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Class XII Curriculum

Regional Perspectives of Agricultural Industries, Credit/Finance, Research, Markets and Applied Communications.

Seminar V

Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Scribe: Jake Nelson

Chairperson: Harlan Hentges, Scribe: Jake Nelson, Photography: Curtis Liles, Mike Schulte, Matt Gard.

This genesis of this seminar had students meeting at one of four collection points. The early crew departed Oklahoma City at 6:20 a.m. northbound for Stillwater, Blackwell, and ultimately Wichita, KS, as additional class members were collected at each point. A special thanks is extended to Russell Nabors of the Oklahoma Food & Ag Products Center for delivering the Stillwater group to I-35 for access to the bus. Our bus driver was Mr. Sam Cloud with Village Tours Charter. It should be noted that three class members are not in attendance at this seminar. Brett and Joy Porter have a new baby (Reese), Randy and Summer Squires were on a medical leave, and Scott and Melissa Eisenhauer were perhaps visiting the ailing, yet persevering Pope in Rome, Italy.

 

JOHN DEERE TRAINING CENTER

Our first destination was the John Deere Training Center in Wichita, which serves as a regional training center for John Deere employees. Our host was Mr. John Roy, Training Center Manager, who has 33 years service with John Deere. Mr. Roy has family near Fairview, OK. Assisting Mr. Roy with our visit was Glen Oetkin, Drew Lowrey, and Johnny Roberts. Mr. Roy explained the following: The John Deere company has changed its view toward training employees. To have the best product, companies must commit resources to training, research & development and efficiency, and accordingly, John Deere feels they have the BEST product. Manufacturers are on a “global platform”, and thus equipment manufacturers must provide products based upon their customers wants and needs (for example – straw is a much more valuable by-product in Canada versus the U.S., therefore harvesting equipment has different requirements in different countries).

John Deere (the man) was described as a blacksmith who knew how to MARKET and DISTRIBUTE his product, which separated him from other blacksmiths of the time. He was also described as a good businessman who focused intently on customer needs. Because customer needs are always changing, the current John Deere company is always changing to meet those needs. Generally speaking, the John Deere customer wants high productivity at low cost. Accordingly, the John Deere company is very concerned with helping producers justify the costs of equipment. An example provided of pricey, yet efficient changes in equipment is the new John Deere IVT technology found in many new John Deere tractors. Furthermore, to acquire a substantial customer base, John Deere’s mentality is that they must be different at the dealer level. Customer service is top of mind. To add value to their products means having well trained people at the dealerships.

The class sessions for John Deere employees range from 12-16 students in size. They also have sales courses and teach their sales people the art of differentiation. Marketing employees are taught how to display John Deere items. John Deere is also venturing down a new path with customer training workshops for the purchasers of the new STS combines. A one-day workshop is offered for customers who are identified by individual dealerships. The workshop contains classroom and laboratory environments for learning. The cost is $200/day/student. Most dealers try to cover the fee cost for the customer. Also, each dealer receives a calendar of upcoming workshops, and the information can be found on-line by searching for JDU or JDUniversity.

After Mr. Roy spoke with us regarding the above information, questions were taken from Brent Rendel (about computer technology in the equipment), Joe Williams (about relationships between John Deere and universities in the U.S.), and Barbara Gilbertson (about why John Deere wants larger, higher volume dealerships). Mr. Roy’s response about dealership size addressed how rural America is changing, and that dealers are instructed to size themselves based on customer numbers and physical size of customer’s farms. All equipment is getting larger. Having said that, Mr. Roy explained that one major hurdle facing John Deere is where to put all of the used equipment. There are no mid-range or mid-sized farmers left to purchase the used equipment derived from larger farms who update their equipment regularly. Mr. Roy further explained that the toughest job in the company is that of a dealer. He explained that dealers devote their entire life to selling equipment. . . it is not just a job.

