I just finished a short trip to SW Iowa to look at a hog manure spreading operation. What an interesting business. According to Purdue University, the nitrogen from hog manure will reduce a farmer’s costs by $50 per acre. It’s a whole lot different agribusiness than retailing organic blueberries at Whole Foods. But that’s what’s great about agriculture!
My big take away from the project wasn’t the hog manure. It was the hotel I stayed at in Perry, Iowa. The Hotel Pattee is a historic landmark and totally unique. Built about 1914 it has been restored with Mission style furniture and details. Each room has a different theme. I stayed in the Japanese room. But there’s an Africa room and Mickey Mouse room. It has a library, bowling alley and first rate farm art and paintings throughout. The food is excellent. Home made breads and huge pork chops from local hogs. Just what you’d expect in Iowa.
But for me, the best part is its collection of the Milwaukie Road railroad signs and railroadiana. The Milwaukie Road ran through Perry and was a big part of the local economy years ago. The Milwaukie Road had name trains like the Hiawatha and the Arrow. Trains ran through Perry from Chicago and Denver and the hotel has preserved that legacy very well. I wish the Hiawatha still ran through there.
The great thing about working in agriculture is that one gets to experience unique places and people that the plane jets over on its way to New York and LA.