Aren't they all tractors? What is a combine? How do the corn kernels get off the cob? What are all those metal buildings?

Every facet of farming depends on machines - from plowing, to seeding, to weeding, to harvesting. Not only do farmers know how to drive these rigs but also how to maintain and fix them - all of them!

Probably the most important farm machine is a tractor. Much like a locomotive, a tractor pulls other equipment such as plows, seeders and hay balers. Come harvest time, the combine is pressed into service - different “heads” are put on the front end to harvest different crops.

A seed drill allows plants to be seeded in precisely spaced rows and at precise depths for uniform seedling development.

Crop dusters are used to control pests and plant seeds. Aerial seeding is used to plant a cover crop while crop is on the ground.

The monitor (upper left) shows the number of acres harvested and the yield, data later downloaded to a computer.

Giant Canisters!

Steel grain bins dot the region. Livestock farms use them to store corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and other grains used to make animal feed. Grain farmers also use them. Rather than selling their entire crop at harvest when prices are usually at their lowest, they store the grains for future sales.

Poultry also dot the landscape. These climate-controlled buildings are equipped with automated thermostats, ventilation, feeders and watering systems. If any of the systems malfunction, automatic alarms are sent to the farmers' cell phones.