After this discussion, Mr. Drew Lowrey took us on a tour of some new JD equipment. Our first stop was a disassembled IVT – the “infinite variable transmission”. The IVT, simply put, is a continuous transmission which saves the time and energy needed for shifting. The speed range for the IVT is 165 feet/hour to 25 miles/hour. Efficiency is further enhanced with self-controlled RPM and gear ratio control. After discussing the transmission, class members were allowed to climb aboard all of the new tractors on display. After play time was over, Mr. Lowrey boarded and started a new JD 7420, which had the building’s modified air handling system incorporated into the exhaust stack, so we would not all collapse from carbon monoxide exposure. The tractor was elevated on jack stands so the demonstration would be static. Mr. Lowrey demonstrated the new IVT technology and the auto-clutch feature, with special emphasis on how the engine RPMs adjust for a load while maintaining a constant ground speed. This IVT can be found in the 6000, 7020, 7820, and 7920 tractors, and perhaps others. Questions quickly followed from Steven Clay (torque sensor?), Matt Gard (right front tire wear?), Barbara Gilbertson (2WD only?), Mark Holder (transmission life span?), and Curtis Liles (cost of new tranny?).

After viewing the tractors, Mr. Glen Oetken led us to view and discuss the new STS combines. After much hesitation by all of the class, Jake Nelson asked Mr. Oetken what the acronym “STS” represented. Everyone sighed with relief; relieved that someone finally asked. STS stands for “single tine separator”. Anyway, the new 9860 STS combines are GPS based, have an auto-tracking feature, have an auto-header adjustment feature, and have an auto-feed rate feature. Particular attention was paid to straw quality when these were designed. We then viewed two (2) cut-aways of the guts of a combine. Finally, when all that could have been viewed was, we were served a lunch of beef brisket by the JD personnel. Lunch was followed by dessert, and each of the OALP class members were given an official JD cap. Joe Williams told the class that John Deere was a corporate sponsor of the OALP. Thank you’s were extended and the class departed from the JD training center.

Our next destination was also in Wichita, so our journey was not long. It was long enough, however, for our chairperson of the morning (Harlan Hentges) to be christened with his new title of Little Smokey, in honor of his loyal service to our director, Smokin’ Joe Williams.

 

U.S. AGBANK

Destination #2 was the U.S. AgBank, FCB. We were seated in a meeting room and welcomed by Jerold L. Harris. Mr. Harris was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the jointly managed Farm Credit Bank of Wichita and Western Farm Credit Bank (d.b.a. U.S. AgBank, FCB) in January 2002. Prior to that, Jerold served as President and CEO of the Farm Credit Bank of Wichita since March 1991. He has over 40 years experience with various Farm Credit System entities. He started his career with the System in 1963 as a loan officer trainee with the Federal Land Bank of Wichita. Jerold was raised on a cash grain and livestock farm in Denby, South Dakota. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University.

Mr. Harris made certain to congratulate the OALP class. He said this is a wonderful time to be in agriculture. He also stated that agriculture is cyclical, so now is the time to prepare for the down time to come. Mr. Harris demonstrated a great admiration for the students in OALP, and told Joe Williams that he and the board pick a good group for every class. Joe Williams mentioned that U.S. AgBank is a corporate sponsor of the OALP.

The following persons from the U.S. AgBank each presented a brief informational segment relative to the operations of the bank.

Cheryl Imel – Cheryl grew up in Southwestern Oklahoma on a wheat and cattle farm. She attended Walters High School and in 1995 received a B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from OSU. Subsequently, Cheryl was a mortgage lender with Stillwater National Bank for two years. In 1997, she entered employment into the Farm Credit System as a credit analyst with CoBank in Wichita, KS. In August 2001, Cheryl joined the correspondent lending division of U.S. AgBank as a senior credit analyst.

Patrick Zeka (pronounced Zekee) – Patrick Zeka was raised on a cattle and wheat farm near Wellington, Kansas. He received a BS degree in accounting from the University of Kansas. He is also a graduate of the OALP (class VIII). He started his Farm Credit career in Enid, OK, and is currently a Vice President in the correspondent lending department of U.S. AgBank. He has a wife and 3 children.

Kevin Spangler – Kevin grew up in Hesston, Kansas, north of Wichita. He graduated from Wichita State University with degrees in finance and accounting. Kevin worked at a commercial bank prior to joining U.S. AgBank in 1991 as a financial analyst. In his current position as Asst. Vice President – Interest Rate Risk Analysis, his primary responsibility is measuring interest rate risk within the bank and district.

Jim Shanahan – Jim is originally from Broomfield, Colorado. He attended Colorado State University and acquired an MBA from Wichita State University. He is currently Vice President of Hedging and Funding Operations for U.S. AgBank.

