Friday, June 29, 2007

Celebrity machinery: a new line of income?

Any farmer with some old machinery around the fields or yard may be considering what’s the best thing to do when it’s time to get rid of it.

There’s always the auction route, but you never what that final bid will look like. There’s a possibility to trade in that machine at a dealership, depending on how well it works. A newspaper classified ad is another option, since one farmer’s junk might be another one’s treasure when it comes to filling a need for parts. More farmers lately have also decided higher scrap metal prices are a nice incentive to clean up some of that broken down machinery piled up around the yard.

And now there’s another option that perhaps has some potential: why not market it a celebrity piece of equipment?

A press release from New Holland explained how a small tractor helped raise $7,100: “The one-of-a-kind New Holland compact tractor autographed by more than two dozen celebrities who competed in the popular “Michael Peterson/New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race” during the 2006 CMA Music Festival Fan Fair in Nashville is now owned by Kyle Wilson, Agro Equipment Co., Uvalde, TX. Wilson was the online auction winner for this first celebrity tractor.”

The money went for a valuable cause. “Proceeds from the auction will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Habitat for Humanity, the charity selected by 2006 Celebrity Tractor Race winner, country music artist Wade Hayes, who also autographed the tractor….

“The winner of the 2007 “Michael Peterson/New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race” which was held on June 10 at this year’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville is Todd Fritsch, country music star. Fritsch beat out 40 other celebrities to win this year’s race and chose Saddle Up!, a therapeutic recreational horseback riding program for children with mental and physical disabilities, for his charity. When this year’s celebrity-autographed tractor is auctioned off, the proceeds will be split between the National FFA and Saddle Up!” said the release.

The tractor that was auctioned off was a blue New Holland TZ22DA Boomer sub-compact tractor with a 60” mower deck.

True, it looks a bit smaller, newer and cleaner than some of the machinery around farms, but don’t give up. Remember, the autographs on the machine will be worth more than the nice paint job and whether the machinery actually works.

Why, who knows, someone might think a few layers of rust and dust add authenticity and show this is a longtime, hard-working machine that deserves respect.

So gather up those who tractors, plows, seeders, and anything else you can find, and start writing celebrities and their agents. It’s time to start a campaign to encourage celebrities to autograph farm machinery; even better, warmly invite the celebrities to work an hour or two on the fields sitting in the seats of those tractors, combines or swathers. That way, it’s easier to market as being actually operated by the star, the celebrity gains a whole new appreciation for the job of a farmer — and some work gets done, too.

When selling the machinery later, explain it’s for a good cause: you can donate funds to FFA, 4-H or another organization that benefits your community.

Or, use the money to help your own bottom line. You deserve a few extra dollars for helping feed the world.

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