- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

FERNEY, S.D. (AP) - A teen is following in the footsteps of her parents and older siblings by welding in the family business on a northeastern South Dakota farm.

Sixteen-year-old Nicole Fey began learning to weld when she was 10. She now helps create livestock equipment that’s sold in the United States and Canada. Her 23-year-old sister, Stephanie, and 18-year-old brother, Steven, also help out with the business on the farm south of Ferney.

“We can do a cattle panel in 18 minutes with three welders,” Nicole Fey said with a smile. “Dad wants to be able to do one in 12 minutes.”

Mike Fey, who taught his children and wife how to weld, said the work building livestock panels wouldn’t be possible without his kids. Others work for the Feys when Nicole and Steven are at school.

“(Nicole) who is only 16 can outwork a lot of the guys I know,” Mike Fey told the Aberdeen American News (http://bit.ly/1NvVtz3 ). “I hope that after they go to school, they’ll come back. We have been seeing a huge demand this year. And we wouldn’t be able to do it without their help.”

The family’s current production record is 24 livestock panels per day. They hope to increase that production record to 30 panels in a day.

Nicole and Steven Fey attend Groton Area High School and plan to pursue technical training in welding.

“I watched for about a year before I actually started welding,” Steven Fey said. “My dad gave me a welding helmet when I was 13. Now many of my friends have learned to weld, as well. They think it’s pretty cool.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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