Each of these presenters had PowerPoint slides with their presentations, and the slides were copied and bound into a book which was given, individually, to each member of the OALP. Refer to this book for detailed notes on the presentations.

 

CARGILL MEAT SOLUTIONS / EXCEL

Our next stop was at the Excel Product Development Center in Wichita. Excel is a division of Cargill. Dr. Glen Dolezal, who is director of new technology, greeted us and took us to a classroom in their center. He introduced our first speaker, Dan Johnson, Vice President of Pricing and Operations. Cargill Company was established in 1865 by William Wallace Cargill. Cargill is now present in 59 countries and claims $60,000,000,000 in revenue. Cargill strives to be the international provider of food and agricultural solutions for the customer. Their goal is to be a “Total Food Company.” Their mission is to be the global leader in nourishing people and to create distinctive value for their customers. One example is the Safeway grocery chain and their program of providing guaranteed tender beef, from Cargill production facilities. Cargill has 13 food and agricultural platforms. Cargill Meat Solutions (formerly Excel) is 1 of the 13. Cargill Meat Solutions touts $15,000,000,000 in revenue, 32,000 employees, 1,200 customers, and 10,000,000,000 lbs of beef sold per year. Their beef slaughter capacities range from 115,000 head/week (short week) to 150,000 head/week. The 150,000 head calculates to 1,200,000 boxes of beef per week.

Cargill Meat Solutions operates 8 beef plants (7 in the U.S. and 1 in Canada), and their capacities range from 1,800 to 6,000 head per day. Most of the beef animals processed are collected from feedlots within a 100-mile radius of each plant. The basic procurement of live cattle is executed by the illustrious cattle buyer. They evaluate the potential for animals to meet programs such as Certified Angus Beef or Angus Pride, the feedlot history and/or reputation, live weight of the cattle, mud score, breed score, and estimated red meat yield. Cattle are typically procured by one of the following manners: Live, In The Beef (carcass), Alliance or Formula (for Cargill specs), Forward Contract, or by Yield and Quality Grid. When cattle are bought live, the buyers negotiate price, sorting, shrink, freight and delivery date. This usually happens within a 2-hour window, and somewhat represents a feeding frenzy by sharks.

Dan Johnson continued with discussions relative to time needed to re-build a beef herd. A typical beef animal needs 25-27 months to go from birth to market (slaughter). Three additional years are needed if that animal happens to be a heifer and the producer keeps her as a replacement. It was noted that the pork and poultry life cycles are much swifter. Discussion continued about the US cattle inventory, and how we are currently leaving a “valley” of the 10-year cattle cycle. Mark Holder asked about consumer demand for natural beef and how Cargill views this increase in consumer demand. Mr. Johnson said that, yes, there is an increase in recognition and desire for natural beef, but not enough for the conversion of large plants and producers. He feels that it is better to have multiple markets (natural versus conventional). It was noted that some natural beef companies such as Coleman Natural Beef and B3R exist. Following this discussion, talk about cattle inventories versus slaughter began. Dan Johnson stated that slaughter numbers always fall as inventory increases, primarily due to heifer retention at the producer level. Today, the motto for packers is POOR MARGINS. At the packer level, margins drive activity, not supply. Mr. Johnson continued by showing graphs relative to beef consumption, meat protein consumption and fed steer prices.

The next topic presented regarded trade barriers for the US, Japan and Canada. Japan’s requirements for US beef will be age verified beef coming from animals less than 20 months age at time of slaughter. This agreement will be revisited July, 2005. The U.S. border is expected to open to Canadian cattle March 7, 2005. Only live cattle less than 30 months age, or meat from those age animals will be allowed into the U.S. No ground beef will be allowed. Cargill feels that this will not drastically drive prices down, because it will be very onerous to bring animals into the U.S., due to requirements such as dentition, fuel charges, and the exchange rate. It was noted that Canadian herds are growing, due to decreased slaughter capacity in Canada. A phenomenon observed and presented by Dan Johnson was the 8-2’s. This means that anytime there is a week with a quantity of 8 “2’s” in the dates, it is a slow time for beef sales at retail, due to bi-weekly pay periods common in the U.S. Finally, Dan Johnson told us the take home message was 1) Supplies are tight; 2) Packers are currently slaughtering less than 700,000 head/week; 3) Retail demand is weak (always in February); and 4) The market is volatile, due to Canada, Asia, and herd expansion from the cattle cycle.

