I recently purchased an old breaking plow that I need help identifying. I usually do not purchase equipment that does not have brand/model info on it, but this one was very reasonable priced. I need to go thru it and do some repair work but would like to find info/diagrams if possible first. Hoping you can help me, I can send pictures also.Thanks Jeff Clingan Fulton MS
U.S.A. PLOWING ORGANIZATION
Pres: John Gaard Director: Robert Miller 46314 276th Street, Chancellor, SD 57015 548 Miller Rd., Millersburg, PA 17061 Phone: 605-201-1857 Phone: 717-692-2443
Vice-Pres: Mike Penas Director: Michael Fitz 18282 Lace Ave., Hutchinson, MN 55350 2071 290th Str., Melbourne IA, 50116 Phone: 320-296-9592 Phone: 641-751-9500
Sec’y-Treas: Joel Wagner Director: Don Klehm 203 Clearfield Rd., Wethersfield, CT 06109 13543 N 2700 E Rd., Forrest, IL 61741 Phone: 860-882-9731 Phone: 815-832-4449
Director: Michael Rhoades WPO Rep: Conrad Gruber 8572 Fisher Dangler Rd., Union City, OH 45390 33009 Co. Rd. 14, Paynesville, MN 56362 Phone: 937-423-0668 Phone: 320-249-9310
WEB SITE FOR USAPO: http://usapo.org
Hello friends. Thank you all for being so understanding with me getting this newsletter out so late after our 2023 National in PA. It has been 2 months since. Kevin, Gene, Hailey, Eva, Peg and I are back from the World Ploughing Match in Latvia. With our daughter Laura, Valdemar, and Freia back in Denmark. After returning I immediately got a cold that turned into a flu that I am now just emerging from. There are many things to report including 1) our USAPO National results in PA, 2) a USAPO Director’s meeting, 3) the USAPO General membership meeting, 4) the World Ploughing report from Latvia, and 4) a USAPO History as narrated by Bernie Nietfeld.
USAPO National Plowing Competition in Williams Grove, PA August 31st through September 1st, 2023
The 2023 USAPO National meet was held August 31st through September 1st in Williams Grove, PA. The PA State match was held before with concurrent USAPO National practice times. The weather was fantastic. The soil conditions were good if you were in the middle and to the west. The plots to the east were pretty stoney and were difficult to plow. I know of at least one competitor that changed shares in the middle of the competition as they were wearing out due to the stones. Most standard classes were offered for the USAPO National, namely, Antique, Open, Small Plow, Vintage Small Plow, Junior Open, and Reversible for Senior and Junior participation. This was the second year for the Vintage Small Plow Class that was well attended. Ohio had a large contingent of plowpersons including juniors and seniors.
The 2023 USAPO National Match was organized by the Pennsylvania State Plowing Association with special thanks to Bob and Marian Miller and Jay Wickard, plus many others in the club too numerous to mention. The onsite food was catered expertly and I very much enjoyed eating in the new building. The banquet was very well done and most appreciated.
I didn’t get to plow at the national this year as my tractor and plow were on their way to Latvia with Kevin Albrecht’s equipment. I’ll just have to look forward to the USAPO National in 2024 in SD.
From my point of view the 2023 National Match was very well organized with good plowing conditions.
The top placings of the results are listed below.
National Open National Antique
1st TJ Hiestand OH (233pts) 1st David Gaard SD (223pts) 2nd Jeff Slyder OH (223pts) 2nd Andrew Kuck OH (174pts) 3rd Jacob Loehr MN (198pts) 3rd Jay Wickard PA (167pts)
National Small Plow Vintage National Small Plow
1st Gene Gruber MN (307+309=616pts) 1st John Gaard SD (242+280=522pts) 2nd Jeremy Nietfeld MN (242+256=498pts) 2nd Joe Loehr MN (245+238=483pts) 3rd Mike Rhoades OH (217+256=473pts) 3rd Robert Miller PA (235+243=478pts)
National Junior Small Plow National Junior Open
1st Thomas Gower OH (239+248=487pts) 1st Paytyn Hiestand OH (96pts) 2nd Colton Hiestand OH (90pts)
1st Kevin Albrecht SD (77+87=164pts)
Competition notes – Good showing for OH with 7 trophy winners. MN had 4 trophy winners while SD had 3. I was glad to see juniors competing this year as there were none in MN last year. It’s a long trip to make from the other states. Congratulations to Mike Rhoades going from 4th last year to a trophy position this year. Unfortunately, Dale was unable to compete in reversible leaving Kevin to show everyone how it’s done. Probably good practice with his backup tractor and plow before going to Latvia.
