The Press Newspaper
It's called a Farmall H., and instead of plowing fields, the 4,000-pound behemoth that was built during the Harry Truman presidency is now being used as a teaching device for Future Farmers of America students at Woodmore High School.
Adam Downs, who teaches Agricultural Education at Woodmore, bought the 62-year-old tractor from his grandfather, Raymond Downs, so that his students could tear it down and restore it to its original glory.
"Basically, it was used for everything from plowing, planting, bailing hay," said Downs, who has taught at Woodmore for nine years. "My grandpa had it for quite a while and I bought it from him. It's worth maybe a couple thousand completely restored. But to restore it right, it would probably cost you more to restore it than it's actually worth."
Woodmore's Agricultural Education - or Ag Ed - program is a satellite program of the Penta County Career Center. Downs said he teaches about 70 students a day in the program, which features two Ag science classes, two Ag business classes, a horticulture class, a food and meat science class and an Ag machines class, which is restoring the tractor.
Students began working on the red Farmall H., which features a 25-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, in early January. The shop where the tractor is being restored is attached to the Ag classroom at Woodmore. About 20 students are involved in the project.
"Right now it's in a bunch of pieces," Downs said. "We took it all apart and cleaned everything. Now we'll start rebuilding the motor, the clutch and the transmission. I got all the parts this afternoon (March 9) and we're ready to go. I bet we've taken apart a hundred different parts and pieces."
When the tractor is restored, Downs said he intends to keep it instead of putting it up for sale.
"I have a small farm and we'll probably just use it around here," he said. "I grow corn and soybeans, and we have some cattle. The kids really enjoy working on it. They keep wanting to do more and more, and I have to chase them out at the end of class. They want to stay there and keep working on it."
Woodmore senior Brad Reynolds, a member of the Ag machines class, plans to go into wildlife management after high school. For now, he's soaking in all the information he can on the inner workings of a 1940s-era farm tractor.
Reynolds is enjoying it so much, in fact, that he wrote an article on the subject for the school paper, Window to Woodmore, where he is a staff writer.
"It's interesting and pretty cool to see how something built that long ago is still in mechanically good shape and how it will still run once we get things worked out," Reynolds said. "You see how it's able to run and how it's not totally trashed. That's really interesting.
"We are learning how to tear it down, take the pistons out of the block. We split the tractor in two so we could replace the clutch. The clutch was shot. It was neat learning how to do that and actually how easy it is to tear a tractor down. It wasn't real hard. I'm a little mechanically inclined, but not as much as other people in my class."
Reynolds is also helping Woodmore's Ag horticulture class build planter boxes.
"We're either working on the planter boxes or working on the tractor," he said. "The tractor is a lot more fun to work on. We should be finished in about another two weeks, after we paint it."
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