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      Small town idea turns big farm profit

      It began with two brothers out of Payson, Illinois looking to save time on their family farm.

      Eleven years later, Mast Productions is an award-winning company known throughout farms across the world, marketing grain-handling equipment to farmers and commercial businesses.

      Brent and Steve Mast designed an auger with a drive-over unit to speed up the grain unloading process while adding convenience and safety. Prior to their invention, farmers would have to use a swing-away hopper, physically pushing hundreds of pounds worth of machinery in and out from the above trailer each time you unload.

      "At the end of the day, if you did it 15-20 times, it was kind of exhausting and this really brought convenience into the unloading. The main thing we have here, is once you stop the truck, you're ready to unload. You don't have to position the hopper underneath there," Steve Mast said.

      The Masts' patented "Pit Express" system allows farmers to save up to five minutes per load. Better yet, it allows you to harvest roughly two semi loads an hour.

      "Farmers are seeing the benefit of it, and speed's kind of the name of the game when it comes to loading, so the faster the unloading, the happier they are," Mast said.

      The Mast brothers' work also caught the eye of judges for this year's Agribusiness of the Year Award. The Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee will present the award on March 7, at the Holiday Inn in Quincy.