FFA Ag Mechanics

Fair | Clip
Aug 15, 2023 | 4 min

These students showcase their mechanical and technical skills for the farm in Tech Show at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.


[Brooke] We're here at the state fair's FFA Ag Mechanics and Technology Show where students from all over the state have brought their entries for judging. Let's take a look. 

[Carlton Ness] This event is our ag mechanics contest. This is an event for students to be able to show off their ag mechanics projects ranging from restored tractors, farm equipment, welding projects, woodworking and computer design projects. We have 115 entries this year, up from previous years. We have 105 exhibitors ranging from 36 schools. 

[Brooke] Tell us about your entry. 

[Caleb Mader] This is my John Deere X-485 that I worked on with the Nevada FFA. It wasn't in very good condition, so it got new parts for it and whatnot. Then we started using it around the school. 

[Brooke] Did you know already a lot about this? 

[Caleb] No, this was something new to me. Yeah, I learned a bunch with it. 

[Carlton] It's really interesting. These kids have really innovative ideas. They're doing a lot of cool stuff in their school shop programs. Every year there's new things that come. It's been really exciting this year. A lot of neat projects kids have brought. 

[Jack Englin] I made a welding table out of an old hog waterer that had been sitting around our family shop for a couple of years. I also made a plasma cutting grate to cut through anything you needed to before you wanted to weld it back together. 

[Brooke] What did you learn putting it together, bringing it here? 

[Jack] This is galvanized steel and it's harder to weld on. I had to ventilate it, and the splatter was a lot more. That was overcoming that challenge. Then probably the wiring that I did down here. That was probably the most time out of anything. 

[Brooke] Tell me about this entry that we're sitting on. 

[Calleigh Vander Wilt] So this is a table that I built, mostly by myself, but my dad helped me a little bit, to put somewhere in our yard that we're going to set a fire pit next to. Have a nice outdoor sitting area. I like working with my hands. My dad's always been pretty good at it. He just kind of helped me. 

[Brooke] What's this behind us?

[Nathan Kroeger] This would be a family heirloom tractor. My great great uncle bought it new in 1947. 

[Brooke] How long did it take? This is beautiful. 

[Nathan] There's probably a little over 500 hours I worked on it steadily every weekend since last September, off and on. Not a lot of people have opportunity to bring it to the fair and have this good experience with the FFA program, having this tractor division. That motivated me because I'm able to talk to many people down here that know lots about this tractor. It was very much of a communication project, even. By calling people who knew people who knew parts. They're always willing to help you. Being an FFA project, they know you want to learn. They know you're trying to build your skill level. Relying on people, making phone calls was a lot of the skills I used in completing this project. 

[Carlton] It's just a great opportunity for kids to show what they're learning in their classrooms. This is kind of the opportunity for the public to see all the hard work these kids have put in over the last school year. So this is a great example of all the great things that ag education is doing in Iowa.