Dannevirke Men's Cancer Support Group was hosted by Wayne and Kevin Hermansen out at their base behind Norsewood on Tuesday August 4.
It was the first Tuesday in the month which is when the support group meets and on a fairly regular basis a trip is organised as an alternative to a morning tea in the Tararua REAP Rooms.
The group has expanded over the past eight months. It almost folded when the Manawatu branch closed but a few Dannevirke members decided to run their own because there was a need.
Slowly the group grew and eventually became too large for the meeting room at Sammies Café and accepted an offer to go to the Tararua REAP facilities in Gordon St.
Now the group numbers more than 30 and Peter Noble-Campbell is pleased members are gaining benefit from meeting, sharing experiences and wisdom learnt, helping members to realise they are not alone and giving them chances to see places of interest.
On Tuesday, 24 members attended.
Wayne Hermansen was an amazing host explaining his journey from operating a one-man tractor and bailer operation in 1983 to setting up the present base in 1993 to a disastrous fire which destroyed $500,000 of gear in 2007 until today when son Kevin runs a business using 16 tractors, vast amounts of the latest technology and employing 22 staff.
His visitors, quite a number of them former farmers, were very intrigued and gob-smacked by the size of the operation. They sympathised with Kevin when he explained that the seasonal and weather dependent nature of the business made it very difficult to satisfy every customer, especially when they all want the same thing at the same time.
Kevin proudly described a recent survey of customers showed no one had waited more than four days to have a crop put in.
They were impressed with the policy of replacing tractors every 5000 hours (about four years) and their capacity to repair and maintain their machinery in their workshop.
And the technology! Using GPS to sow crops to an accuracy of 2cm, lighting to operate day and night and power harrow drills which prepare soil and sow in one sweep are just some examples that raised eyebrows.
At the end of a fascinating morning Wayne shouted the group to a splendid lunch at The Barn in Norsewood, capping off a great trip.
If anyone wishes to join the group contact Peter Noble-Campbell on 06 374 7947.