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Otis Warren, center, Milford farmer, gathers with other fellows in 1964 for a group photo of the first Story County Fair Board of 1939. They were the Board that developed and built the first buildings on the grounds in SW Nevada and made it the permanent location. The others in the photo, from left, are TC Henryson of Story City; Victor Riley of Ames; Otis; Dick Jay of Ames, who was the first president; and Sam Oakes, Zearing. In the background is one of the three or four beautiful barns located on the site at the southwest corner of Nevada. See page 240.

high. Some of the later varieties really took off when the rains finally came in early August, yielding 30-35 bushels per acre. However, this was not very typical.

In order to help the community through this difficult season, the government came out with some low-interest loan programs that many farmers participated in. Many later regretted taking this low-interest loan when prices remained low well into the 1980's, when the loans went into repayment. The 1980's, particularly the early and mid `80's, were a story onto themselves with the very low commodity prices and the extremely high interest rates (18-22%) being the norm. This was a time of extreme economic hardship for many that rivaled, although fell short in the big picture, those of the thirties.

On the other end of the spectrum, in the crop year of 1993, there was way too much rain. And crop yields were disappointingly low. A field of corn might look quite good, but the common and consistent yield for the season in our area was about 90-93 bpa. Many blamed this on the root system that had not fully developed because it didn't have to develop to get adequate moisture for the plant. This limited root system then could not obtain the necessary nutrients from the soil. Others thought the soil was compacted by the rains and therefore oxygen could not circulate through the soil to chemically react to make the nutrients available.

The variances in yields caused by these weather extremes show in the yield records of those two years when compared to the yields of the preceding and following years.

Hack Horness and friends load a wagon with bundles using the team approach where two fellows throw the entire shock onto the hay rack at once. Note the “sheet” on the horse's back to help ward off the bugs and the chaff. A common scene before the Korean War. The last time anyone thrashed in Milford Twp, most likely in 1955, was when Si Thompson, just for the novelty of it, got a crew together and harvested a field of oats. Wilbert Hadley '56 had some “Sunday afternoon good-times” events for the neighbors to stand, watch, and reminisce. See Horness family story on page 285.

For example- corn: 1976= 178.37 bpa 1977= 117.26 bpa from a farmer near Collins 1978= 170.67 bpa 1992= 230.09 1993= 144.20 1994= 221.98 The yield variances in beans were not as dramatic.

Each year for the fair, the 4-H clubs of the County would be assigned a task to help open or close the fair site. One year our Milford Club, The Milford Hustlers, was asked to remove the reinforced tar paper that was nailed with lathe over the vents that ran the length of the barn at the very top. I can't recall how we got to the crest of the barn but when we were just about done with the task, we encountered a large group of hornets that had a nest under the tar paper. Most of the guys “abandoned ship” at the first flutter of the hornets but I and another fellow just stayed up there and swatted the things with a lathe. It was great fun. Neither of us were stung. However, the other guys thought we were showing off (and perhaps we were) and so they took the ladder away- because it was needed “right now” at another location. So after a while we decided it was time to get down and we tried to ease ourselves down over the crest of the curved roof on our feet, seat and heels of our hands. Let me tell you, it wasn't very long until one was in an uncontrolled slide and within a few feet the friction caused a burning sensation which was a burn. When the edge of the roof came by, we just bailed off to the ground. We both ended up with burns on the hands and rump. They weren't too bad and healed in a couple days.

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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