Rockford church buys combine, ships it to Africa

By Paul Bolstad

Contributing writer

TEAMcheetahOur Fathers Lutheran Church in Rockford is partnering with Cheetah Development in Tanzania, East Africa, to bring changes in the lives of peasant farmers.

Team Cheetah at Our Fathers has undertaken the challenge of modifying a used combine so that it can serve as a mobile corn sheller, moving from village to village where Cheetah Development has cooperative members participating in an innovative marketing plan that can increase their incomes.

Cheetah Development has assisted farmers in making the transition from subsistence farming to commercial farming. This is done by providing loans for improved seeds, fertilizers and agricultural training; the result now is a flood of corn – more than these farmers have ever seen in their lives. Now they find it is taking them a long time to shell all this corn before it can be bagged, weighed and inspected for quality so that it can be sold to Pearl Foods, Cheetah Development’s in-country for-profit marketing company.

TEAM Cheetah accepted the idea of using a modified John Deere 3000 combine to solve this problem. The technical committee will partly disassemble its modified combine, fit it into a 40-foot container and see it shipped to Tanzania and eventually to the city of Iringa, where Cheetah Development has its base of operation.

The goal is to have it ready to work by the corn harvest season that starts in July. The church has invited the farmer in Wisconsin who sold the combine to go to Tanzania to help train local technicians on how to operate and maintain the machine.

Our Fathers Church has established a Cheetah Fund for the transport of this machine to Africa.  Donations can be made online via and are tax deductible.

For more information about Cheetah Development, visit, call the church or see the combine in the church parking lot, 3903 Gilbert Ave. SE.