A crew of 17 was at the former Iowa Lakes Electric building, corner of 25th and Broadway, last week. They are working to get a new Emmetsburg business up and running.

Eric and Mary Woodford will open Woodford Equipment when renovation of the business office is complete.

The fact that the business is not officially open hasn’t stopped customers from dropping in. Eric is already working with farmers interested in cob harvesting.

“We have been following biomass and renewable energy for quite some time,” said Woodford. “This is really a global platform.”

Woodford stressed, “What’s happening in this small town (Emmetsburg) is having a global impact on the environment and the rural economy. Biomass and renewable energy is far reaching and our awareness is very important.”

The Woodford family comes to Emmetsburg from Redwood Falls, MN. Since the mid 1990s, Eric has been involved in custom round baling and farming, plus custom combining. His custom baling business grew to six in the fleet that did work all over Minnesota.

Woodford is not  a guy who settles for the status quo. A few years ago he worked on an invention for the round baler. He was issued the patent was issued last week.

The powered windguard, design by Woodford, aids feeding corn stalks into the baler. The safety feature prevents plugging up the machine and adds capacity. In fact, the rotary action of the powered windguard can be reversed to assist in unplugging the pick-up.

“I took my invention to Vermeer and they loved it,” said Woodford. “They worked along side of me and now my design is a part of a package called the cornstalk special.”

It was an exciting day for Eric Woodford when Vermeer bought his invention.

“When this opportunity came about, everything fell in line. God has helped us in this process,” he said.

Realizing the potential for growth, Woodford saw what was happening in Emmetsburg and decided to start his business where cellulosic ethanol will have its roots.

“What we have next door is tremendous,” said Woodford. “This business is full of opportunity.”

In the fourth week of construction at the new business, the contractors are ahead of schedule and Woodford is anxious to open the doors.

“The farmers are like instant neighbors,”?Woodford said. “Everybody with the city has been very supportive. They are clearly making my life easier.”

Eric and his wife Mary will work together at the new business. They will have two full time mechanics and additional field support from Vermeer, which Woodford views as a huge benefit.

“Since I’ve been a farmer all my life, I know how important it is to have parts on hand,” said Woodford. “We will have inventory on hand so that we don’t have to order parts.”

Vermeer harvesting equipment is one line to be carried at the new business, along with the McCormick tractor line.

Before the harvest, Woodford plans a trip to Texas for area farmers. Vermeer has substantial cob harvesting in Texas.

“We’ll take our farmers down there and give them behind the wheel experience before the harvest,” said Woodford.

The Woodford family has purchased a home in the new housing development in south Emmetsburg, within walking distance to his new business.

Mary and Eric Woodford are parents of two children, Thomas, in third grade, and Aliza, in first grade.