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West Marshall FFA students travel back in time

Groups helps with oat harvest

July 7, 2012
By LUKE STALZER - Contributing Writer ( , Times-Republican

West Marshall Future Farmers of America students got a taste yesterday of just how gut-wrenching and hands-on early 20th-century America was.

The group of approximately 10 high school students lended a hand to the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Show on Friday and took to a seven-acre field of oats, and they helped harvest the crop.

"This is a very old tradition," Don Baie, Mid-Iowa Antique Power Show board member, said. "An old machine is going through and cutting the crop, and the kids are putting them into shocks so they can dry out."

Article Photos

West Marshall juniors Brandy Wilkey and Blake Elder place bundles of oats in shocks Friday. The two students are members of West Marshall FFA and were helping out the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Show with the harvest.

Shocking oats dates back to the late 19th century and early 20th century. Binders cut the crop and tie it into small bundles that then get dumped into one area. The kids were in charge of stacking the bundles in sets of five so the crop could dry.

West Marshall FFA students have helped out the members for the past four summers harvesting the oats, and the hard work serves as a service project for the students.

"This gives the kids a 'where we come from' tradition," Jason Carolan, West Marshall High School FFA advisor, said. "It's hot out there for them, but it's a great learning experience."

If the FFA students didn't volunteer to help harvest the oats, Baie said the men, who range from ages 60 to 80, would have to do the work, so it's a great help.

"We're getting older, so it's harder for us to do this anymore," Baie said. "These younger people are learning the ways of how things use to be done and its great."

Blake Edler and Brandy Wilkey, West Marshall juniors, said helping out was a lot of fun, and the two also learned a lot about farming a century ago.

"We've learned how hard it was, and we have a lot of appreciation for farmers back in the day now," Elder said.

The FFA students will now wait up to two weeks for the shocks of oats to dry and then move them to a hay rack until the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Show.

The 27th annual show is set for Aug. 3 to 5 in front of the Marshall County Sheriff's Office on Highway 30 just west of Marshalltown city limits.



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