Metal Buildings: The Real McCoys for Farming
There is a resilience at the core of the American character that is best exemplified by the spirit of the American farmer. Farmers have always been the backbone of America. Not only do they produce the very food that sustains us and many of the products we depend on, they do it all against sometimes overwhelming odds. The American farmer is a strong, noble breed, epitomizing the best of this country.
Farm yields are higher in spite of the dwindling number of farmers.
Modern farming techniques and equipment have allowed today’s farmers to produce more crops on less land with far fewer labor-hours. In 1850, for example it required 75-90 man-hours and about 2-1/2 acres to produce 100 bushels of corn. By 1945 farmers could raise 100 bushels of corn in 10-14 man-hours on 2 acres of land. By 1987, it took only 2-3/4 man-hours to produce 100 bushels of corn and only 1-1/8 acre of land.
With the improved farming productivity, one farmer is now able to produce more food per person than ever before. In 1960, one farmer supplied food for 25.8 people. By 1990, one farmer supplied food for 100 people.
Consumers spend $547 billion each year on food provided by American ranchers and farmers.
The information age has changed farming, as it has all other parts of life. Many farm operations today utilize satellite data to track and refine crop techniques and get the highest crop yields possible.
And just how much has the number of farmers in this country shrunk? In 1790, farmers made up 90% of America’s laborers, when the total population of the country was less than four million people. Two hundred years later in 1990, farmers were only 2.6% of the labor force. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), today only 1 % of the 285 million people in the U.S. are farmers.
For centuries, farming changed very little.
In fact, the early settlers in America farmed pretty much the same way they had in ancient Roman times. Sowing, weeding, and harvesting was all done by hand. Grain had to be cut with a sickle. Plows were often a stick with a wooden or metal point attached with rawhide, fashioned by the local blacksmith. They worked, after a fashion, if the horse or ox was strong and the ground soft. However, three men and several horses or oxen were needed to cut a furrow in hard ground.
Real progress in farming implements didn’t come until early 1800s with the invention of cast iron plows. Then came a real improvement in plows: steel. In 1834 John Lane patented a plow that was brittle at the surface, but backed by softer metal that was much less brittle, greatly reducing breakage. That same year James Oliver patented a “chilled” plow where the front of the cast iron was cooled quicker than the back, creating a hard, glassy surface with a body of very tough iron. The first plows able to cut through the tough American prairie ground, these new inventions were called “grasshopper” plows. In the 1840s farmers began cultivating with two or more plows fastened together that worked in tandem, yet could still be handled by one person. A sulky plow that allowed the farmer to ride rather than walk behind the plow came out in this same time period.
In 1837, an Illinois blacksmith named John Deere developed and marketed the first self-polishing cast steel plow. By 1855 John Deer’s factory was selling 10,000 steel plows a year.
Although steam engine tractors were used experimentally as early as 1868, tractors didn’t become commonplace on American farms until the mid-1940s. (Believe it or not, by 1940 only 58% of farms even had electricity.) Suddenly a farmer had the ability to work as many as 50 acres in one day.
Mechanization, improvements in equipment and crop varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, have all allowed today’s farmers to greatly improve effectiveness and productivity. In 1890, one farm worker could handle on average of 27.5 acres of crops. One hundred years later, the one farmer worked about 740 acres.
Well-equipped larger farm operations are certainly taking the lead in today’s market. Only 2.3% of American farms supply 50% of all farming products. But smaller to mid-sized farming operations are thinking outside the box, finding profitable niche markets like organic produce, out-of-season fruits grown in greenhouse for local markets, designer feeds, mushrooms, and other specialty items to stay competitive and profitable.
Bigger farms and larger output is made possible by using bigger and better equipment and farming techniques.
Massive and expensive tractors, trailers, trucks, and specialty farming implements are what keeps today’s modern farming operation running at peak performance. Yet prudence dictates the utmost care be taken of this often mammoth operational equipment and its tools. That’s no easy task with large and cumbersome vehicles and other equipment. (See this video of a wheat harvest.)
Pre-engineered buildings are the answer to many of agribusiness building problems.
Bigger and better farm buildings are required for contemporary farming operations.
While building barns of wood may have made sense 100 years ago when virgin forests were plentiful and farm “equipment” meant a horse and a plow, modern farmers need up-to-date- and bigger- structures to house and protect all the massive tools of their livelihood. Though often expensive, this modern equipment is often essential to keeping the larger farms productive.
Metal buildings can be designed with large clearspan interiors, so maneuvering tractors, combines, corn pickers, excavating equipment, grain trucks, mowers, harvesters, and the like doesn’t involve dodging support columns in the center of the building. Prefab steel buildings can provide higher ridge heights and much wider overhead doors, so entering and exiting the building is a snap.
Preserving the durability of all that equipment is of paramount importance, so steel buildings are also a sound investment.
Farmers were some of the first customers for metal buildings.
Prefabricated metal agricultural buildings provide many benefits to the modern farm operation. Steel buildings are strong, durable and long-lasting, with an expected lifespan of 50 years or more.
Steel is always predictable and consistent. It is inorganic and manufactured to exact tolerances to insure unfailing quality, unvarying characteristics and shape, and sure performance. Every steel component at a particular gauge will support a given weight in exactly the same way— every time. Wood is organic, and therefore by definition inconsistent. Its characteristics fluctuate, contingent on many contributing factors, such as tree species, location grown, size and age of the tree when cut, and constantly shifting moisture content. There is no technical method able to absolutely calculate the strength and support properties of lumber.
The predictability of manufactured steel allows wider and taller structures (150′- 200′ in width, 40′ or more in height) without interior supports, so steering and storing equipment within the building is never a problem. The strength of steel means fewer building pieces are required, reducing construction time.
Texas-based Rhino Steel Building Systems, Inc., just delivered the steel framing for a custom manufacturing building- 225′ wide by 500′ long and 42′ tall- to Mexico. Thirty trucks were needed just for the steel and other materials, including over 400 skylights.
Standard overhead doors are available to 36′ wide. Hydraulic doors and bi-fold style overhead doors may be purchased up to 60′ wide, to accommodate large-scale farm machinery and equipment.
Farmers today watch their bottom line so, reasonably priced metal building kits are a practical solution for agribusinesses.
Steel farm buildings are designed to meet the specifications for the individual farm operation and all the building code requirements of that exact location.
Any building you need can be built with steel. Need a place for crop or hay storage? A safe place for your tractors, trucks, trailers, cultivators, backhoes, combines, tillers, hay bailers, harvesters, and other implements? A machine shop to keep all your equipment running at top efficacy? A stable? A livestock or dairy barn? A hanger for your plane or crop-dusting operation? Office space?
There are even more reasons to choose metal buildings.
Steel is noncombustible and cannot not add fuel to a fire. It is resistant to damage from earthquakes, high winds, mold, termites, fire, lightning, and even aging.
Metal buildings are “green” way to build, because steel is recycled countless times and still does not lose any of its strength or durability. All steel contains on average 68% recycled material.
Metal buildings are very energy efficient. Insulation options can be discussed at the time of order. Some companies offer upgrade insulation packages for maximum comfort (and minimum energy bills) in any climate controlled areas.
Today’s modern farming operation is more business-oriented than at any time in history. Everything is done to improve efficiency and productivity to maximize profit. Agribusiness buildings need the strength, flexibility, and features built into every pre-fabricated metal building.
Built fast, built to last, a building as solid as steel; consider ordering prefab building kit for your next project.