Thursday marked the 11th time Pendleton Grain Growers in Island City held its annual Pivot School.
Now, at more than a decade old, that pretty much makes it a local tradition around here, although it often draws customers from from places like Prairie City and Ontario.
PGG manager Robb Rea remembers the first one in 1994 was inspired by pivot irrigation customers.
"We'd get these service calls and they'd say, Â‘it's not working.' so we'd ask, Â‘Well, what's wrong?' And they'd say, Â‘It's not working.'" That year, and every year since, part of the workshop has included a trouble shooting package.
In addition, seminar topics also include alignment and preventative maintenance, standard machine operation theory, and there is always a segment on safety.
"Remember, we're talking about a mix of water and electricity here," Rae says.
Thursday afternoon, farmers were also advised on a new 12-hour service program at PGG and updated on newest technologies like the Pocket Pro from Valmont. This hand held PDA provides the ability to monitor and control center pivots from a couple of miles away, Rae says.
Since the event has such a specific focus, PGG has never felt the need to advertise, relying more on word of mouth. Rea says there were just eight farmers at that first meeting, but each year attendance grows.
"Every year, we get a few more," Rae says. "Three of four years ago, I thought it would start to dwindle, but it didn't and it just gets a little bigger every year."
Thursday, they had tables set up for more than 60.
Besides a refresher course for some as well as new information for all, the school also provides an opportunity to visit with neighbors and friends.
The entire event is always held at no charge and includes lunch. This year, prime rib sandwich topped the menu.
Â– Mardi Ford