Green Tractors Get Cool Reception From Farmers

The new Public Enemy No. 1?

Inquiring minds are watching what is happening with the new green tractors forced onto farmers:

Farm equipment manufacturers are rolling out cleaner tractors to meet stricter new federal air regulations, but many in the industry say the challenge will be getting farmers to put the high-priced models into fields during hard economic times.

The rules that went into effect Saturday apply to tractors, construction vehicles and other so-called nonroad equipment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the vehicles are major sources of particulate-matter emissions — the stuff that makes smoke black and air difficult to breathe.

Wow! All this time the staff here at thought people went to the country to get lots of freash air. Who knew that farmland has a a smog problem.

But one of the biggest issues to making this switch actually seems to be the extremely long life cycle of tractors. All this additional money for a product that typically lasts for 25 years?

Tractor makers, including Deere & Co. and Case IH, have unveiled a number of new models that meet the so-called Tier 4 standards. But with the greener technology adding about 10 percent to the price, many farmers say they’re in no hurry to upgrade tractors that might last another 25 years or more. Others are upgrading but their old tractors are getting traded in and resold rather than retired.

Given that, the effects of the new regulations may not be felt for decades.

But even that isn’t the biggest issue…it is the attitude of the farmers:

Some farmers said they had no interest in the new tractors, even if they did promise to be more environmentally friendly.

Phillip Batho owns a dairy farm in Plum City in western Wisconsin, where he uses seven tractors to spread manure on fields and harvest crops. The new technology remains untested, he said, so he was skeptical about the government’s and manufacturers’ rosy claims.

That’s why, when he needed a new tractor last month, he bought a used model for about $60,000.

“The newer ones, there’s a lot more stuff to go wrong. They’re a lot more complicated,” he said. “I like having a clean environment as much as anyone, but the tractors we’ve been using don’t seem to be ruining the environment.”

He paused, then added, “I’m not looking forward to having a Tier 4.”

The famous Indy race car driver, A.J. Foyt once said, “New cars go fast…old ones win.”

Sounds like Mr. Foyt had uncommonsense…the kind that farmers have.


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