2023 Spirit Award goes to Marian Miller
Marian is the glue that keeps Bob in his place and keeps the PA club in good working order.
2023 Sportsmanship Award goes to Bob Miller
A special thanks to Bob for making the National happen in PA this year. He works tirelessly while farming too yet. Congratulations Bob.
USAPO Directors Meeting Minutes
August 29, 2023
A USAPO board of directors meeting was held in just prior to the 2023 National Meet in PA. Called to order by Pres. John Gaard at 8:04pm Eastern time on August 29th, 2023. Directors present were: John Gaard-SD, Robert Miller-PA, Joel Wagner-CT, Mike Fitz-IA, Gene Gruber for Mike Penas-MN, Don Klehm-IL, Michael Rhoades-OH, and Roger Neate and Marian Miller as guests.
Previous Minutes - Previous meeting minutes from April 27, 2023 were reviewed. Don Klehm moved to approve the minutes, Mike Fitz seconded. Passed.
Financial Report - The financial report from the last director’s meeting till the present was read. It was discussed that we need to make sure we are paying the storage fee in Germany for our two containers. Joel was assigned to pay through 2024 and to send the inventory to Mike Rhoades for review. (Please see the financial report for the General Membership Meeting following.) Don Klehm moved to approve the financial report. Gene Gruber seconded. Passed.
Old Business: None
We have added Junior and Vintage classes. JG will suggest rule changes for next directors meeting to put to a vote.
State Reports –
SD – John Gaard. State contest last week in Madison. Site chosen for next year’s National. Near Arlington SD. 1st or 3rd weekend in Aug. 144 acres with lighter than normal soil for SD. OH – Mike Rhoades. OH State match on 7/29. 28 contestants. Hot and dry conditions, some hard spots.
CT – Joel Wagner. No report.
PA – Bob Miller. PA States tomorrow – watch out for badger holes. Conditions will be dry. Hotel set up for competitors. Cracker Barrel nearby for meals. Depth of 6-8” is advised. MN – Gene Gruber. Perfect plowing conditions on the Nietfeld farm this year. IL – Don Klehm. No report.
IA – Mike Fitz. Acknowledged there was soft as well as hard ground at the IA meet. WPO Report – Gene Gruber. Nothing to report. The WPO is considering a 23 and under class for the Worlds. More to come. (JHW - I heard no discussion of this while in Latvia.)
Mike Rhoades moved to adjourn. Don Klehm seconded. Passed.
Adjourned at 9:50pm.
USAPO Annual General Membership Meeting Minutes August 30, 2023
Meeting called to order at 7:26pm Eastern Time on 8/30/2023 by President John Gaard.
Thanks to the PA Plowing Association for organizing the USAPO Banquet with great food and for hosting the 2023 USAPO National Plowing Match.
Minutes of last General Membership meeting were briefly discussed.
Mike Fitz moved to approve. Roger Neate seconded. Passed.
Treasurer’s report was discussed (see details below).
Financial Report - The financial report from the last general meeting of August 17, 2022 till the present was read.
Starting Balance from last meeting on 8/17/2022 $15123.03 Income:
Dues collected $2250.00 National Fee collected $4000.00 2022 National Entry Fees $675.00 Donations to USAPO $200.00 $22248.03
Newsletter Costs -$519.95 2022 Award Checks -$500.00 2022 National Trophies -$60.00 WPO Dues -$1872.27 Phelen Insurance -$535.00 -$3487.22
Net Bank Balance $18760.81 Don Klehm moved to accept. Walter Fortkamp seconded. Passed.
PA – Bob Miller. Glad people came. Have a good time while visiting. We got a good week. SD – John Gaard. Last weekend was SD State contest at Prairie Hills at Madison steamshow. Next year’s National will be 4mi W and 3mi S of Arlington. ¼ section for plowing. Winter wheat. Could be lighter soil than earlier meets in SD. Rain would be good. National meet sometime in August.. Suggest early as possible for Juniors before school starts. Bring wives.
