Applicators’ skills put to test at CHS rodeo

Using equipment like that shown here, CHS cooperative employees got a chance to display their fertilizer and pesticide application skills at the CHS Applicator Rodeo in Bellevue on Wednesday.

About 200 CHS cooperative employees tested their fertilizer and pesticide application skills and checked out the latest equipment Wednesday at the CHS Applicator Rodeo in Bellevue.

The two-day competition, which began Tuesday, tests CHS applicators on their safety, maneuvering and application skills when working in the field. Based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., CHS is a farmer-owned co-op that provides services and products to farmers, from fertilizer and pesticide application and livestock feed to risk management services.

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The course, just south of Offutt Air Force Base on Harlan Lewis Road, tested CHS employees in teams from as far as Washington state and as near as Wausa, Neb., on applying dry and liquid fertilizer, pesticide and insecticide to crops.

Participants were scored based on safety — did they get in and out of the applicator using two feet and at least one hand, wear their seat belts and turn on flashers before entering a roadway? — as well as maneuvering skills and the evenness of application. The competition included a written test.

“We get a lot of positive comments from the employees that participate in this kind of event just because of ... the amount of education that they’re able to garner and the fun they’re able to have,” said business development specialist Mark Biedenfeld.

At stake in the competition were trophies, Cabela’s gift cards and, of course, bragging rights.

But the rodeo wasn’t just about the competition. “It’s a good chance to see all of the new equipment,” said Wausa employee Troy Hansen.

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