My friend Michael was typical of those whose motivation boiled down to ‘escaping the rat race’. He and his sweetheart yearned to move to Texas, buy forty acres and own their own John Deere tractor. They already had the cap. When the pressure got unbearable, they could take the tractor out for a spin and mow. Tracto Therapy, he called it. They could take turns wearing the hat.

“Why didn’t you go?” I asked him.

“Oh,” he said, “the relationship didn’t work out. I got a job and she went back to her husband.”

Contemplating his idea, it occurred to me that there might be lots of folks out there like Michael whose dream is not to go to a dude ranch but to drive a tractor. Why not start a dude farm! The most popular show on RFDTV is Classic Tractors. I would venture there are plenty of fans who’ve never plowed a furrow! They’d be an ideal market.

Think of it! A chance to grade a driveway, pull a honey wagon, make mounds in the feedlot! They’d leap at the chance! Farmers could advertise their dude farms in the paper; “Pick yer own fruit! Learn to clean elevator buckets, de-tassel seed corn, run to town for parts! Try the exotic midwinter North Dakota Wheatgrowers tour. Shovel snow, tinker in the shop, go to town for coffee at 8 and 3!”


Or the scenic Arkansas chicken house extravaganza. Take part in a barn cleaning. Fix bent water pipes and fences and ventilation systems! And learn to tell a raccoon (striped tail and mask) from a possum (a hairless tail and about half an inch thick on the highway).

And the epitome of trips…the Texas to north Idaho or Bust Wheat Harvest! Drive a 20-year-old grain truck to the elevator from dawn til dusk for two months! Eat dust, bologna and Kentucky Fried! Sleep in a camp trailer!

Sounds exciting. We in agriculture are always looking to diversify. If you’ve tried comfrey, ostriches or your own roadside stand selling homegrown soybean cakes, give dude farming a look.

According to Michael, Tracto Therapy could be the best lucrative opportunity for farmers since that Georgia pecan grower advertised duck hunting on his place. He charged $10.00 a duck and called it ‘Quackto Therapy’. He’d give you the tail feathers with the bill.  end_mark

Baxter Black