Charcoal is shoveled into the furnace of a steam driven tractor that powers a belt powered antique threshing machine in the 1900 era village at the Iowa Living History Farms, Urbandale, IA, on Aug. 5, 2017.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue is here for the annual Grain Harvest Festival which features the 1910 75-horsepower Case “Montana Special” steam tractor, owned by Nick Foster. This model of tractore is known as a breaker, because it was used to initially breakup the Montana prairie soil. The special purpose 3-foot wide rear wheels were needed for when the Montana soil became soft. Operating the tractor are Clara Bergman and Connor Wilson who have been learning about antique farm steam engines and tractor operation from Foster. Today, the thresher is being used to separates oat seeds from the harvested plant. The farm visitors are able to learn about mid-west rural life and the agricultural science and engineering of the past three centuries.
His stop here is part of a five-state RV tour, featuring stops in five states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana; titled the “Back to Our Roots” Tour, he is gathering input on the 2018 Farm Bill and increasing rural prosperity, Aug. 3-8, 2017. Along the way, Perdue will meet with farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, students, governors, Members of Congress, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees, and other stakeholders. This is the first of two RV tours the secretary will undertake this summer. “The ‘Back to our Roots’ Farm Bill and rural prosperity RV listening tour will allow us to hear directly from people in agriculture across the country, as well as our consumers – they are the ones on the front lines of American agriculture and they know best what the current issues are,” Perdue said. “USDA will be intimately involved as Congress deliberates and formulates the 2018 Farm Bill. We are committed to making the resources and the research available so that Congress can make good facts-based, data-driven decisions. It’s important to look at past practices to see what has worked and what has not worked, so that we create a farm bill for the future that will be embraced by American agriculture in 2018.” For social media purposes, Secretary Perdue’s Twitter account (@SecretarySonny) will be using the hashtag #BackToOurRoots. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. Original public domain image from Flickr