Farm trucks come in many different types and sizes. They range from one ton duelly's to 4 cylinder Toyotas. Also carrying the "farm truck" badge you will find many different types of SUV's including the indestructible Jeep. But regardless of what you use as a "farm truck" the purpose of the vehicle remains the same.
Most vehicles don't fall into the "farm truck" category until they are at least 10 years old. There are exceptions, but one would question their authenticity. Part of being a farm truck is acquiring years of character and continually proving to be useful in every situation. The title "Farm Truck" is earned over many years of service. Many times a farm truck will even earn a name as well as a reputation around the farm. The farm truck is where every kid learned to drive as soon as they could reach the pedals. The farm truck is as endearing as it is necessary and we all have one that we love.
At Eden Shale we have a "farm truck" that we love. Her name is Brownie. She is a 1996 Ford F-150. She is equipped with the 300 straight six engine paired to a 5 speed manual transmission. Brownie has limited slip differentials in front and back, so when locked in 4-wheel drive all four wheels are pulling to get you through what ever obstacle lies in front of you. In the five years at Eden Shale she has never gotten stuck.
Greg bought Brownie brand new back in 1996. It served as his primary vehicle for several years pulling a horse trailer and taking care of the general farm chores. Over the course of her life she has acquired 223,000+ hard earned miles. Like most farm trucks, she runs like a top, but don't mistaken that to mean she is fast. Brownie never leaves the farm unless she has to make the 5 mile trip to Southern States to fill up both of her fuel tanks. Comfortable cruising speed is about 45 miles per hour. Anything over that starts to get a little nerve racking as things begin to shimmy and shake. And even if you were brave enough to put her in 5th gear, there would be so much dust and dirt swirling around you probably couldn't see to keep her on the road!
The interior of Brownie is the same color as the outside, dirt brown. It is the perfect color scheme for a farm truck. Dust and dirt blend right in, scratches hardly even show up, and the rust just blends right in. Greg always says there is one rule when riding in Brownie, don't get it dirty...
There are several common items that you will find inside every farm truck. The first thing is a random assortment of tools. There aren't many common chores that a farm truck is always prepared for. Need to rehang a gate-got it. Need to fix some fence-no problem. Clutch go out on the tractor and it needs to be split open and fixed right in the field- yep it can do that too!
A good farm truck also serves as a mobile office. This is a place where many of the farms decisions are made and it will always have at least 6 months of receipts on hand at any given time; pending you didn't use 5th gear as mentioned above...
With so many tools and farm records on board it is important to have a security system to protect it all. Seeing that if you remove the key from the ignition it may never start again so locking the doors is not an option. That is why farm trucks are protected by large intimidating dogs. You have a lot to keep safe, so do not trust it to a yappy lap dog. Brownie uses an 90 lb Great Pyrenees named Allice. We've never lost anything...
The rest of the interior of Brownie is basic farm truck décor. The steering wheel is wrapped in black tape, the headlight knob fell off so the lights are turned on by pulling a zip tie, and the dash has enough dust on it you can barely see the gauges.
Brownie also has some character markings both on the dash and on the head liner. Story goes that when Greg's boys were little they were "helping" him around the farm one day. Greg got out of the truck to shut a gate and when he returned they both had a pair of fencing pliers and were using the hook end to knock holes in the dash and head liner with lasting results.
Brownie's exterior boast of her years of service. The passenger side has two distinguishing dents in the side of the bed which includes the appropriate amount of rust for a 22 year old pickup. The right tail light is now being held in place with duct tape.
The front has its distinguishing marks as well. The bumper hangs low on the drivers side and the passenger headlight is held in place by fencing wire. The grill is busted from a steel post that nearly made its way through the radiator in which the flattened radiator fins are still noticeable.
In the rear you will notice that that tailgate has long since been removed/lost and a rough cut piece of 2x6 is now serving in its absence. Brownie carries all the essential farm truck items: Random pieces of garden hose, cow paddle, pitch fork, empty mineral sacks, a spare tire, and enough baling twine to rehang every gate on the farm. You will also notice that Brownie has a custom made rear bumper. Because nothing says "farm truck" like a 12 inch solid steel bumper.
Brownie is 100% pure farm truck and she spends her days doing farm truck things. Over the past five years we have used her to do numerous things around the farm. She hauls feed to the calves everyday and makes the rounds checking all of the stock.
Below, notice Allice in the back seat and Bob the cow dog in the front.
Brownie has even moved entire herds by herself when we need to get the cows to the barn.
Like all farm trucks Brownie does her share of fencing, and clearing fields after each storm.
Brownie serves as a ladder when putting up the shade structures in the spring and taking them down in the fall.
The first three years we operated the farm we only had one tractor. That meant that Greg used Brownie to rake hay while I operated the baler. It was not the ideal situation but she got the job done.
Because of the high amounts of wind we get at Eden Shale Farm, we had to rehang our farm sign once after a big storm. Brownie was there for the job.
Brownie has also attended numerous farm meetings, tours, and field days that were held at the farm.
As hard working and dependable as they are, farm trucks do break down from time to time. However, a farm truck doesn't go to the shop the first time something breaks. Instead you start a list of things that need fixed, and once the list gets so long you finally have to load her on a trailer to get her to the shop because she simple won't go no more.
But don't be alarmed, a farm truck will always find a way to get back to the job at hand taking care of the important work on the farm no matter what you throw at them, and for that we love our "Farm Trucks".
Please share your favorite farm truck stories, make and model, or photo in the comments.
Hello, my name is Dan Miller and I work for the Kentucky Beef Network. KBN took over operation of the Eden Shale Farm in April of 2013. We are using the 961 acre farm as a demonstration and learning center for beef cattle producers. This blog serves as a place to document daily farm activity and host discussions about the demonstrations being implemented. I hope you find this information useful and that you come visit us at Eden Shale Farm.