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Inventors' showcase

Agriculture.com Staff 12/08/2008 @ 2:38pm

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.

For some, the flash of genius that helped resolve a problem or even saved them money never leaves their farm. Their satisfaction comes in knowing they created a solution.

However, there are those who decide to take their invention to the next level. Would-be inventors face many obstacles when making an invention become a money-making venture.

According to Patrick Raymond, United Inventors Association executive director, prospective inventors should ask themselves one thing before they delve into the world of inventing.

"One of the first questions inventors should ask themselves is, 'Am I ready?' The invention process will take them out of their comfort zone. They need to know about things like market research, patenting, prototyping, and manufacturing," he says.

An inventor himself, Raymond says inventors are embarking on an inherently speculative dig. "It's difficult to quantify the percent of inventions that have been successful, but I'd say it's in the single digits."

Whatever the potential obstacles, it hasn't discouraged the inventors on the following pages who firmly believe in their ideas.

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.

If you could potentially save $2,000 in repairs, would you be able to come up with a solution? After several broken scalpers on a sugar beet defoliator, that's the challenge Ty Erickson, Bird Island, Minnesota, was faced with.

As the creator of the propane-powered paintball gun, Dennis Tippmann, Fort Wayne, Indiana, knew he had developed a technology that could have a variety of applications.

Dairy and crop farmer Joe Cardoza, Tulare, California, is no stranger to trailering. But as electrical controls on ag implements became increasingly more complex, he knew the need for a more reliable, easier-to-use electrical connection between the cab and the implement would become a priority.

Solving the logistical problems of the grain farmer was Jimmy Walker's motivation. For years, he watched as long lines and lost time hampered growers.

The tractor just got a new implement -- of sorts. Herbert Post, Fort Recovery, Ohio, has invented a PTO-Powered Pressure Washer, which mounts on any tractor equipped with a Category I three-point hitch.

With Jim Burton's AutoProbe, he's hoping the tedious, backbreaking chore of collecting soil samples will be a distant memory.

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