Illinois Farm Families Blog

Nov 16 2011

Go Team! Go!

Katie PrattWhen my husband and I met eight years ago, everyone agreed we were made for each other.  We were cut from the same cloth, born and raised country, both returning home with college diplomas in hand and ready to begin a life that included a family and a farm.  Perfection.

Except for one minor detail.  My family farmed red and my husband’s family farmed green.  

Just as you may bleed Bear blue on game day and your neighbor run wild with cheese on his head, in the country a farmer’s loyalty to his equipment color runs deep.  And never is that more apparent than during harvest and planting, when a farmer’s equipment – and its performance – is on full display.  

You may be most familiar with John Deere green or Case IH red.  There are a smattering of other colors all associated with a specific brand of farm equipment.  Ford blue, Caterpillar yellow, AgCo orange.  Regardless, a farmer can show his brand support with the usual hat, coat or shirt or branch into home décor with cookie jars, pillows and bed sheets, and all sorts of wall hangings.  The latter three were banished from the house even before we were married.  (I really have nothing against John Deere green.  I just had a different decorating vision than my husband.)

A farmer’s loyalty to his equipment color mirrors the loyalty of a Cubs’ fan . . . even after 103 years of no wins at the World Series.  (I can bring this up because my husband is one of those Cubs’ fans.)  And why you ask?  Why does a person paint his stomach and sit shirtless in Soldier Field in December?  

Probably because his father did and his grandfather before him.  Generations of farmers have gathered at the coffee shop (although today it’s facebook or twitter) and discussed the merits of a Deere versus a Case sometimes making valid points but more often than not delivering the punch lines to jokes.  It’s just like the relationship between Cubs and White Sox fans.

Obviously and on the serious side, farmers use a brand of equipment because of its horsepower and performance.  Today, the technology linked to equipment is staggering.  Tractors are mobile computers linked to satellites shooting information about soil fertility, crop growth and final yield to home computers.  Computer systems can be moved from a tractor to a combine to a sprayer and back again taking with it all the information about the crop and the field.  Therefore, each piece of equipment is responding to that unique area of soil.  And when I say unique area, I’m talking about a square-inch.  That’s how specific farm equipment and technology can be.  And that is how we can produce the crops that will feed and fuel the United States.

Does it matter what color of tractor does the farming?  Well. . .I’ll plead the fifth on that.

Katie Pratt
Grand Prairie Farms

 

We welcome your questions and participation for a conversation about today's food and farming. Illinois Farm Families reserves the right to moderate or remove inappropriate, threatening or otherwise inflammatory comments.

comments powered by Disqus