USCHI HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Rex Logan - (2009)
Rex and his dad started the custom silage business in 1955 with a 2 row pull type Gehl chopper in which he mounted an engine on the PTO chopper, running both PTO and engine, making a total of around 80 HP. They thought they were really cutting feed, mostly for local neighbors.
In 1961 Rex bought his first self propelled cutter, a 2 row Gehl with a 125 HP gas engine, costing $6,100. His dad said he wasn’t interested in expanding his silage cutting business, so Rex started on his own, cutting within 50 miles of home. He was 24 years old and learned a lot of things the hard way. He was also farming and had a farrow to finish hog operation, so he had to return home every night. The price back then was a dollar per ton, delivered to the silo. Two years after running the Gehl, Rex ran Fox cutters for the next ten years. The later ones had cabs but not an AC and were running off diesel.
In 1980 Rex finally put a pencil to paper. His farming operation consisted of around 4,000 acres cropland and it was costing him more in production than he was getting in return so he decided to discontinue farming. The farm equipment was sold the following year in April at auction.
In 1983, Rex began his full time custom cutting. He had one cutter and three trucks. They traveled to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Within the next five years, he had expanded to six JD cutters and 14 trucks. Two of his sons had begun to work with him.
Bill says he can remember a time when rows of corn started showing up between the truck and the cutter, first one, then two, then three. Bill looked up in the cutter cab to see that Rex had a cigar hanging out of his mouth and his head was hanging down. He was asleep. Bill kept driving until Rex got so far away; the feed was no longer landing in the truck. Bill stopped and waited. The cutter turned just enough it started bouncing across the rows. This finally woke Rex up. He stopped and came back to where Bill was waiting. They started down the rows again and not a single word was spoken about the incident.
Another story from Bill was when Rex was opening up a new field. He came out of the corn and went to the open side. Guys were standing along the edge of the field. Rex took off into the corn and accidently knocked one of the guys over when silage hit him. Rex had forgotten to turn the spout back to the side.
In the late 1980’s his sons’ wives said they would not put up with their husbands being gone seven months of the year. They quit working for Rex and found local jobs. Rex hired a young man to replace them, and he worked with him for the next 18 years until Rex retired.
It was also in the late 1980’s that Rex attended his first USCHI meeting in Hays, KS. He joined the association and attended most of the meetings thru March 2006. When he first began attending the USCHI meetings, there was not a lot said about silage harvesters but they seemed to have the same problems grain harvesters were dealing with.
In 1998 Rex had a problem with not having enough employees. He can remember when half of the trucks would not be running because of the lack of drivers. USCHI provided Rex with information on H2A workers. He says without that information, he would have been forced to downsize considerably. Thanks to USCHI, Rex kept running all of his equipment.
Rex put up with all the changes and challenges that came with running a silage crew for fifty years and he enjoyed it. The thing he says he misses the most is contact with his long time customers. As for the employees, he said he could write a book about them. Some chapters would include the time an employee stole his car, the employee who was fired at lunchtime and asked if he was fired before or after lunch, and the employee who was driving Rex’s truck and left it 10 miles from the farm when he stole the license tag to drive to Texas to work with another harvester.
Rex was always running a cutter, did the management duties, kept records of daily tonnage, and answered the phone. He says five hours of sleep was common, but he enjoyed the challenge.
In 1996 Rex began to switch to Claas cutters and he ran them until he retired. After the 2005 season, Rex decided to retire.
Since March of 2006, Rex has purchased some new “toys” which include a D8T Cat dozer, a Cat motor grader, a skid steer loader with a tree shear and grapple fork. He has been destroying trees around fields and waterways on his own land. He has been busy and he and his wife Judy enjoy traveling and enjoy not having the responsibility of running their own business.