FFA tractor project does some good

Kyle Junk, Mishicot FFA
Mishicot FFA members recently fixed up an old John Deere tractor.

Mishicot — The National FFA Convention impacts thousands of people every year. In 2014, this event inspired three high school students from Mishicot to start their very own project to impact themselves and the entire community. We started a tractor restoration project that educated students and raised money to benefit the Mishicot FFA chapter.

To start this project, we came up with a plan and determined how much money it would cost to start this project. We proceeded to ask the Mishicot FFA Alumni to loan us $3,000 to begin this project, and they agreed to lend us the money. We then purchased a 1940 John Deere B from a local farmer and two-cylinder collector. We brought it back to our shop and started working on disassembling the tractor.

In the process, we recruited sponsors to help subsidize the many costs it would take to restore the tractor. We went to our local John Deere Dealership, Eis Implement, who was happy to provide us the parts at cost. We got everything apart down to the main casing and knew we needed a lot of motor work because of the No. 2 cylinder being tight and the extreme pitting in the cylinder and head. We went to Manitowoc Motor Machining and Parts, which went above and beyond helping us; they taught us how to work with their machines and let us use their shop. They donated their time, which racked up to about $3,000.

Along the way, we saw many problems we needed to address, such as an extremely expensive and rare rim that was cracked. With the help and donations of Manitowoc Motor Machine and Parts, we got the rim in perfect condition.

We have had so much help along the way from our school, FFA Alumni and community. Two local farmers, Leon and Laura Schmidt, let us use their shop, where we were able to sandblast, body fill, paint and assemble. We got the tractor up to showroom quality and took it to shows, the State FFA Convention and Motorama.

In May 2016, we began the raffle process. We took our tractor everywhere we could and sold tickets. Finally, during Mishicot Riverfest we drew the winning ticket, which went to Scott Anhalt, a Mishicot FFA Alumni member. As a result of the outstanding support of our community, we were also pleased to give away two $500 cash prizes and four $250 gift cards to Eis Implement and Manitowoc Motor Machine and Parts to give back to our two key sponsors for all of their help. We brought in $10,500, which pulled us to a profit of $5,500 that went right back into the Mishicot FFA Chapter.

I would like to again thank all of our sponsors and people that helped contribute to this successful project and to those who bought raffle tickets and made this a success!

So often, we only hear about the negative issues in our news. This positive story shows the great things happening in Mishicot schools, the National FFA Organization, and with a group of inspired and empowered students who had a dream.