ode to the tractor

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You see them all the time. You may on occasion even get stuck behind them on back roads. But how often do you stop and think about how the tractor has impacted your life?

Now, this may seem silly, but really, stop and think: how much do you know about this tool that contributes so significantly to putting food on your plate?

After the first tractor roared across farmland, productivity on farms skyrocketed. As the tractor has developed throughout history, efficiency has continued to increase. So let’s take a minute to appreciate the tractor, where it came from, and where it is going.

1849.

The first tractor was big, bulky, and costly to maintain. It was a steam-powered tractor invented by A. M. Archambault & Company in 1849! But this model’s fame was fleeting. Due to the machine’s enormity and inability to power through muddy conditions, farmers soon looked for a better option. 

The early 1900s.

In time, the steam-powered tractor was replaced by a tractor model with a fuel-powered engine. This model was better equipped to handle farm life conditions. The fuel-powered engine was similar to car engines. As such, several automobile companies tried their hand at developing tractors. This led to some intense competition for the best tractor. To this day, companies are still fighting to have the model with the best technology.

2012.

We’ve heard of self-driving cars, but what about self-driving tractors? In 2012, the Autonomous Tractor Company launched the first self-driving tractor. But that’s just the beginning of the tech-forward approach to farming. Another recent tractor innovation is crop sensors that can tell the tractor how to care for the crops, like how much fertilizer to add.

Interested in learning more about this piece of technology that has contributed to feeding people for centuries? Here is a great  source with awesome graphics that walks you through a more detailed history of the tractor: https://www.sodgod.com/tractor-history/

Post contribution courtesy of Katie Maffett, community engagement intern

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