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Now that the weather is finally cooperating, most prairie farmers are out working in their fields. But they have a lot of lost time to make up for. And it’s during those hectic days of playing catch up when things usually seem to go wrong. Sometimes instead of covering acres, you find yourself repairing a breakdown. When that happens, the inevitable face full of dust and skinned knuckles only help ratchet up the frustration level. 

I can recall instances of being in a hurry to get going again and what should be a simple and quick fix just refuses to work. Only after a lot of wasted field time did I finally figure out why. As my blood pressure rose on those occasions, I have to admit there were times when I was tempted―at least for a moment―to set the machine on fire and just forget about farming.

Something I read last week made me glad to know even the best of us have have had that urge at least once.

It started with a tweet from Case IH saying they had played host to the descendants of Jerome Increase Case. (Yes, that really was his middle name.)  He was the founder of the original J.I. Case company. Apparently, a few of his great-great-grandchildren, who now have nothing to do with the company that has morphed into Case IH, were curious about how things were going at the modern facility once held by the family. So they contacted CNH management (Case IH’s parent company) and asked if they could have a look around the Racine, Wisconsin, facility that turns out tractors.

JI Case.jpg

Jerome Increase Case. During his tenure as president of the company, Case manufactured more threshing machines and steam engines than any other company in history. Photo courtesy Case IH.

The tour turned into a half-day event with a total of five of J.I.’s descendants having a look around. And it garnered a little local media attention. During an interview with the Journal Times, J.I. Case III told a story about his great-great-grandfather that has been repeated in family circles for years. It shows how the original J.I. was obsessed with producing high quality products when he ran things in Racine.

This is how J.I Case III related the story, according to the Journal Times: “After visiting a Minnesota farmer who couldn’t get his Case threshing machine to work properly―and after failing to fix it for him―Case calmly asked for some turpentine. “He doused it (the threshing machine) and set it on fire and said, ‘We’ll send a new one tomorrow.’”

I bet the service manager at your local dealership has never done that for you.


About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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