John “Pete” Gipson of Texas earned the grand prize in the Farmer Idea Exchange competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 88th annual meeting.

Gipson won a year's use of a New Holland TV-145 bidirectional tractor. New Holland has provided a year's free use of a tractor to the grand prize winner for 17 of the 18 years the program has been in existence.

Gipson's invention, the “Antifreeze Injector for Tractor Tires,” puts antifreeze into tractor tires that are filled with water, to keep them from freezing in winter. The device is made primarily from PVC pipe and other readily available parts, and it takes less than an hour to assemble. The device saves money by eliminating antifreeze waste and not having to pay a tire service to add the antifreeze.

Three other top award winners of $500 apiece were selected from 15 categories during the award ceremonies held recently.

Michael Ketner of Indiana won the “Most Likely to Improve An Individual Farmer's Net Income” award. His seed stopper invention helps keep farmers from “spilling the beans” when filling seed boxes on a planter. Ketner estimates the device prevents the loss of several 60-pound bags of seed per year.

The “Most Innovative” award went to Tom Dull of Indiana for a device he developed to measure freshly cut Christmas trees. The metal device quickly and accurately measures the height of retail Christmas trees in 6-inch increments. This allows farmers to maximize income on each tree sold and increases customer satisfaction.

Clifton Wilbourn of Missouri received the “Most Widely Useable” award for his air filter cleaner. A pressurized air tank safely and efficiently cleans dirt out of paper air filters. The invention helps take the sting out of rising fuel and equipment costs.