Farmers win trip to Miller Welding University
Most farmers are likely self-taught welders—a trick of the trade they picked up out of necessity. After attending the 2012 Welding University, Ed Frisch of Madison, Neb.; Brent Bergquist of Lohrville, Iowa; and Layne Kind of Slippery Rock, Pa., now have the know-how and equipment to weld with confidence.
The two-day experience included an extensive tour of Miller Electric Mfg. Co.’s facilities in Appleton, Wis., to see how the company’s welders are built. The farmers were encouraged to ask questions about the manufacturing process and any problems they encounter while welding on their farm.
"I really appreciated how they answered my questions; they were straightforward and informative," Frisch says.
Ben Romenesko, Miller product manager, appreciates when farmers tour the facilities and share feedback. "It’s a way for us to reach out to our farm-based customers," he says. "Many times, their questions or suggestions end up as solid ideas on how we can improve our products."
Frisch was most impressed with the changes in welder technology. "The welders are so automatic on their settings, even my wife could set them," says Frisch, who won the opportunity to attend Miller Welding University after being randomly drawn from the pool of $100 Ideas winners.
After welding with the pros, Frisch learned that many of his mistakes were due to using the wrong heat setting or not holding the gun right. "For instance, I learned that on a vertical aluminum weld you need to lower your temperature and your wire speed, which makes for a prettier and longer-lasting weld," he explains.
As part of his prize package, Frisch received a Millermatic 212 Auto-Set MIG welder.
Bergquist, a winner of Farm Journal’s "I Built the Best" contest, has numerous opportunities to weld on projects for his corn, soybean and cattle operation. He’s even built metal shelves for his son’s bedroom as well as yard ornaments for his wife. As part of his prize package, Bergquist took home the Miller Bobcat 250 EFI engine-driven welder/generator.
"I chose the Bobcat because I want to build a service truck to help with repairs in our harvest operations and have a portable power source for other applications too," Bergquist says.
The third farmer to attend Welding University was 21-year-old Kind, a third-generation Pennsylvania dairy farmer whose family milks 310 cows. Kind’s father entered his son in the contest by filling out an online survey, and he was selected from more than 900 applicants.
"I learned so much about welding in general, not just MIG and spool-gun welding, but stick, flux-cored and even aluminum welding. In fact, I’d say I learned so much information it was almost scary," he notes.
For his prize, Kind also chose the Miller Bobcat 250 EFI engine-driven welder/generator.
In addition to the welders, each farmer received a Miller Performance Series auto-darkening helmet, MIG gloves and a welding jacket.
Two Ways to Win
There are a couple ways to enter to win the latest welding tools and training at the 2013 Welding University: win the $100 Ideas contest or fill out the 2013 Welding University survey.