Rainbow of tractor colors is beautiful


There are some people who believe that we can learn all kinds of things about a person through the study of a horoscope. Others lean toward palm reading, a turn of the cards or a glimpse in to a crystal ball.

I have known for a long time that all it takes to know a farmer is to know what color of paint the oldest tractors in the machinery shed carry.

A green farmer is innovative and patient. Lots of red in the family shed indicates an adventuresome, fun-loving soul. A long line of orange paint is proof of a traditional farmer who is was born with a dash of daring enough to blaze his own trails at the same time.

Blue as the main hue stands as a firm indication of a loyalist – you won’t have to look far to find a red, white and blue flag flying somewhere over the family farm.

White is right up there with the old bright yellow Minneapolis-Moline man or woman – diplomatic and yet strong-minded, perhaps containing a bit of political blood in the family gene pool.

The list could go on, but you get the gist of it. I learned at a very young age that farmers are about as loyal to their color of paint as they are to steak, potatoes and two kinds of pie – warm or cold.

Use discretion. “Don’t tell your uncle that his John Deere sounds like it’s putt-putting along… he might take it wrong,” I was advised when I was a little kid. Discretion in talking tractors, it seemed, was as important as discretion in matters of politics or religion.

My nephews, like hundreds of kids before them, learned pretty darn young how to work this to their advantage. Depending upon who was asking, they developed a favorite color of tractor for every occasion.

“What is your favorite tractor?” could elicit an answer like, “Awiss Chammers” or “John De-ah.” The reward, if the answer was right, could mean a candy bar or a ride in the tractor cab.

If the farmer asking the question found the little tyke in the wrong mood, he might get an answer like, “I don’t like twactors – I like semi twucks.”

Keep the rainbow. Years ago, according to some mechanical analyst with a crystal ball sitting on his desk, we began hearing that the day is coming when there will be only one color of tractor available. We railed against such an insulting thought – it goes against all that is right in America!

We have watched entire lines die out or merge away in to something else, but no one can take away the old paint in family storage barns all across this great country.

Most importantly, no one can erase the heart and soul, dyed-in-the-wool paint that pumps in the heart of true farm people.

Considering farmers’ collective loyalty to their particular paint, there may even be cemeteries springing up over the rural landscape for those tractors of days gone by.

“Here lies Pete the Minnie Mo who served us well in the field, on hayrides and through snow drifts three miles high. Serial number J727846B. What a beauty he was!”

Until then, hang on to your favorite old hat, showing your true colors. They can’t take that away from you!


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!

Previous articleAdvice for parents in a difficult time
Next articleFarm bill negotiations and reality
Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.