Grinnell Ag Day rolls out the agriculture red carpet


J.O. Parker

            There were red, green, orange and various other color tractors on display at the 2023 Grinnell Lions Club Ag Day held Thursday, Aug. 31 in and around Central Park.

            Folks, both young and old along with many families, enjoyed milling around the park checking out the tractors and talking to the owners, visiting with one of the many exhibitors, enjoying food from Grinnell’s Dairy Barn or taking a ride on a hayrack and more.

            “We had a great turnout today,” said Al Henderson with the Grinnell Lions Club. “We had a great group of exhibitors. We feel good about people who support the Lions (and local businesses).”

            This year 45 tractors were on display and most took part in the tractor parade at the end of the day. 

            The annual event has been under the direction of the Grinnell Lions Club since 2013.

             Ashley Wolfe, Grinnell High School Agricultural Education instructor and FFA advisor, was this year’s guest speaker. She shared about how she met her husband, Matt, and landed in Iowa. She also spoke passionately about the role that agricultural education plays in young people’s lives.

            “When we came to Grinnell, we decided to reevaluate our lives after five years,” said Wolfe. “Seventeen years later, a house, two boys and a bunch a pigs, we still haven’t evaluated our lives.”

            Among the vendors with displays included Rocaza drones, Theisen’s handing out free popcorn, Cub Scouts, Grinnell Historical Society, Read to Lead, Bayer Crop Science, Iowa Corn, Lowery Motor Sports, Van Wall John Deere, J.J. Nichting Case IH Equipment Company, Grinnell Firestone, Sunset Hills Bison Ranch, Poweshiek County Extension and 4-H, Community 1st Credit Union, Lions Eye Bank, Home Health Covid shots, UnityPoint Health Diabetes, and new vehicles from Wes Finch and Steve Link Ford dealerships.

            Route 66 provided the tunes and the event emcee was Bill Menner.          

The Grinnell FFA hosted a petting zoo while the HLV/BGM FFA offered a kidde tractor obstacle course and the Montezuma FFA hosted a scavenger hunt.

The John Mann family of Malcom was recognized with the Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award. VanWall Equipment in Grinnell was recognized with the Agri-business honor.

The featured tractor was a 1972 John Deere 4020 owned by Darryl Hull of Grinnell.

“Perfect weather,” said Mike and Jill Allen of Grinnell. “What a nice and well-deserved honor for the Mann family.”

“I was just impressed with Ashely Wolfe’s presentation,” Jill went on to say. “We are blessed to have her here in Grinnell.”

This year was the first Ag Day event and tractor parade for Ellie Little of Des Moines, who was in attendance with family and friends.

“It was a fantastic day,” said Little. “I learned a lot. The community is great.”

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better weather day,” said Jenny Bos of Montezuma, who sells Farm Bureau insurance in Grinnell and is a member of the Grinnell Lions Club. “I thought the keynote speaker did a great job. Always a great turnout.”

Bill Hammen with the Grinnell Historical Society said he always tries to have a farm-related item on display at Ag Day. This year it was a 1922 Model TT truck owned by Kenny Knox. Hammen said he learned to drive a Model T with that truck.

“That truck was used to carry whatever was needed at the farm,” said Hammen. “It could haul one ton of grain.”

“It’s a fantastic time to bring agriculture to the City of Grinnell,” said Katherine Boelen, who was representing Bear Creek Dairy in Brooklyn and Farm Bureau. “There was a very diverse group of vendors.”

“The Grinnell Lions have done this for many years,” added Debbie Iverson of rural Malcom, who was at the event with her husband, Roger. “We think it is a nice event and we always make an effort to be here.”

The popular Larry VanErsvelde Tractor Parade closed out the day’s activities. Hull and his 1972 John Deere 4020 headlined the parade.