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He said, he said

01/19/2011 @ 11:19am

As two men sit quietly in a county courtroom, each is convinced he’s proven his case. The two men, who also happen to be farmers, had verbally agreed to do business together. One brought an invention to the table and the other had the ability to manufacture and distribute the product. When one party decided to end the agreement, each man attempted to protect his investment. A lawsuit follows, and now they find themselves in the courtroom.

In a society where legal battles seem commonplace, what sets this scenario apart is that this example cuts to the core of a long-standing belief: A man’s word is his bond. But when it’s simply that – just words – memories cloud when things don’t work out.

When the court system has to render a verdict based on one man’s word over another, the call on one side or the other can prove easy to some and difficult to others.

Getting Into The Specifics

Inventiveness in farming has a long, rich history. Whether it’s big or small, ideas are born of necessity on the farm. While many farmers may not consider themselves inventors, it’s not unusual to see a gadget or two on any given farm that someone has devised to make life a little easier.

“Through years of farming, you realize what you would like to see in a machine, so you try to create what you need to fill a need,” says Doug Gengenbach.

In 1998, a bad windstorm blew corn down on Gengenbach’s farm in Eustis, Nebraska. “The damage was so bad, I could look across the field and see fence posts that were about a half a mile away,” he recalls. “When we tried to harvest the downed corn, we could only go about 100 feet, and we’d have a pileup on the head. The corn just wouldn’t go through the picker head.”

After many frustrating days of repeatedly trying to clear the head, Gengenbach developed the DG Paddle Reel. The implement is designed to attach to the corn head of a combine to make it easier for farmers to harvest downed corn. Rotating metal paddles are attached to the axle of the implement, and the paddles help feed the cornstalks into the combine.

In 1999, Gengenbach found a manufacturer to make the reel. The following year he applied for a patent and defined his device as a “sweeper apparatus for a corn head attachment.”

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