Farm Horizons, Feb. 2005

Local family featured in national magazine

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Greg, Heidi, and Ron Otto have one of the top shop designs in America, according to the national magazine Successful Farming.

The Ottos were featured in the November 2004 issue of the magazine for their nearly three-year-old, 50 by 102 foot structure that is accessible by a 35-foot-wide door. The shed is located off McLeod County Road 9, just north of Highway 7.

There was a contest in Successful Farming to obtain different ideas, Greg said, with a prize being offered of $100.

“We put the shop in as our idea,” Greg said. “They saw it and wanted to feature it.”

The Ottos positioned a major repair and fabrication bay at one end of the shop, and mounted a homemade jib (swinging) crane to one side of this entrance.

Welding and metal-working tools are placed at the base of the hoist, and the Ottos installed a grid of floor anchors in the center of the fabrication bay that, as a result, created a 16- by 32-foot construction area.

The Ottos use their shed primarily for maintenance work and custom work with their business, Custom Combining, as well as any other uses that may come up.

At the other end of the shop is the service bay, which is equipped with a service pit and lubricant storage. Access to this separate work center is provided by a 16-foot side door.

Other features of the Otto shed include air and electrical outlets spaced every 10 to 12 feet around the entire structure, and fluorescent lights that are wired to separate switches so the repair-fabrication bay is illuminated apart from the service bay.

The Ottos are in the process of moving the business’ bookkeeping information to an office in the shed, as well, Greg noted.

“We’re going to try to keep all of the business stuff in here,” he said.

The Ottos didn’t receive the issue of the magazine that featured them until a few weeks after it had been printed, but their friends and relatives told them they were on the cover.

“It’s a pretty major magazine,” Greg said. “We had no idea we were going to be on the cover.”

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