Floyd Sigmon walked slowly up to his old John Deere Grain Binder on Thursday with a smile full of pride.
“I reckon it’s about 80 years old,” Sigmon said. “It’s probably from the 1930s.”
The ancient grain binder, now covered in rust and oil, was once a revolutionary piece of farming machinery, something Sigmon hopes to teach Catawba County citizens about very soon.
Sigmon and the entire Foothills Antique Power Association will host an Old Time Wheat Harvest Day on Saturday to showcase an evolutionary history of farming machinery. The event will take place at the Hunsucker farm on Rock Barn Road in Conover at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The event is free to the public and donations are welcome, Sigmon said.
“We are doing this to preserve the past for the future,” Sigmon said. “I’ve got kids who say they are going to take this equipment and show it in the future. If someone doesn’t take it and preserve it, then it’s going to be lost.”
On Saturday, the Foothills Antique Power Association will demonstrate farming techniques that span from 1800s wheat cradles to modern day machinery that can harvest “450 bushels in 30 minutes,” Sigmon said.
Sigmon said presenters will also bale straw using ancient and modern methods.
Catawba County Commissioner Dan Hunsucker, who has about 500 to 600 acres of wheat, donated some of his property for the exhibition.
“I approached him, and he graciously gives us what wheat we needed,” Sigmon said. “He said, ‘You don’t need any more?’ And I told him no.”
All the donation profits from the wheat day will benefit the Foothills Antique Power Association building fund, which is currently developing property at the Hickory American Legion Fairground for future exhibitions. Sigmon said members of the association span from New York to Oklahoma.
“We’ve got a lot of money tied up in tractors and equipment and we like to show them off,” Sigmon said.
Sigmon added that his association will do farming demonstrations for free, but said the Old Time Wheat Harvest Day “may not happen again for a very long time.”
Sigmon, who grew up on a dairy farm in the Lake Norman area, said it’s very important for people to realize where they came from. His store, Sigmon’s Tractor, has been open more than 20 years, but he has been doing tractor work for more than 40.
“Come out and see how the past used to be and how people used to work,” Sigmon said. “It’s very educational for anyone to see this.”