Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Topics: Farmers, Iowa

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

image for Iowa Farmer Sells GPS-Based Crop Circle Creation Kit
A crop circle created with Rooter's kit

DES MOINES-Rodney Rooter, an Iowa corn farmer has created a kit which he is selling to other mid-western farmers to help them create crop circles in their fields with their own tractors. The kit includes an easy-to-use computer program on DVD to design crop circles, and an interface to a portable Global Positioning System (GPS).

"The kit sells for $4,999.99 but the expense is tax deductible," said Rooter. "The crop circles you create with my kit can quickly become a source of revenue when photos of them appear in the local newspapers, on the Internet or on TV, and a horde of bozos descends on your farm to view them. You can charge each one of these idiots and their children up to $20 just to stumble around the crop circle and gawk."

Besides offering crop circle design tips, Rooter's kit also gives advice on how to deal with the media, obtain free publicity, and it includes model news releases, contracts for hiring pilots, and legal advice. It also includes his essay "Crop Circles Come from Outer Space and Mean an Alien Invasion is About to Happen," which can guide enterprising farmers in selling their crop circles to a gullible public.

Rooter admits that he was inspired to create the kit by the movie "Signs" of 2002 directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. He added that crop circles follow in the long tradition of farmers creating mazes and other designs in their crops to entertain and rip-off a bored or adventure-seeking public.

Rooter created the kit with the financial assistance of the office of the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

Bert Topsail of the Iowa government said that the $50,000 grant to Rooter to help him create the kit "was well worth the investment."

"I understand that Rooter has sold 138 of those kits to other farmers and that they are now reaping tens of thousands of dollars in earnings by charging the public to visit their crop circles," he added. "This is a bonus in economic activity for the agricultural community of Iowa, and even for many out-of-state prairie farmers."

The portable computer and GPS system required by Rooter's kit must be purchased separately, although Rooter points out that most modern tractors already are GPS-enabled and come with GPS and computer devices in order to allow accurate crop cultivation.

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