By Doug Graves
BROOKVILLE, Ohio – Brookville farmer Wilbur Meyer has made field art for many years. His latest creation has caught the attention of the entire United States and other nations as well.
Using a technique called multi-hybrid variable rate planting, Meyer created a life-size tribute to the 20th anniversary of 9/11. His orchestrated tribute is a one-to-one scale of the Twin Towers. The overall picture, titled “God Bless America,” is 3,500 feet tall, 2,800 feet wide in his 270-acre field.
“Corn mazes are cool, but I wanted to take it to the next level,” said Meyer, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on his 1,300-acre farm.
On September 11, 2011, the world watched in horror as two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people and injuring 25,000. More than 400 firefighters and police officers lost their lives in the catastrophic event. First responders are still dying of 9/11-realted illnesses. Meyer, a volunteer firefighter as well as a farmer, wanted to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’ve received messages from L.A. to New York,” he said. “We’ve seen people from other countries respond. I never dreamt that we would touch to many people. I mean, it’s been very humbling, to say the least.”
With a project this extensive, Meyer called on friends Grant Davis and Dave Kress to lend a hand with everything from design of the mural to correct corn variety needed. Meyer calls it “an intricate process with little room for error.” From a jpeg image to then writing the script through Ag Leader, they take an image and assign reference points to the picture, which allows them to break it into the multi-hybrid. Every hybrid is selected for its unique characteristics.
“We’ve been doing the multi-hybrid variable rate for several years now, and we see different colors in the field,” Meyer said. “We wanted to do something fun, something cool and something patriotic.”
Flying over Ohio this time of year, green fields paint a lush picture and Meyer saw it as a blank canvas waiting for a new creation.
“It all begins at the end of the crop season. That’s when we get an idea of how challenging it will be,” Meyer said. “In 2017, we did an American flag, then we paid tribute to the POW the next year, but this is our biggest creation thus far. We wanted to bring light to a lot of people’s day, especially right now with the current climate in the United States, it’s nice to bring some positive things.”
One field. One picture. And one grand effort to ensure two decades later, we never forget September 11, 2001. “As a farmer, we’re all patriotic,” Meyer said. “We all do things in our own way. And I’m lucky enough to have the technology and the friends to do this.”
Kress said, “These plants change. I mean, in one corner of the field there is one hybrid and you’ll see yellow corn plants, dark green corn plants and we tried to do something that no one’s ever really done because those clutches in there are flipping in and out as he’s going across, so if he’s planting five miles per hour one way, and come back say….just say four and a half, you’re going to see that variation in that picture across the field.”
Meyer’s intent wasn’t to gain notoriety from his field. Rather, he hopes people will remember the sacrifice made from our nation’s bravest.
“I want people to think about back then and what happened afterward,” he said. “The country came together as one nation. Don’t forget the people who have lost their lives in that tragic accident, between the Pentagon, the towers, the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. Remember all those people.”