Our next speaker from Cargill was Dr. Becky Cooper, director of technical training. Her focus area is microbiology, and she explained the temperature danger zone (40o-140oF), at which bacteria really like to grow, especially when in the presence of food, water, and oxygen. Take home message = keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Cargill’s technique for controlling microbial populations (particularly pathogens) is “hurdle technology”, or placing as many hurdles as feasible in the way of bacterial growth. There are a minimum of 5 hurdles for pathogens at each Cargill beef plant. These include 1) Hide on carcass wash; 2) Organic acid rinse; 3) Steam vacuum; 4) Hot water rinse; 5) Steam pasteurization, 180oF @ 6 seconds; 6) Peracetic acid rinse; 7) VerifEye; 8) Test and hold procedures for ground beef. It should be noted that the industry standard is to test and hold beef trimmings, but Cargill tests and holds the final product, ground beef. One (1) hour production of ground beef equals about 40,000 pounds. Dr. Cooper then switched topics to BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and SRM’s (specified risk materials). Finally, Dr. Cooper passed out Taylor brand meat thermometers to each class member, and told us to cook our ground meat products to 160oF, to protect our young, our old, and our immuno-compromised.

The final speaker from Cargill was Chris Trumble – international man of knowledge. More specifically, he is the International Marketing Manager for Cargill. Mr. Trumble indicated that from 2003 – 2004, there was a 97% decrease in Asian beef sales, and a 23% increase in pork sales. Without regard to BSE, Japan is a valuable customer, as evidenced by the presence of the “Japan Room”, at the Ottumwa, Iowa plant, which possesses a slower line speed to allow workers to produce to the very strict Japanese specifications. The beef export status is that Japan has been working with the U.S. on an agreement since October 2004. They require beef from animals 20 months or less age at time of slaughter, SRM removal, live production records, and age verification. The U.S. (NCBA) has recommended an A40 age specification, but Cargill feels this is too restrictive. Finally, it was discussed that Korea (another large US customer) may not follow Japan’s actions and requirements, and they may want differentiation from Japan. There has been no dialogue with Korea.

After many questions and thank you’s, the Cargill group served us a dinner of roast beef, potatoes, vegetables and ice cream for dessert. After dinner, we loaded the bus and headed for Kansas City. Fortunately, the bus had a DVD player with monitors, and Matt Gard had a collection of DVD movies. The selection was The Bourne Identity. Once we arrived to the Park Place Hotel, we were a bit nervous because this hotel employed an armed security guard who was stationed in the front lobby. Nevertheless, the evening ended with a couple of beverages, a handful of chips, and much discussion about the day.

 

EPILOG

This scribe cannot finish his duties without noting that after everyone had retired to bed, there were two hotel fire alarm activations in the night. This may have been a first, as we know of no other time when OALP members scurried up and down a hallway, dressed in sleepwear, wondering who was smoking beneath the smoke detector. Perhaps Smokin’ Joe or Little Smokey lived up to their names.

 

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005
Scribe: Leslie McCuiston

 

DELAVAL CORPORTION

The morning began with Mr. Gene Millard, with the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, telling us a little more about Millard Family Farms, Inc. and how their operation has evolved. He began with a general agricultural degree at Colorado State University and got his first job in Ag broadcasting. He began his farming career with 80 rented acres and a few sows. He was able to find a local investor who initially got him on his way to success in the production agricultural field. They now run cattle and work in a coop situation with several other producers to deliver grain for a premium. He told us four key things to survive in farming or business include: innovation, options, adapt to change and risk management.

