At least two 17-year-old students in Plattsmouth High School’s agronomy class are making the most of it by opening their own soil testing business.
Charlie Knust, the son of Mike and Christine Knust, and Josh Aho, the son of Toni and Eric Aho, recently started their Two Guys & a Probe Agricultural Services LLC using skills they learned in the plant science class under PHS Skilled and Technical Skills instructor Andrew Christensen.
“Students in the class go out in the field and take multiple sets of soil tests,” Christensen explained. “Taking the plant science class model spurred them to start a type of career in that field.”
Now and during the class, Knust and Aho tested use 2.5 acre grid soil sampling to test for lime, zinc, potassium, phosphate, sulfur and soil PH and buffer PH levels.
Last year, the two took soil samples from a field owned by Jeff Wiles, PHS principal. “In about February and after I did some of my uncle’s land, Charlie and I got together with our parents and discussed having our own business,” Aho explained. Knust and Aho use a 2.5-acre grid sampling for their tests.
With the help of their parents, Knust and Aho hired a lawyer to establish a Limited Liability Company this spring. “As soon as it was finalized, we started talking to farmers,” Aho said.
They also honed their soil testing skills with the help of Tom Vrbka, Glenn Wiles and Marvin Wiles, who gave the two young men access to their soil testing program. “They put us under their wing and they let us use their program until we get our own bought in the next week or so,” Aho said.
The program costs $600 and is produced by SST Summit in Stillwater, Okla. “We will put it on desktop computers and then send the tests into Midwest Laboratories. They will send back the data and will insert it into the maps,” Aho said. “With these new spreaders/floaters the information can go straight from our computers to the farmers”
Knust explained the program creates a map that shows farmers the data from the soil samples. The two have been marketing their services by word of mouth to area ag producers. “We stop by and knock on doors,” Knust said.
Wiles Brothers have also contracted with Two Men and a Probe for soil testing services.
“Right now we probably have 3,500 of acres of our own and Wiles Brothers gave us 922 acres to do this week,” Aho said.
Aho and Knust love the work. “We’re always outdoors and working outside. I also enjoy the connections we make with the farmers,” Aho said. “We started is as a money-making project for college, but I also like that we are saving the farmers money in fertilizer costs with variable rate spreading.”
Knust said he loves being outdoors and knowing he is helping to improve crop productivity. “What I’m doing makes a difference on the growth. Next year, they will see a difference in their crop, resulting in more work for us.”
So far, they spend at least one day each weekend on their new business. Most the time, Aho said, they spend about 20 hours a week on it.
When they are not working, in school or involved in sports, the two spend their free time hunting. “We’ve known each other since high school. We’re good friends,” Knust said.
Both will graduate from PHS in May. Aho said he will attend Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo., while Knust is headed to University of Nebraska Lincoln.
“We will keep our business and we want to do tests in Maryville and Lincoln,” Aho said.
For more information about their business, call Knust at 402-575-8785, Aho at 402-297-5196, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org