Animals need grain, and grain needs a place to be stored. At Ohio State ATI’s Grace Drake Learning Laboratory (GDLL), the need became especially pressing when one of its two grain bins developed structural problems. Located downhill from one of Ohio State ATI’s pastures, the ground-level concrete foundation of the bin would be overrun with water during heavy rain, which eventually damaged both the bin and the foundation. Josh Pirogowicz, an Ohio State ATI alumnus and salesman for K&S Millwrights of Beloit, Ohio, proposed a solution that enabled Ohio State ATI to install a larger grain bin and make use of the old foundation, thus saving the expense of removing old concrete.
Even with the cost-savings, however, the project exceeded the amount budgeted. Pirogowicz approached K&S owner Gary Irwin about Ohio State ATI’s predicament. Irwin agreed to donate the bin itself, which constituted about half of the project cost, which included a new grain auger and renovations to the remaining grain bin to bring it up to current safety and electrical codes.
The new 33-foot bin holds 17,000 bushels of corn, enough to meet the feed needs for all Ohio State ATI’s livestock. Prior to the donation, Ohio State ATI was shipping wet corn and paying for drying and storage at area elevators. Then corn would be hauled back to ATI as needed for feed. With the new and renovated grain bins and access to the OARDC feed mill, Ohio State ATI saves the cost of drying, storage, and hauling.
The agronomy and livestock programs at Ohio State ATI are among the largest programs at the institute, and the Grace Drake Learning Laboratory is an integral part of those programs. “The Grace Drake Learning Laboratory allows students to put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom,” said Director of Farm Operations Mark Schleppi. “We are extremely grateful to K&S Millwrights for enabling our students to gain valuable experience with the most up-to-date grain handling technology.”