Next, Mr. Don Calhoun told us about the functions and customers involved in making DeLaval successful. DeLaval, a dairy equipment company, began from a young Swede’s dream. From Gustaf de Laval making the electronic milker in 1917 to a private company in 115 markets around the world, a lot has changed. They are associated and work with the Food and Ag Organization with the UN, school milk programs, operate village milking centers and are a part of the International Dairy Foundation. Their largest project is working on solutions for developing countries such as India, which is the highest milk producing country in the world. He then spoke to us briefly about ethics in business and addressed the key issues of anti-corruption, child exploitation and environment. Now, it was on to the Harley Davidson plant in Kansas City to tour the production site. We discovered more about not only the production of the motorcycles, but about the dynamics of a two-union plant. After lunch, we headed over to the Federal Reserve Bank for our afternoon tour. We discovered the purposes the bank serves, how they process checks and cash and the changes that have been made with technology advances. Jason Henderson was our first speaker for the after noon. Mr. Henderson is a Senior Economist at the Center for the Study of Rural America. He discussed the rural conditions on and off farms, where he believed commodity prices would be in the short term and the potential impact of China in the future. He also exhibited the impact of subsidy payments on rural development and income. Mr. Peter Shinn was our final presenter of the day from the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. He presented to us the reasons we should interact with media, what kinds of issues we should know about and specific techniques for dealing with reporters. He addressed each issue individually sharing with us how we should develop a relationship with our “local” media, know about our specific operations and the impact of issues surrounding it and always know who is asking the questions. We were afforded the opportunity to display if we absorbed any of this information through brief mock interviews which showed to be a great success.

 

Friday, Feb. 18
Scribe: Curtis Liles

 

KANSAS CITY BOARD OF TRADE

We started our last day in Kansas City at the Board of Trade, a 130-year-old institution that still uses the open outcry method of trading in the pits. We were met by Steve Campbell, an OSU grad, in a bright orange shirt.. Steve works for Louis Dryfus a 150-year-old commodity trading company. Steve talked to us about the Board of Trade and about Dryfus and the other commodity traders. He mentioned that the United States competes against the Canadian and Australian Wheat Boards; they take a long-term attitude to trading while the US has taken a short-term attitude. The US is now starting to adopt a longer-term outlook, more like Canada and Australia.

Next we met with Jeff Borchardt, the President and CEO of the Kansas City Board of Trade. He talked about changes in the wheat industry. How China is the largest producer and consumer of wheat worldwide. How the Ocean Freight Trade has increased in price an example was where it use to cost $9 – $10,000 per day to transport 55,000 tons or 2 million bushels of wheat it now cost $75,000 per day. This has created havoc in all trading; it has caused changes in the economics of what use to be profitable and how far you could transport cargo from yesterday to today.

Jeff told us the purpose of the Board of Trade is to facilitate the transfer of price risk. Speculators are the ones that make the constant market and without them the farmers, millers, bakers and others would have to wait for someone to come forth to offer to make a trade.

It cost $150,000 to buy a seat on the Kansas City Board of Trade. It is a highly regulated industry, with three different groups watching over everything to make sure everyone is fair and ethical and that no fraud is involved.

There are three different markets that trade wheat, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Kansas City handles the most trades; many speculators will spread the risk between the three markets. The limit of trading range is 30 cents per day.

We then went down onto the trading floor and when the clock clicked 9:30am all hell broke loose. Grown men were screaming at the top of their lungs and waving their arms back and forth. It was quite a sight for the untrained students. The actual traders in the pits reminded me of the same characters I have seen at off track betting parlors in Oklahoma. They have this look of living off of too much stress and caffeine. We asked if anyone ever had a heart attack in the pit during the trading session, we were told that yes a couple of years ago a man did collapse in the pits. We asked, "did they suspend trading for the day?" The answer was no, only long enough to move him out of the way and to make sure someone got medical attention for him.

 

KANSAS CITY SPEEDWAY

Our next visit was to the Kansas Speedway in Bonner Springs, west of Kansas City about 20 miles. Bob/John met us and gave us a tour of the facility. They have spent $350 million and are adding more seats. It currently will seat 70,000 in the grandstands. They have about 100,000 on race day. 5,000 never see the race. They come in early to see the cars go through inspection, visit the grounds and then go back out into the parking lot to tailgate and drink adult beverages. Ticket prices are $40 - $80 per seat per race for grandstand seats, you can only buy a 6-race package season ticket and they are completely sold out. Lets see $60 x 70,000 x 6 = $25,200,000, not bad for a days work. Then you have concession stands, merchandise, and TV rights. He claims it is a profitable business. He made the comment that the track was built on worthless farmland that had just a few low income houses on it, we didn’t say anything but though plenty about his comment. He also told us that the track was built with Kansas Star Bonds, which were then purchased by NASCAR and the sales tax revenue generated by the track will pay the bonds off.

