Tractors are part of the landscape when you live in an agricultural area. Folks tend not to notice them, and that’s part of the reason six tractors carrying nine students pulled into the parking lot and parked at MHS on Wednesday, March 21 – the first official Drive Your Tractor to School Day in Milbank.
Gauge Stengel, Nathan Fonder, Noah Falk, Evan Rethke, Nollen Sheeley, Tucker Giesen, Layten Osowski, Lucas DeBoer, and Keegin Carlin all beat the tardy bell on their giant rides, although it was another blustery day in a long line of what the locals are calling one of the worst winters in modern history.
The 2023 event coincided with National Ag Day and helped to draw attention to all the positive aspects of living and working in American agriculture. It also served as a reminder for drivers to pay attention to farm equipment on highways and byways.
Principal Dan Snaza said, “The kids that drove in have a lot of pride in their tractors and agriculture in general. Our kids are used to seeing ag-related equipment, but it was a good topic of discussion.”
These five freshmen took the wheel and braved the elements. They commented:
“I drove a White 2-135,” Noah Falk said. “I drove this tractor because there were no duals, good brakes, it’s easy to drive, and it had a cab. It was a fun experience.” Evan Rethke drove a Callas 3800. “I thought it would be cool to drive this tractor to school. It’s a rare tractor in the United States, but popular in Europe. It was imported from the Netherlands.” Tucker Giesen said he drove a 2022 John Deere 7R 230 “because it was not currently being used on the farm, and it’s a newer style of tractor.”
“I wanted to participate in the event,” Carter Liebe said, “so I drove a 2008 GMC Duramax 3500.” Nathan Fonder said he chose a John Deere 4640 for his ride ‘because it had the highest hour odometer reading. It was a fun experience!”
Drive Your Tractor to School has unofficially been an option for generations, however, it became a special day connected with FFA back in the 1980s. No records are kept, but schools across the country participate, and the Midwest generally yields the most support.
Sara Colombe, ag instructor and FFA adviser at MHS, said, “I think we had a great turnout for our first Drive Your Tractor to School. The students were excited when I sent the information and some staff members wished they had participated. I hope we continue this event!”