Seymour High School receives $300,000 tractor


Seymour High School will be the first and only high school in the nation to receive a brand-new CaseIH Magnum 220 tractor to teach agriculture and FFA students how to operate heavy farm machinery.

With options including a luxury performance cab, Accu guide auto steering, 360-degree LED lighting and a Pro 700 Monitor with touchscreen controls, the state-of-the-art technology is the Rolls-Royce of tractors.

The equipment is valued at nearly $300,000, but the school corporation will pay just $1 thanks to an educational opportunity offered by the tractor’s manufacturer and local CaseIH distributor, Jacobi Sales Inc. in Seymour.

Jay Rieckers, a 1992 Seymour graduate and employee of Jacobi Sales Inc., attended a school board meeting Feb. 13 to provide details to trustees about the “donation.”

“At Jacobi Sales, we are dedicated to supporting the future of the agricultural industry and supporting the youth that are going to make that a reality,” Rieckers said.

Jacobi Sales also provides equipment for research farms at Purdue University and the University of Kentucky, but Seymour will be the first high school to get involved in the program, he said.

Rieckers reached out to Seymour ag teacher and FFA adviser Jeanna Eppley to see if the school would be interested in having a tractor and coordinated the deal with Mark Baumer from CaseIH.

The tractor will be a much welcomed and used asset at the school’s new ag science and research facility in Freeman Field, Eppley said. The corporation is in the process of finishing the interior of the facility, and classes will be conducted there in the fall. Some activities could take place there as early as this spring.

“This opportunity with Jacobi Sales Inc. means we will be able to expose students to the new technology and mechanical systems used in production agriculture,” she said.

Rieckers said the school’s decision to build an ag science and research facility showed a commitment to education and the agricultural industry, and the facility itself would be a great place to showcase new implement technology.

“I truly believe this will be a rewarding experience for the students and a great investment in the future of farming,” Rieckers said.

After 150 hours of use or when the tractor is sold, the school will be able to order a new one for as long as CaseIH continues to offer the program.

Learning to operate and work on a state-of-the-art tractor is another way to get students excited about entering career areas to support agriculture, Eppley said.

“We need diesel mechanics and people trained to work on and operate the computers and devices in these advanced farming systems, and we need the scientists to help agriculture support the growing population with food, fiber and fuel,” she said. “This high-tech implement will allow us to increase the interest of the students.”

This spring, Eppley said she plans to have students out on the school farm to observe the technology.

“The tractor will be equipped with the latest technology, including computer-integrated engines and transmissions with full auto guidance, Rieckers said.

The Seymour ag department also will use the tractor to prepare fields, plant crops and potentially host demonstrations for others to see the tractor in use.

“As we work on this program, we hope to find new ways to utilize the equipment to help students learn and grow interest out in the field,” Eppley said. “We would like to thank Jay Rieckers, Jacobi Sales, Mark Baumer and CaseIH for bringing this opportunity to our department. This partnership will benefit the school, the community and the agriculture industry well through the future.”

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