Monday, July 19, 2010

Tractor 101 Workshop: a Report

On the evening of July 14, a group of ten beginning farmers attended at Farm Tractor 101 workshop at the Jefferson Farm, Columbia, MO. The workshop was part of a series of workshops on various topics for beginning farmers, with the workshops jointly offered by the nonprofit Jefferson Institute and the University of Missouri through USDA-NIFA grant funding. The workshop was intended to give novice farmers a chance to drive and operate two kinds of tractors, learn about selection and pricing of tractors, and basic operation of PTO, hydraulics, hitches, and loaders. The group learned about tractor safety and also got a chance to tour several types of planters, tillage equipment and other tractor attachments.

The highlight for most attendees was undoubtably the chance to drive two different John Deere tractors, one of which was loaned by Sydenstricker Implement of Rocheport for the course. None of the attendees had ever operated a tractor before, but several were considering purchasing a tractor at some point in time as part of managing land they have either recently purchased or hope to gain access to. Some of the attendees are involved with an urban farm in St. Louis called EarthDance. The attendees had lots of questions about buying and using tractors, including what types of tractors are available used and how to equip them. The course was taught by Rob Myers and Alan Weber. More beginning farmer workshops on other topics will be offered during the next two years, and the farm tractor workshop may be repeated in the future if sufficient interest exists.

A resource you may want to check out is the Oklahoma State University website on agriculture machinery.  (by Rob Myers)

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