The first tractor that I drove

Was grey with axels red,

Purchased new in '50

Or so my father said.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there

Till nineteen fifty two,

Then a few years had to pass,

With not much I could do.

The next tractor in our yard,

A yellow Moline Z,

With a Rumley in the trees,

How colorful were we?

We added next a Cat on tracks,

Not quite a color new,

Close to Moline yellow,

But a slightly different hue.

Our combine at the time was orange,

Before Case went to red.

Redlin wouldn’t paint our yard,

Picasso might instead.

One day when an H showed up,

In shiny IH red,

I thought the time had come when

Towards one color we would head.

A couple drills, a Vibrashank,

It seems we had a trend.

With a Massey combine

We’re red from end to end.

But somehow that green tractor,

There popping in our yard,

Began to win us over,

Though color change is hard.

Like the grass along the ditch,

Or an algae bloom,

The green spread out across the yard,

And did the red consume.

Red never gave up easy,

The lifter stayed to fight.

And I’ve always tried to keep

A red pickup in sight.

But green had taken over,

There seemed no turning back.

Every where you looked were

Wheels of yellow, tires of black.

I felt I was a traitor,

My father took it hard,

The day that big red combine

First showed up in my yard.

One day to scratch a burning itch

I bought myself a Quad.

I like it though sometimes it seems,

A parts man’s gift from God.

They all break and they wear out,

Though red or green or blue.

Change the oil, grease the zerks,

It’s all that you can do.

Over years I think I’ve learned,

From parts men you can’t hide.

Machinery, just like grass,

Is greener on the other side.

David Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn. He is a former board member and chairman of American Crystal Sugar Company, he currently serves on the CoBank Board of Directors.