1946 Farmall H tractor
My newly-purchased 1946 Farmall H tractor. (Photo: Timothy Collins)
Timothy Collins
Timothy Collins Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers

By Timothy CollinsChair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers

I recently purchased a 1946 Farmall H tractor that had been sitting for years, perhaps a decade or more. While working on it as a class project, we were able to get it fired up again and brought back to life. In researching the old tractor, I read a statistic that in 1945, 30 percent of the United States, about 1.6 million farms, still used only draft animals. The Farmall is a relic compared to the technology on modern tractors, and it is certainly small, although considered mid-sized in its day. However, tractors such as these were revolutionary in their time when replacing literal horsepower.

Tractors have become so incorporated into our picture of agriculture. They have become a symbol of Americana, often represented in art, decorations, and county music songs. When I think of farming, a tractor quickly comes to mind. While my memories of visiting my relatives’ dairy farm as a kid bring back pictures of International Harvester tractors, my grandpa’s childhood memories would have included plowing with draft horses or mules.

From the dawn of civilization until only a little over 100 years ago, there was no way to work the land and grow food other than to use animals and manual labor. The tractor has brought down food costs considerably. In America, in 1900, food was about 40% of a family’s income. Today that number is closer to 10%. We can produce ample food to feed a world of 8 billion people, with only a small percentage of people even involved in the agriculture industry.

Perhaps a new challenge we face because of the strides in mechanization is getting people–whether it’s our elected leaders or the public–to understand and support agriculture. Indeed, each person is as reliant on the industry as anyone else, we all must eat. Never has the disconnect between what people eat and where and how it is grown been wider. I hope the Young Farmers and Ranchers can help in fighting this new problem by increasing our own knowledge of the industry and promoting ag in any way we can. Our next big event towards this goal is our 8th annual Charity Farmers Market Fundraiser on July 15th to be held in the Chuy’s parking lot off Rosedale Hwy. If your farm or company would like to donate produce, please reach out to us. We hope to see everyone there!

Email: KernYFR@KernCFB.com
Instagram: @KernYFR
Facebook: KernYoungFarmersAndRanchers

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