Last year, I wrote an article about looking for last-minute gifts at equipment dealerships, Tractor Supply, Farm & Fleet, Rural King and the like. While I received great suggestions from those retailers and companies producing farm toys, tools and outdoor power products, I feel that I may have left out gifts for some of the most important people on the farm — wives, mothers and daughters.
Now, I’m not saying women wouldn’t care for farm tools. After all, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, 30 percent of all farm operators in the U.S. are women. And, of the total female farmers in 2010, over 280,000 were principal operators, that is, the person in charge of the farm’s day-to-day operations.
It would seem, then, that a trip to pick up a new set of wrenches, gloves, hats, boots, and so on would be appropriate if you have a female farm operator on your gift list.
Still, there may be some on your list who might want other gifts. For some of us, this poses a slight problem.
For example, the other day, I was talking with a long-time family friend and farm operator, Don Guinnip. Don tells me that he’s not a great shopper, unless, of course, the shopping occurs at the local equipment dealership or Tractor Supply. Fortunately for Don, these places offer a treasure trove of gift ideas.
Of course, you might think that heading out to an equipment dealership would score only branded items such as a T-shirt, jacket or cap. But whether you’re a fan of John Deere, AGCO or Case IH, some of those dealers are now stocking a variety of more unique branded items for women, including scarves, tote bags, belts and buckles, computer bags, leather wallets and much more. The clothing has become more diverse, with offerings that include hoodies, half-zip pull-overs, golf Dri-FIT polos and athletic pants.
The major equipment companies aren’t the only ones offering branded items. Stihl, for example, offers clothing, lunch coolers, travel mugs, and wood-cut Christmas ornaments, as well as hand tools, protective sunglasses, hearing protectors and more.
Being a John Deere fan, my wife, Sue, enjoys wearing some of their branded clothing. Just not all the time. No problem. Blain’s Farm & Fleet carries a bunch of brand-name clothing such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Alfred Dunner, Sketchers and Fox River. If she’s going to be working outside, there’s Columbia, Champion, Dickies and Carhartt clothing for women.
The Tractor Supply store is a bit closer for us, though. A quick look at the company’s website shows a surprise: TSC carries jewelry from Montana Silversmiths. Plus, while jewelry armoires are not sold in TSC stores, you can order them at the company’s website, www.tractorsupply.com.
Your list might include women who also dig, cut, split, garden, build, repair, mow and handle dozens of other chores around the farm. Check out the Barbara K line of power tools. The cordless power screwdriver is the best-selling power tool of the line. It’s lightweight and easy to use. Check them out at Home Depot.
If it’s really getting close to Christmas day, here’s a tip: Pull a photo of the product off the company’s website and wrap it up. The recipient will be thrilled to know that something nice is still on its way to her door.
Also on the way to all our great readers out there: Wishes for a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Michael Gustafson has written for and about farm equipment companies, their products and dealerships for more than 40 years, including 25 years with John Deere. He lives on an acreage in Dennison, Ill.