Another successful Horse Progress Days is in the books. And like all the HPDs we've attended before, the 2022 gathering, held at Dinky's Auction Center in Montgomery, Ind., July 1–2, was well organized with interesting and useful workshops, field demonstrations and vendor displays.
The grounds were conveniently laid out, and the event brochure available at the gate had an excellent map for locating the various venues.
As regular HPD attendees know, not all the events are alike. Because they are held on a rotating basis between six locations, the particular characteristics of each is influenced by where they're organized and assembled.
In southern Indiana, Illinois and central Michigan, the get-togethers tend to be smaller than their counterparts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and northern Indiana. In fact, the scale of the 2022 event stood in stark contrast with the one held in Mt. Hope, Ohio, the year before.
In many ways, it can be more pleasant to attend one of the smaller venues than the large ones. It tends to impart a more casual and relaxed atmosphere.
We will have our usual full wrap up of the event in our next issue.
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If you were at Horse Progress Days last weekend looking for Pioneer Equipment, you may have had trouble locating them at first. If you tried to spot the usual tall sign sporting the familiar Pioneer logo, you would have been disappointed, as it was not there. But no fear. The familiar green Pioneer brand plows, cultimulchers, forecarts and other equipment were, as usual, arranged in neat formation at the equipment tent and in the demonstration field staging areas. But in many cases, the prominent Pioneer logo had been replaced by a new one: Ackerman's Equipment and Rental.
A couple years ago, we reported that the Wengerd family made the decision to move their local retail sales from the factory location to a new site, across the road from the Mt. Hope Auction center in Mt. Hope, Ohio.
This move allows them to accomplish five things:
First, by taking the showroom out of the manufacturing plant and moving it to a new location under a new name, the Wengerds have created a full service center that offers customers a wide range of equipment made by Pioneer, as well as many other companies you are already familiar with. Lancaster Spreader, Kirkwood, Superior Poultry, Esch, IVA, Maschio, Pequa, Groffdale and many others.
Second, Ackerman's can provide technical information, instruction and advice on the individual pieces of equipment they offer, as well as how to integrate them into systems to serve a customer's unique situation.
Third, Ackerman's has become a source for used equipment that has become available through farm dispersals and trade-ins. The equipment is inspected, repaired and restored. The used equipment inventory is continually updated on the Ackerman's website, offering low-cost solutions for customer needs.
Fourth, in cases where you don't need equipment for the longterm, they can rent you a wide variety of tools, implements and machines for farming, construction or excavation.
And finally, by partnering with Farmer's National Bank, Ackerman's can help customers secure financing, sometimes within the hour, without leaving Ackerman's location.
We wondered where the name Ackerman's comes from. “Acker” is German for Acre or farmfield. An Ackerman is a plowman or farmer. It demonstrates the company's commitment to the homesteaders and farmers that are its customers.
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I am not sure where he finds the time, but Jerry Hicks is a prolific writer. He manages a few Facebook pages, some dedicated to ancestory, but I especilly enjoy reading posts on his personal page. Here's a post he sent out recently:
“I just had another one of those phone conversations that remind me that I'm turning into my pappaw. The phone rang and the caller ID looked like someone I recognized. I hear a young man's voice on the other end saying, ‘Hello. Is this Jerry Hicks?’ I replied that it was and he explained that he had ‘mineral package’ he wanted to send me. I told him I didn't reckon I needed it, and that my cattle do fine on the mineral they're getting, and I didn't see any reason to change to something I figured was going to be expensive and more so with trucking.
“There was a pause and then he explained that he meant ‘mineral rights,’ and that his company dealt in land, mineral and timber rights. I interrupted him at this point to say that I know better than to sell my mineral rights and that I come from an area where I've seen too many people screwed over by coal companies, oil companies, gas companies and clay companies that came in and paid them next to nothing and then gutted their place.
“He stopped me again and explained that he wasn't buying mineral rights. He said he was selling mineral rights and that he had land with already producing oil wells and gas wells and that I could invest in those. I told him that a man that had a producing oil well in this day and age and was calling around begging some dumb hillbilly like me to buy the rights to it was either a fool or was taking me for one and trying to pawn off a dry hole or one about to go dry. I told him I had a cow or two that I'd sell him right to milk or for calves. They had produced calves for nigh onto 20 years, so I know they have a good track record and for only $1,600 a head he could get in on the ground floor and have the rights to any future calves these cows might have, or like his good oil well, he could milk 'em if he could do it and didn't mind robbing a calf.
“He went on to assure me that it was a sound investment he was offering and that he could send me information on good producing wells.
“I had already lost interest by then and told him I reckon I had all I could do failing on my own land that I didn't need to go and throw money in somebody else's failed projects and that it looked like I had a good spell of rain that I needed to watch fall. After I hung up it occurred to me that he and I both probably just said the same thing; ‘We really have got to get better at screening these calls!’”
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Speaking of Rural Heritage contributors, Jenifer Morrissey mentioned to me in an email she’d been asked to be a guest on a British podcast about the Fell Pony breed, of which Jenifer is a strong proponent.
Those of you who have been reading this magazine for a while are familiar with Jenifer's excellent reporting. Her writing is clear and well-researched, her subjects comprehensively covered, and her narratives are carefully assembled to carry the reader forward through the story development.
Every issue we publish costs more than the last one. Paper prices, printing labor, postage and other costs rise continuously. And in the past
year, those charges have climbed
at an even higher pace than usual. Now, we are learning paper mills are not producing the papers we publishers typically use for our products. Instead, many mills have switched over to producing card stock and board for product packaging and displays. The paper is not just expensive, it is not being made and printers can't get it in their warehouses. We will be forced to switch to another paper at the end of this year, at a higher cost. At this point, we do not intend to raise subscription or advertising rates to compensate. We will work to find other ways to remain profitable. One way our readers can help is to encourage friends to subscribe, and to be sure to patronize our advertisers, letting them know you saw their ad in the magazine.
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I have been on the road a lot this past month or so. I spent a day in Kansas at a draft horse and mule competition where teamsters competed in a variety of classes including cultivator races, obstacle courses and feed races. That will make up a television show in October. I then headed to Kentucky where Jerry Hicks demonstrated how to render lard at his farm in Fleming County, Ky. That show, too, will be in October. Then I dropped by Berea College in central Kentucky, to get an update on the construction of an equestrian barn there. Primarily to house the college's band of Suffolk Punch draft horses, the barn sports a number of well-designed features including a climate-controlled tack and feed room, a wash rack stall and plenty of space between the stalls and hayloft above for air movement and ventilation.
From Berea, I headed to the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., where the Dixie Longears were hosting their wagon train. I spent two days there, riding on several of the participants' wagons and filming them from the trail. The Loretta Lynn Ranch facility hosts a variety of events, from Jeep trail rides to saddle horse rides to chuckwagon races.
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Because I travel so much, I have begun harboring a few pet peeves related to being on the road. One of them is hotel card keys. It seems that, more often than not, the keys I am issued at the reception desk fail to work five minutes after being issued as I stand in front of my door. So, I head back down and get another set of keys to be let in. Then later that night, or the following morning, they fail again.
Of course, the receptionist tells me I must have had them too close to my phone which disturbed the magnetic strips of the cards. There's no point telling them that hadn't happened.