Nearly 40 years ago, Glen Slabaugh went to work for Clunette Elevator in Kosciusko County. He soon found himself interested in chemical application.
"In the early day we slipped a sprayer in the back of a pick-up truck and sprayer that way," he recalls.
Then for many years he ran a basic floater machine, applying fertilizer and chemicals. Today, he operates a high-tech Terra-Gator spreading fertilizer and sometimes applying chemical, and also a high-tech Ro-Gator in the summer for post applications in the crop.
His efforts earned him Applicator of the Year, a coveted title across the country. AGCO Application Equipment makes the award each year in the late fall. Somewhere about that time, he also covered his one-millionth acre. The local crew threw a small party for him in the office to celebrate his accomplishment.
How has he done it? Just by sticking to it, he says. He hits the ground running every day, and focuses on the task at hand, then goes on the next field, and the next.
The machine he drives now has auto-steering. Actually, the cab resembles an airplane cockpit. It also has many creature comforts that no one thought about 20 years ago.
"It really helps not to have to do all the steering," he says. "I don't get as tired. It frees me up to make sure everything else is working properly.
"We started with lightbars, and when they put those in there I wasn't too sure at first," Glen says. "But now it's a real good deal. When I turn on the ends and reengage the auto-steering, it finds the path it's supposed to be on and takes off across the field. When we approach the end it beeps to let me know it's time to turn."
How much longer will Glen go? He's not saying, but it's obvious that having a smooth-riding, easy to-drive vehicle may extend his career.