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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Feb 14, 2014

This past weekend a major television network aired a show that celebrated 50 years since the Beatles first appeared in the U.S., on its own network coincidentally.

It even hyped it as “The Night that Changed America.”

I don’t know if I would go that far in describing the Beatles’ arrival in America, but it was their show, and they could call it anything they want.

I really suspect they were trying to pull in viewers they were afraid were watching the Olympics on another network and did not want to be left behind.

I like competition. It keeps everybody on their toes.

But if we are going back 50 years to an event that made such a lasting change that 50 years later, it is worthy of recognition, then I would say let’s have a television show honoring 50 years since John Deere introduced the 4020.

Yes, that is right. I equate the 4020 John Deere with the Beatles.

I remember watching the Beatles that evening on television. It was new, interesting, and fun. It was a significant event.

But I also remember when about four years earlier, John Deere decided to drop its two-cylinder engine, the only engine that was in their tractor line going way back, in favor of four- and six-cylinder models and called the departure New Generation.

My dad traded in his 720 diesel (still my favorite John Deere) for a 4010 diesel. Then four years later, his 830 diesel was replaced by a 4020 diesel that had something new called a power shift transmission.

Things were really happening in the tractor world.

I was a John Deere loyalist through all my years growing up right up to the time when upon completion of college, I interviewed both John Deere and International Harvester for employment, was hired by IH and ignored by John Deere.

As a loyal fan of John Deere I watched IH’s introduction of tractors such as the 806 as attempts to keep up with its green competitor who seemed incapable of making a mistake.

Whenever John Deere did something, it was as if the challenge was made saying, “Okay, IH, what are you going to do?”

First it was Deere’s 4010 and IH’s 806. Then it was the 4020 and the 856. I still find the 56-line of tractors as pleasing to the eye as any tractors ever built.

Once again, competition was keeping everybody on their toes.

Here it is 50 years later, John Deere still seems incapable of making a mistake, as dominant as ever, and IH is a faded memory along with Allis-Chalmers and Ford.

Steigers in lime green have come and gone. Who would have predicted all that?

Red paint can still be bought on farm equipment, but the red paint comes from somebody called Case New Holland. What? How do you mix Case’s creamy shade of orange with New Holland (actually Ford) blue to make red?

That is the price of competition, be it network programming, the Olympics, or adventures in farm equipment.

What will we be celebrating 50 years from now that is happening today? That would make me 106 years old so I do not plan on being part of any observance, at least not as a mortal.

I can’t see anything in today’s music that is worthy of remembering beyond a few weeks at best.

My favorite rock and roll is pre-Beatles. Put on something by Jay and the Americans or the Drifters – now that is real music.

Farm equipment 50 years from now and agriculture in general is anybody’s guess.

I am sure it will be bigger, faster and better because that has been happening for more than 100 years.

Will farm equipment 50 years from now that is painted green still say John Deere? Or it may say John Deere, but the company headquarters are in China? Hmmmm.

I am also sure someone in my family will talk about how farm equipment has changed since their father and grandfather farmed with that mix of red, green, and orange (yes, we have those, too) farm equipment.

It keeps us on our toes.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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