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Farm Information: Farm Shop

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In 2002, we decided that it was time to build a new farm shop and office as the demands of equipment upkeep and office work surpassed the abilities of our cramped Quonset and small farm office. After much research we decided to have a 60' x 128' Cleary pole-framed building put up. In October 2002 we began clearing off an area on the farm suitable for the buildings location and then the building was constructed by a Cleary crew in January and February of 2003. In November 2003, we did all of the work necessary to bring in water, electricity and sewer and then Zodrow Construction did the necessary concrete work on the west half of the building that would become our shop and farm office while the east of the building would remain with a dirt floor for cold storage of equipment. After the concrete was done, we began finishing the inside of the shop area. In January of 2004 we wrapped up the majority of the finish work in the building (excluding the divider wall the separated the two halves of the building which was later built in December of 2004).

The inside walls of the building were framed in, insulated with 8" of R-24 insulation and then covered with ribbed, white steel sheeting. The ceiling was framed, insulated with encapsulated R-30 insulation and then covered with ribbed steel sheeting. A total of twenty 8-foot high-output fluorescent lights were then mounted on the ceiling on three different circuits. Two 100,000 BTU Modine overhead furnaces were installed to heat the building and a 24' Raynor automatic roll-up door was installed that would be the main machinery entrance to the building.

A 12' by 30' area on the inside of the finished area was designated for a bathroom and farm office and work began on that in January of 2004. Above this space a loft was built for storage, however this area will be finished into another office area during 2007 as our office work demands continue to increase. Work benches, storage racks and other amenities were added in 2004 and continue to be added as new needs arise.

Although new farm buildings are hard to "pencil-out" economically, I don't believe any one of us could even fathom not having this building today. Working on machinery is so much nicer inside where one is protected from the elements and I would argue that we do a far better and more efficient job with our machinery maintenance now. The office was a huge improvement and allows all of us to be in one location throughout the winter months and has tremendously improved our efficiency for completing the plethora of office-related tasks that we incur as an expanding and modern farm business.

Below is a pictorial history of the building with annotation.

Some of the buildings removed for construction. On the left was a house built in 1902 that was used as a chicken house most of my lifetime. The tin sided building was a wood house that was moved to a different location on the farm. The house on the right in the background is still standing (and functions as a home) today. (Oct. 2002)

On the right is the back side of the chicken house. The building on the left was a garage while the building in the middle was a granary. The garner was moved to a different location on the farm while the garage and chicken house were destroyed. (Oct. 2002)

After the garage and chicken house were destroyed and the garner and wood house moved, the area was leveled and packed and part of the windbreak was removed to make room for the new building. In this picture, one can see some of the building materials already being laid out for construction. (Dec. 2002)

This picture shows the initial setting of the poles for the building. Each pole is comprised of 3 treated 2x8" boards sandwiched together. Of note was the fact that on the back side of the building the crew struck oil when digging one of the post holes. Well, actually they hit an oil line from a nearby oil well. (Jan. 2003)

Here the Cleary crew is installing the trusses with the help of a crane that came out from Doak construction in McCook, Nebraska. (Jan. 2003)

Here is the final building after all of the framing has been completed. (Jan. 2003)

Here is the final building after the sides have been covered, but the roof is still open. (Feb. 2003)

This picture shows the inside of the building during construction. Notice that only half of the roof has been covered at this time. (Feb. 2003)

Here we are laying in the electrical, water and sewer lines using our R40 Ditchwich and Lester's skid loader. (Nov. 2003)

Another picture showing the vast amount of trenching that was done to tie everything together. One thing about a farm that has been around for a long time is that it's hard to make a cut anywhere without cutting other lines that then need to be repaired. In the background is our other Ditchwich trencher which also has a back-hoe (which beats the heck out of digging by hand). (Nov. 2003)

One final trenching picture that shows us laying the electrical line from the meter pole to the building. We installed 300 amp service to the building which runs through a Ronk box that allows us to power the building with a generator when needed. (Nov. 2003)

Here is an inside picture of the building after we have finished the walls, ceiling, lights and heat. In this picture Lester Yoos is working on framing the bathroom/office addition. (Feb. 2004)

Here is Jordan Niermeier doing painting the area above the Raynor door. We did all of the high-up finish work in the building standing on an old modified hay rack attached to a 1964 JD 4010 tractor. Being propane powered and small framed, this tractor really worked well for doing this type of work. The ceiling sheets were each 3' x 15' and required three men on the hay rack and one running the tractor. Insulating and covering the ceiling was by far the worst component of finishing the inside of the building. (Feb. 2004)

Here is the crew that finished the inside of the building. From left to right: Jordan Niermeier, Lester Yoos, Dietrich Kastens and Gary Kastens. (Feb. 2004)

Looking towards the bathroom/office addition, the south Modine furnace can be seen in the background. (Feb. 2004)

Another picture of the south side of the building. (Feb. 2004)

This picture shows the west side of the building and the Raynor door. Also the second Modine furnace can be seen on the right side of the picture. (Feb. 2004)

This picture was taken of the ceiling looking towards the east. The change in the roof line was due to a last minute change in our plans. Initially, we were only going to make the finished part of the shop run 40' so we had the pitched style trusses installed to accommodate the Raynor door track and motor to ensure that we could get our door tall enough to bring combines into the shop. We added another 24' to the length of the shop, which resulted in a total finished area of 60' by 64' (including the 12' by 20' office area). (Feb. 2004)

This was taken from the office loft. In the background one can see the divider wall that was built in November of 2004 that separates the finished area from the rest of the building. We put a set of 15' x 24' sliding doors in this wall so that we can drive semi's straight through the building if needed and/or can move machinery back and forth between the two parts of the building. (Dec. 2004)

Here is a picture of a tore-down corn head being rebuilt in the shop. We can unfold and rebuild our 16-row planter in the shop or we can accommodate two combines and our sprayer inside if needed (although that starts to get a little tight). (Oct. 2005)

Finished bathroom with hot water heater, deep sink and storage areas.

Here is the final shop as it appears December 2006. Snow breaks were added on the roofs to keep snow from cleaning out our exhaust stacks from the furnaces and the full building was guttered by A-1 out of McCook, Nebraska. (Dec. 2006)

In 2007, Terry Kastens decide to move back to the farm and consequently we needed to find him some office space. We opted to replace our parts loft above the office with another office space.

Parts loft above existing office and bathroom

Here is what it looked like after we were done in April 2007.

First, we had to frame in the space which proved to be a little challenge with the pitched roof line

Everything was studded in with 2x6's and three new windows were put in (two looking into the shop and one looking to the west) along with a rear door.

A whole was cut in the ceiling of the existing office and a staircase built to tie the two offices together.

Here is what the final product looks like

New electric lines were run, the office was insulated and then we drywalled everything. Here is Lester Yoos in "carpenter mode" working on the drywall.

Here it is all finished and carpeted. This is looking east at the staircase railing.

Here it is looking west from the staircase railing.

Our shop/office has really been a nice addition to the farm. We all live in this building for about 4 months every year and it's nice to have the office attached to the shop as folks can go back and forth easily as well as facilitates efficiency in that office guys can go out to the shop to help with a task or vice versa. Our only problem with the whole project is that it is already too small for our needs! But then that's how it always goes.


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