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HEYWORTH - A piece of agricultural history soon will help a group of Heyworth agriculture students build for the future.

FFA members are working to restore a 1950 Farmall tractor that was donated to the chapter by Heyworth farmer Jack Wilson. When the restoration is complete, the tractor will be raffled to raise funds for projects by the chapter, which was re-established this year after a 20-year hiatus.

The tractor ran, but needed paint and a clutch. Heyworth's agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor, Jestin Nutter, said the students decided they may as well go ahead and go through the motor since they partially had disassembled the tractor.

"Right now, the block is out getting reworked and the heads are being finished," said Nutter. "We have a retired mechanic who is doing that work for us."

Nutter said the students have been doing the majority of the work on the tractor, with assistance from adult volunteers who are part of the group's advisory council.

"Jim Hanlin (president of the council) has been the driving force behind everything," Nutter noted.

While the motor is being finished, the tractor will be sandblasted and a coat of paint applied. Nutter said the group's goal is to have the tractor together and ready to go in time for Heyworth's sesquicentennial celebration in May. One of the ideas being considered as a tie-in to the festivities is a parade of tractors from Heyworth to Randolph, then back to Heyworth through the country.

"The plan is to haul the tractor around to some festivals and county fairs this summer, and sell raffle tickets for $5," Nutter said. "Then, we'll give it away next February during National FFA Week."

Students want to use the proceeds from the raffle for the construction of a greenhouse, which the FFA will use as part of its agriculture curriculum. Nutter said the chapter also would like to raise enough money to offer a scholarship for students studying ag in college.

"If we can become self-sufficient, we don't have to beg or borrow from the school," said Nutter.

Much of the project will help students meet requirements of the National FFA Organization, and will be used at the state section contests in May.

When the current project is complete, the students will search for another tractor for next fall. Since this year's model is a Farmall, they are working to acquire a pre-1952 model such as John Deere, Ford, or other popular makes. Anyone willing to donate a tractor for the project can call the high school at (217) 473-2322.

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