This weekend was the annual plowoff at my brother-in-law’s farm. This event involves several local farm equipment enthusiasts bringing their vintage tractors and small plows over to one of the family’s farm fields, and taking turns plowing rows. It’s a win-win for everyone involved; the tractor owners get to play on toys that sometimes otherwise would get no use (they don’t all have farms of their own to plow), and my relative gets his field plowed in trade for grilling out for everyone. My wife, children and I have been the designated photographers of this event for eight years now, and always enjoy the nostalgia and history of seeing these old machines doing the work that earlier generations did on the same equipment. We’ve made it a point to try and document the fading small-time family farm through the lens of a camera, and this yearly event is just one of the many opportunities to do so.
This antique tractor is a 1938 Allis Chalmers. Yes, that is a crank on the front to get her started. The owner of it (pictured at the wheel) got it from an acquaintance after finding out his great grandfather had bought this particular piece of equipment NEW at the dealer back in ’38. He said “I’m not really an Allis Chalmers fan, but couldn’t pass this one up.”
Some of the other tractors at the plowoff have been refurbished to new condition. This IH Farmall 400 below was completely disassembled and repainted to look like it did the day it came off the assembly line in the mid-1950s.
These old machines are fully capable of doing the work they were manufactured to do half a century ago, and the plowoff gives all of us a chance to see them in action. I am grateful to get to be a part of this event every year and capture it in pictures for all eternity.