Hiawatha Implement Company, with John Deere dealerships in Hiawatha and Mound City, Mo., held the first annual Leaders in Economic and Agronomic Decisions (LEAD) Event on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The two and a half hour event was held at the Hiawatha Implement Test Plot in White Cloud, at the Taylor Seed Farm. Nearly 175 attendees from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa participated in four informative rotations at the event. Hiawatha Implement’s Integrated Solutions Department planned the details of the event with all of the departments from both locations chipping in and helping out.

In June of 2016, Hiawatha Implement employees started planning for last week’s event. By August of 2016, a partnership with Taylor Seed Farms was worked out for the 17.4 acre plot featured in this year’s LEAD Event. Most test plots are for testing different types of seed or fertilizer, but the area’s largest John Deere dealership wanted to showcase something different to its customers. Starting in the Fall of 2016, Hiawatha Implement employees spent countless hours planning and organizing to make the event truly one-of-a-kind for this area.

“We believe this is a very important aspect of the agriculture business in this area,” said Nicholas Blevins, AMS manager for Hiawatha Implement. “This test plot can help us provide more localized and detailed agronomic data to help the farmer become more profitable. We aren’t here to tell farmers how to farm, but it’s our job to help our customers make better business decisions.”

What was different about Hiawatha Implement’s test plot and the LEAD Event? The dealership didn’t plant different types of seed or fertilize each area differently. Instead, many types of equipment and methods of farming were tested to attain a better understanding of the pros and cons of each specific test. This past spring, during planting season, variances in planting speed tests, seed placement versus anhydrous placement tests, no till versus vertical till tests, soil moisture movement, and many other tests were ongoing at the plot.

“This year’s data will not be entirely complete until harvest occurs, but early results are already giving us better information to give to our customers, which is the main goal of Hiawatha Implement,” Blevins added.

This event goes to show the progressive approach the staff at Hiawatha Implement takes towards the agriculture industry.

“It’s our job to make sure our staff and customers are able to take full advantage of the ever changing technology that is, and will be, continuously implemented in our equipment,” said Chris Krueger, Hiawatha Implement AMS Consultant.

This year’s event drew the attention of John Deere corporate supervisors and managers. Hiawatha Implement has the only test plot in Division F — an area that encompasses six states. The staff has already received feedback from corporate employees, many of whom attended the event, all with high praise.

“It’s hard to estimate the amount of time we spent on the test plot, but it’s in the hundreds of hours,” Blevins stated.

Next year’s plans have already started and the dealership will have nine test plots through Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri totaling nearly 200 acres.

“Next year we will be featuring a variety of different tests,” he said. “We hope to be able to provide our customers with the best information we possibly can. With these test plots, we can get extremely localized results which will be a good tool for us to have for the future.”

Hiawatha Implement, one of Holt County’s largest employers, employs 32 at its Mound City dealership and 38 at the Hiawatha location.

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