We got to go up to the Presidents suite at the top of the grandstand right above the start/finish line. It was very nice. He told us the only way you could get into this suite on race day was by invitation only. We then went up onto the roof where the race teams spotters stand during the race, they are the driver’s eyes. They tell the driver who is trying to pass them, who is coming up on them, where a wreck is and how to avoid it. I being in the insurance business noticed all of the lightning rods all over the place; I don’t think I would want this job. He pointed out all of the different buildings in the infield. One was the Infield Care Center; it is a trauma center for drivers and fans with a helicopter-pad next door. They are 5 minutes by air from the Kansas University trauma center. He explained that if the driver has a wreck and can’t drive the car off of the track he must go to the hospital, if he can drive it off the track he doesn’t have to go. Kind of a mucho thing.

John explained how the moonshine runners racing their cars against each other on Sundays in the Southeast United States was the birth of NASCAR. He said they wouldn’t haul moonshine on Sunday because they were afraid GOD would get them, so they would have picnics and spend time with the family. One thing led to another and men being men started bragging about who had the fastest car, and the rest is history.

TV contracts have just exploded the business. Sponsorship by businesses has funded the growth, but TV has really taken it to a new level. It was interesting because there was an article in the Sunday Oklahoman on Feb 20 about NASCAR and the effect on Oklahoma, very interesting reading for someone who has never been to a NASCAR race or even watched one on TV. He explained that NASCAR is trying to recruit minority drivers; they want to expand the huge Hispanic market, even expand into Mexico with some races. He told us that 95% of the fans on race day would be wearing some sort of insignia to show support for their favorite driver.

When we were in the Presidents’ suite we could see the Nebraska Furniture Mart, 500,000 square feet of merchandise under one roof, owned by Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway. Next to it was Cabela’s and next to it was the Great Wolf Lodge with an indoor water park. To the south of us was the National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame. This whole area has just exploded in growth since the Speedway was built. They are trying to get the National NASCAR Hall of Fame built here also.

 

CABELA'S

We next went on a tour of Cabela’s. It was founded in 1961 (the year I was born) by Dick & Mary Cabela from a newspaper ad selling fishing flies. It started out as a catalogue business. They opened their first retail store in 1991; they now have 8 retail stores to complement the catalogue and Internet sales sides of the business. They want the customer to be able to come into the retail store and to touch and see everything they have in the catalogue. This Cabela’s store is now the number 1 tourist attraction in the State of Kansas. We were welcomed to the store by Jane Sorrels, she talked to us about the extent that Cabela’s will go to take care of their customers from replacing a new fishing pole that was broken getting into the car in the parking lot to tracking down a special order holster stuck on a UPS truck for a female soldier that was leaving the next day for Iraq. The Cabela’s have told their employees, “You can’t do anything wrong if you are helping the customer”. After having lunch at the store and exploring around for a while we went on to our last stop of the day, the National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame.

 

NATIONAL AGRICULTURE CENTER AND HALL OF FAME

The Center was established in 1965 and hasn’t had much improvement since then. They are currently under remodeling but with limited funds can only do so much. Their visitor count has doubled to 60,000 in the last few years, mainly a result of the Kansas Speedway and other near by developments, hopefully this will help generate much needed revenue to improve their facilities. They also rent out several buildings for special functions or picnics. While we were there, they were getting ready for a wedding reception in the big red barn. They can handle groups of up to 1,500 on their outdoor facilities. They also have the International Lineman Rodeo; we saw rows and rows of different utility line poles. Someone asked how they got the horses up on the poles? The Agriculture Center is on 172 acres used to display numerous agricultural items from the early 1900’s. They even have Harry Truman’s one bottom mule drawn plow; I noticed it even had bailing wire on it holding it together. They have recreated a small town with the train depot, blacksmith shop, one room schoolhouse, and an old farmhouse called the “Smith House” that is a reproduction of a 1916 farm home. Also located at the Center is the National Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Just by chance I noticed that my dad’s first cousin, Wayne Liles, was one of the honorees.

After a short visit at the Agricultural Center we loaded up the bus and headed back to Oklahoma. Fun was had by all. Each time we have a session I think, well that was the best session yet, but I just can’t see how they can keep getting better. Dr. Joe Williams was giving us a little preview of our upcoming Washington D.C. trip, and well, I think it’s going to be the best one yet.