An instructor explains the advantage of pre-assembled lake loops, just before the group participates in submerging the geo-exchange system.

There’s no place like Geo Farm for all things geothermal. The event, a hands-on field day hosted by distributor Corken Steel, is being hosted for the third year in rural Indiana Aug. 30 – Sept 1.

For 2011, the drilling, trenching, geo technology, and heat exchanger workshop has been expanded to two days. The new ClimateMaster-sponsored day (Tues., Aug. 30) is open to geothermal professionals from across the nation.

“We saw quickly that Corken Steel developed a winning recipe,” said John Bailey, ClimateMaster’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We wanted to offer the experience to a broader group of geothermal professionals, making the training available to anyone from any part of the country.”

The second day (Thurs., Sept. 1), is reserved for Corken Steel dealers. All attendees may log continuing education hours required for master and journeyman programs.


The event will be held at Dwight Bucher’s farm in southern Indiana, a recognized historical site. Bucher is the owner of Bucher Trucking and Excavation (Aurora, Ind.), and his company focuses on geothermal well drilling. To organize and host the event, Bucher teamed up with Corken Steel, a large distributor of ClimateMaster geothermal equipment.

Geo Farm offers six hands-on stations that rotating groups visit for one-hour intervals. Tractor-drawn hay-rides are the main form of transportation around the 300-acre farm. Great home-cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served by the Bucher family, with happy hour beginning at 5 p.m.

Vertical drilling slurry is captured before an audience of trade professionals at Geo Farm.


To kick off the Geo Farm training, attendees are divided into six groups and directed to classroom settings in various buildings on the farm, or to outdoor demonstrations.

“One of the great things about Geo Farm is that nearly every possible means of geothermal exchange is demonstrated here,” said Jay Kaiser, vice president of sales and marketing at Corken Steel Products Co. The outdoor stations include pond loop installation, horizontal boring, and drilling.

At the indoor sessions, attendees participate in training on system performance, routine maintenance, loop temperature, and pressure. One notable session will be held in the property’s 150-year-old brick carriage house, where participants learn about GeoDesigner software while a stabled pair of Bucher’s giant Percheron draft horses listen in. 

“By now, the horses have attended the system design workshop a dozen times,” quipped Joe Fish, residential district manager for ClimateMaster. “My guess is that, by now, they could teach the entire course, but I’ll be there to help, just in case.”

According to Fish, attendees learn all about ClimateMaster’s loop design software, GeoDesigner. The program is a sophisticated, yet intuitive, tool for sizing units and exchange fields. The software also helps to demonstrate operating cost scenarios for potential customers.


“Judging from the past two Geo Farm events, and interest this year in expanding it, I’m confident that we’ve found a recipe that works,” said Kaiser. “This year, we’ve made it bigger and better in all respects.”

“Making it available to contractors nationwide is another indication of how upbeat we are about Geo Farm and all that it offers,” added Fish. For the ClimateMaster-sponsored event, packages including hotel rooms will be available.

For more information, contact Joe Fish at

Publication date:07/18/2011