to be involved in the Crees Farm Partnership, which is their mother, Jan’s, family’s farming operation in Tama County.Photos by Jennifer Carrico

When planning to build a farm shop many things are on the wish list, but being sure the building is practical and useful is what was at the top of the list at the Crees Farm near Clutier, Iowa.

“We wanted a place to be able to work on equipment and store it, and also a place to park the feed wagon in the winter so everything would work more easily,” says Michael Ahrendsen. “The feed wagon unloads a lot easier when it’s warm, thanks to the heat in the shop.”

Crees Farm Partnership farm shop

Michael farms with his parents, Jan and Cory, and Jan’s family. His brother, Adam, is a student-athlete at nearby University of Northern Iowa and helps on the farm nearly every weekend and during the summer, especially with the meat goat portion of the operation. The family also has a commercial cow-calf herd and raises corn, soybeans and hay.

Farm equipment in farm shop

While the farm was started many years before by Jan’s father, Willis Crees, the 46-foot-wide-by-72-foot-long shop was built in 2013 and, at the time, seemed to be the right size. In the past 10 years, equipment has continued to get bigger, and the family wishes their shop was bigger. Some of the equipment barely fits through the 25-by-16-foot door.

“After you build a shed, it’s never big enough. We now have bigger equipment and hope to build a new building at Michael’s house,” Jan says. “If a new shop would be built, we are hoping to put an area for cattle and goats on one end.”

Adding new buildings takes planning ahead due to the increased input costs.

Shop features

The built-in cabinets and drawers made by McTavish Steelworks house many tools used on the farm, while the many batteries and power tools can be found on the counter.

Red metal cabinets in farm shop

Having heat in the shop not only provides a place for the feed wagon in the winter but is also useful to work on equipment on the cold or wet days. Being able to get in from the weather elements is an important benefit of having the building.

Heating system in farm shop

As the weather starts to warm up and planting season begins, the Crees shop will house the planter nearly every night to prevent moisture causing any issues. Michael says it’s nice to have a place to tuck everything away at night and know it will be clean and ready to go the next day.

Practical and useful can go a long way for a family farm, and it provides this operation with just what the family needs.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Carrico

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Jennifer lives on a farm near Redfield, Iowa, where she runs a small cow-calf operation with her family. A 20-plus year ag journalism veteran, Jennifer has covered a wide range of agriculture issues. A graduate of Iowa State University, she has worked for local daily papers and other agriculture publishers. She came to Wallaces Farmer from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. She enjoys writing, managing cattle, and hearing and telling farmer stories.

Jennifer has two children. Kassidy, 21, attends Black Hawk East College, but will transfer in the fall to Oklahoma State University. Son, Klayton, attends Panorama High School where he excels in academics, sports, FFA and 4-H.

“My favorite part of being an ag journalist is to tell the story of the farmer and rancher,” she says. “The farmer and rancher do the work to make the food, fiber and fuel for everyone. I want to use our online presence to broaden that message to those off the farm.”

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