IA - Mike Fitz. IA State Meet last week.
OH – Mike Rhoades. OH State match on 7/29. 28 contestants. Hot and dry conditions, some hard spots.
IL – Don Klehm. No Report.
CT – Joel Wagner. No report.
MN – Gene Gruber. MN State match last week.
WPO Report – Gene Gruber. No Report.
Floor open to discussion –
Rules will be updated to reflect added new classes.
Mike Rhoades moved to adjourn. Seconded by Don Klehm. Passed
World Ploughing Organization Ploughing Competition in Kuldiga, Latvia October 8-14, 2023
Kevin Albrecht and I were our USA plowpersons for the 2023 WPO World Ploughing in Latvia this year. Gene Gruber was the coach and judge for USA. Hailey Gruber was the WPO representative for USA because Conrad was very busy with harvest this late in the year. It was predicted that October was a wet month for Latvia. Absolutely true! It seemed like it rained every day but 2 days of the 2 weeks we were there. Kevin had arranged to rent some farm ground near the competition sites for prepractice week plowing. We coordinated many aspects of our Latvia trip with our Canadian friends and competitors.
I very nearly was unable to go to Latvia when I learned we needed 6 months of time on our passports following our trip to Latvia. Peg and I made a hastily planned trip to upper VT to try to get a new passport. I did not have high hopes of making it to Latvia for the prepractice week. But amazingly I was able to get a new passport the next day in VT and we made our flight out of Boston. This was scary for me but I did avoid unloading the container which was all done by the time I arrived for prepractice.
The prepractice ground was sandy loam and plowed beautifully, even in the rain. Gene was a good coach to me and tolerated many of my questions on how to plow better. I learned much during prepractice and regular practice about better ins and outs and plowing grass, now my favorite. My tractor and plow worked well with no issues. We tried all the plow shares I brought with me and I didn’t see much difference in the plowing due to the wet conditions. I plowed in a MN National one year with a share missing on my plow and I’m pretty sure I could have plowed here with one missing. Not to Gene’s satisfaction but the soil was so malleable that I’m sure the plow would have gone in. Kevin is truly a master plowperson. He set a good example of how diligent one needs to be at the worlds. I’m glad we were teammates.
One of the days it didn’t rain was the stubble competition day. Both days of my competition when I turned toward my neighbor I had even furrows! I hate that but had to deal with it 2 days in a row. I had a good plot for stubble, loamy but a proud hill in the middle. It was a fun day for me. The grass day was the most challenging due to the torrential rain and wind. Absolutely the most difficult plowing conditions I’ve every encountered. I had another hill and the rain flowed down my furrows and
backed up behind or in front of the JD when going down and uphill. I often stepped off the tractor to adjust while standing in 10” of water. We all had tough conditions but at least my plot had only a little standing water. The winner of the conventional class had about a fourth of his plot under standing water! My ins and outs in grass were very challenging as locating the front point going in sunk in the mud before I could balance with my back bottom.
All in all it was a great experience, most challenging plowing. In stubble I finished where I thought was good for me. I had hoped for a better finish in grass as even in the rain it was more fun and thought I might have had a better plot, but I guess everyone did. I have much more to learn and work on for next time. I didn’t get to see much of Kevins plowing but as you can see from the results below, he did a fantastic job representing the USA.
The National Plowing Organization was started in 1952 by the Soil Conservation Service to promote contour plowing and other soil conserving benefits. There was level land and contour plowing – two and three bottom plows. The organizing was done by the Soil Conservation Service and the County Agents. All the way down to the township level, County, Regional, State and National.
Herb Plambeck WHO Radio announcer from Des Moines was involved at the National level and was credited as the father of the National Plowing Contest. It was the start of sending two plowmen to the World Matches which was level land for two or three bottom.
After a few years the Soil Conservation Service stopped organizing the contests. It was in 1954 that I competed in a State Match. I then did not plow until 1961, and then I qualified for and won my first National in 1964.
