Three buses brought personnel from Altus Air Force Base for morning and afternoon tours of area farms. Visits on the agenda included the cotton fields of Joe Kelly and his farming operation, Humphreys Coop Gin and the Altus Peanut Company, then finished at the rodeo grounds for tractor driving.
The tours "were absolutely wonderful" according to base Spokesperson Gwen Brewer.
"Joe Kelly is an Air Force person at heart, having previously served himself," Brewer said of the operator of the first base on the tour. "Not only did he show us all the equipment he had to use but everything it took to bring in a crop from beginning to end." Brewer said the weather was a little cold but the tour was well worth it.
The Altus Peanut Factory was an eye-opener for many. "It was the first time most of the people have ever seen that quantity of peanuts in one place before," said Brewer. "You hear about cotton, wheat and cattle in this area but it was very interesting to hear about peanuts."
Humphreys Cotton Gin and the ginning process were very informative, according to Brewer. "A couple of the farmers on the tour explained how they used to do it back then and how things have progressed over time to this point."
Western Equipment provided both a large and a smaller tractor for the tractor drive part of the tour at the rodeo grounds. Brewer said that each military person drove at least one of the tractors and some continued to stand in line for the opportunity to drive both. The tours "were as great this year as they were last year" said Brewer, this being her second year to participate.
President of the Chamber Holley Urbanski said there was a total of 130 participants on the tours.
This has been "A great week of interspersing between agriculture businesses and the business community," Urbanski said.