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Today's Top Shops: Bigger is better

  • Bigger is better

    While shooting “Top Shops” for the Successful Farming Machinery Show (on RFD-TV), we asked shop owners, “What would you have done differently with your shop?” The most common response is, “Build a bigger building in the first place.”

    Farmer innovators featured here created an expansion or addition to an existing shop, or else they refurbished former buildings (often livestock structures) to serve a new role as the shop headquarters.

  • Raise the Roof

    After leaving the hog-raising business, Alan Adams sat looking at an empty 60×208-foot breeding and gestation barn. When son Andrew joined the operation, equipment quickly outgrew a small Quonset-shed shop that was 12 feet at its peak. Employing commonsense engineering, they devised a plan to literally cut the building’s wooden frame (sidewalls and roof) crossways into four sections.

  • Raise the Roof

    The Adamses hired two high-lift cranes to literally raise the roof on the building. “We had to talk the crane company into taking on the job,” Adams recalls. “They had never done anything like this.”

    They positioned the cranes on either side of the building (on a day with no wind, of course), attached the mast cables to two 55-foot-long I-beams positioned to support the building’s trusses, and started lifting.

  • Raise the Roof

    Once each section of the building was airborne, the Adamses, supported by a construction crew, tipped the prefabricated walls up into place and secured them to the concrete foundation wall. The building was gently lowered onto the new sidewalls, and the cables were removed. 

    Read the whole story of the Adams' project. 

  • Raise the Roof

    As a finishing touch, the Adamses added a 24-foot-wide overhead door on the side of the shop and a massive 44-foot-wide hydraulically swinging door at the end of the structure. 

    The cost of the entire project was just $72,300 in cash, which added nearly 12,500 square feet of shop and machinery storage area, as well as a 16×16-foot office. 

  • Remodel room

    With about a $23,000 investment, Neil Lensing created a much-needed shop and woodworking room from a former 25×50-foot farrowing house-turned-dairy calf shed. Lensing scared away the spiders, gutted the old structure, and attached a 16-foot-wide by 22-foot-long structure to the side of the calf barn. See how the twin shops were remodeled.

    Read the whole story.

  • Grain storage redo

    When farmstead restrictions prevented Feld from adding on to either end of an old grain storage building, Conan Feld opted to attach a 50-foot-long by 60-foot-wide structure at a right angle to the 60X60-foot existing shop. By making this frugal and worthwhile decision, Feld was rewarded with a combination combination machine storage, shop, and office complex.

  • Dad's shop expanded

    “It was heated, had a concrete floor and a workbench. That was heaven for us coming from using a dirt-floor shed,” Dale Hesse says about the 32X32-foot shop he and his brother, Tony, inherited from their father. By 2000, the shop wasn’t large enough to fit half of their dairy equipment. The Hesses’ added a new 65x45-foot structure and an 8×8-foot overhead door between the two buildings for easy transfer. 

  • Multiple additions

    An office addition marries an old machinery storage shed to a massive new shop structure, creating a much-needed farm headquarters. By adding a 60x18-foot structure to the side of the old shop, Jay Hammond created an office and combination kitchen-break room-storage area. The 24-foot-wide overhead door (in picture) is positioned opposite a 14-foot-wide door, allowing trucks to be driven through the building for regular maintenance.

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