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Farm Planning Board
A planning board that makes use of aerial photos helps the partners of G, E & H Farms, Ada, Minn., keep track of their farming operation.
One of the partners in the 3-man operation, Harlan Hoff, says he got the idea for the planning board during his years of military service where lots of operations were plotted and planned in a similar manner.
The planning board contains aerial photos, which Hoff got from the ASCS, of the farm's 5,000 acres. Hoff writes with a grease pencil on a plastic sheet that covers the photos. He designates each field by drawing in boundaries as well as information on what's planted where.
"Each fall we take a picture of the board when it's complete. We blow the photo up to a 9 by 10-in. size and file it for future reference. Then we wipe the board clean and start over. As we plant each field, we mark it down," says Hoff. "The photos let us check back on our rotations and varieties. We can see at a glance if we might be risking disease or insectproblems due to our rotations and it gives us a running history of the farm."
Because the 33 by 63-in. board is mounted on the wall in the farm office, it makes a handy reference point for planning each day's work. Hoff and his partners can show hired men exactly where to go along with such information as where to watch out for low spots or other obstacles.
"As things get more complicated and our operation expands, it makes it easier for us to keep track of everything," says Hoff. "We even mark down how well certain varieties yield."
Hoff made the board by mounting a piece of lightweight foam on a sheet of plywood and covering it with red fabric. Then he framed it with door molding, screwing on the bottom piece so it can be removed to insert new photos. Photos of tractors and other farm equipment fill in empty spots on the board. The partners have used the planning board since 1978.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3