Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 12.12.2013

December 12, 2013

Today: Rodolfo, Exchange Student Presentation (O’Neill)

Birthdays: Jim Holden (12/6) and Dean Johnson (12/14).

Next Week: Christopher Sawyer, President of College City Beverage (Taylor)

 Last Week:

I wonder how Grant Wood, creator of the iconic “American Gothic,” would have captured on canvas the look and spirit of today’s farm couple. Instead of a pitchfork, Mark Hewitt might be holding a GPS device, and Sara, his wife, might be wrestling with the steering wheel of a grain truck instead of standing demurely at Mark’s side.

Sara and Mark provided a window to the life of a contemporary farm couple last week. They farm 3,000 acres of land in Le Sueur County and raise chickens as well. Both have post-secondary educations — Mark from South Central Technical College, Sara from Minnesota State University, Mankato — and both have full-time jobs off the farm — Mark runs Hewitt Drainage Equipment; Sara works at a school in Mankato.

Their lives are busy. They put in long days, especially in the spring and fall, but they are fueled by their passion for the land and the opportunity to farm.

Today’s farmers wear many hats, Sara explained. They are mechanics, electricians, agronomists, meteorologists, scientists, politicians, media relations people, and, oh yes, they work the land.

Technology continues to transform the profession. A combine’s dashboards resemble the control panels of the space shuttle. They provide real time information for field mapping, auto-steer and field records.

Today’s farmer feeds 154 people, Sara said, and 97 percent of farms are considered family farms.  They are becoming more efficient and more environmentally-friendly all of the time. She believes the industry is well-positioned to meet the challenge of the world’s growing population.

Sara and Mark are committed to being good stewards of the land. They want to leave it better than when they found it as they look ahead to handing it off to another generation.

Last Week’s Guests: Our exchange students, Yoshino, Gunho, Rodolfo and Lucas; Rebecca Peterson, Rich Cahoon and Kristine Harner (Estenson).

Scholarship Enhancement: Neil Lutsky


Rob Bierman, chair of the Turkey Trot Committee, pronounced this year’s event “the best year ever.” More than 1,000 people participated, a modern-era record, and we’re guessing we made money.


President Prichard reported that $4,250 has been raised for aid to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. The funds will be split between two Rotary clubs in the Philippines.

You are all invited to the Youth Exchange Adventure and Reflection (YEAR) party Friday, Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. at the Northfield High School Auditorium. There will be food, fun and inspiring stories of empowerment and transformation from exchange students as they reflect on their year away.

Rotarians! Start your engines. Rotary is responsible for Meals-On-Wheels delivery January 5-18. Lynn Pederson will be e-mailing us with the schedule. We hope this method of recruitment is a process improvement.

Coming Up:

Dec. 26 – No meeting

Dec. 27 – Youth Exchange Adventure and Reflections (YEAR), 6:30 p.m. Northfield High School Auditorium.

Jan. 2 — No Meeting

Jan. 9 — Meeting