The intent of this writing is not to bore you with my plowing but inform you with events that led to what happened in 1968 at the National Match. What happened? What happened is that the National wanted to quit. They brought in Herb Plambeck to do the “Last Rites” of the National Plowing Organization. It was not factual but the fact is the National Board wanted OUT. Their excuse was they could not find a site for the next contest when actually they were afraid of liability if they passed this organization to new hands since they were the incorporators, but did not explain it as such.
I was willing to help so I started to think where and how we could find a site. It so happened that in January I went to a snowmobile race in Paynesville, Minn. That was put on by the Paynesville J.C.s. I saw my friend Jim Clowes a few days later. Jim was a member of the Paynesville J.C.s, I said to Jim that they had done a good job at the races and would they be interested putting on a Plowing Contest? Jim being an entrepreneur and enthusiastic promoter contacted his club and a few weeks later he and the J.C. president came to see me and said they could put on a State Match. I said not good enough we need to have a National Match. A few weeks later they came
again and said they could do a National Match. I was elated and still not knowing the real reason the national board could not find a site. I called our Minnesota National Board Member that we now had a site for the contest.
A few weeks later I was informed that the National Board decided that it was too late in the year to organize a National Match. Disappointed but still not willing to give up I contacted Jim and the J.C.s. They were willing to go ahead if we could come up with a plan.
At the time I was Minnesota Plowing Association President. I called a meeting with two other board members Rich Derner, St. Peter; and Harold Searles, Rochester. In middle March we had a meeting at the Hill Top Café in Paynesville to see what we could come up with. We did not have the authority to put on a National Plowing Organization Contest. We proposed a National Invitational Plowing Match. With a $500.00 1st place for small plow and $500.00 1st place for large plow and nothing else with the hope to save the national organization. If the organization had failed it would have taken a new organization 2 years to be able to compete in the Worlds.
We presented our plan to the Paynesville J.C.s and they accepted and we had a contest that fall in September. What we did then was to invite all the National Plowmen from all the states that we knew, invited the old Board of Directors who all came. One board member’s health was not well so to make him more comfortable I invited him and his wife to stay at our house.
The night before the match the J.C.s arranged for a big meeting room and there was an attorney present who explained corporate law, questions were answered, and before the night was over the old board resigned, sanctioned a new board, had a plow match for the next day and like they say the rest is history.
I put this together by the best of my memory, it was 47 years ago my thought is that I should put as much information as is possible since my age is 86. The only living people that I know that were involved would be myself, Jim Clowes, Missouri; and Richard Derner, St. Peter Minnesota.
Written by Bernard Nietfeld July 22 2015.
Joel’s Epilogue –
I had the wonderful opportunity to be a visitor in Bernie’s home recently. He has many plowing trophies and many scrap books with plowing history in the US. This report has the perspective of the beginnings of the USAPO but is missing the interactions and friendship with Werner Gruber. I get the impression they were plowing buddies and egged each other on to become the accomplished plowing competitors of which they are known. My visit with Bernie was very special, he is a wealth of plowing information.
Joel Wagner, Sec-Treasurer
860 721 8209 home
860 882 9731 cell
See that I’m sending a membership form below for you all to use. If you see a red dot on your address, you are behind in your dues.
Make Check Payable to USAPO Dues $30.00 for year(s)________ Name__________________________________________________ Street Address________________________________________________ City______________________________State_________________Zip___________ Home Phone_________________Cell Phone__________________ Email _______________________________________________________________ Discontinue membership (sign)__________________________________________
Small Plow - Day 1
Gene Gruber-MN 1
Joel Loehr-MN 2
John Gaard_SD 3
Small Plow - Day 2
Gene Gruber-MN 1
John Gaard_SD 2
Mike Rhoads-OH 3
Reversible Plow -
Kevin Albrecht-SD 1
National Junior Plowing
Paytyn Hiestand-OH 1
Colton Hiestand -OH 2
Open Plow -
TJ Hiestand-OH 1
Jeff Slyder-OH 2
Jacob Loehr-MN 3
Antique Plow -
David Gaard - SD 1
Andrew Kuck - OH 2
Jay Wickard - PA 3
Vintage Small Plow
John Gaard-SD 1
Joe Loehr-MN 2
Bob Miller-A 3