Ivar Riding Tractor

My friend Ben manages a landscaping business and let me borrow his Kubota sub-compact tractor. I fell in love. What used to take me 4 hours of back-breaking manual labor could be done in 20 minutes at the helm of this beautiful machine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t persuade Ben to sell.

My brother-in-law once told me: “Don’t be one of those guys who waits 10 years to buy a tractor and then wishes he had bought one 10 years ago.” I’m inclined to agree. So I take with great seriousness the occasion of finding a tractor. But where do I start?

Have you ever been to a farm auction? If you don’t already know everything about the machine or implement you want to buy, including its fair market price, you might end up with a 6-ton paper weight.

There’s the local tractor dealer. But buying new just doesn’t seem right, especially when I won’t be production farming for a profit.¬†Craigslist and classifieds leave me in a similar lurch as the farm auction. Since I’ve never owned a tractor, I don’t know which questions to ask the seller, or how to spot a lemon.

So that pretty much leaves the one option that works quite well, if you have the patience: word of mouth. I’ve started “putting the word out” to friends in the area. Apparently there’s a guy down the road that’s got a reputation for finding tractors. I’ve been assured he’s the one to talk to. Never would have known tractor hunting was a skill, but now I do because I know I don’t have it.

I’m used to being able to find everything I need on a store shelf. But it doesn’t work that way out here. They don’t sell tractors at The Home Depot. Out here, relationships are the cash crop.