From steam-powered tractors to wheat harvests, the old days will be active in eastern Iowa this July.
The blend of history and agriculture at the Brown Pioneer Farm Days is a great fit for chairman Jim Greif, who farms near Monticello. Bringing history to the farm is something he enjoys and wants to share.
“It started out as a simple threshing show,” Greif said. “Then the historical society got involved with it and they’ve got a lot more going on. It’s evolved to having a permanent sawmill on site.”
Every year Greif and other collectors show off their antique tractors, and with the evolution of the Pioneer Farm Days, it can be more than that. Antique cars, Civil War-era encampments and other parts of history are on display at the show which runs July 24 and 25 near Central City, Iowa.
“The sawmill is run with steam engines, we have steam tractors and are featuring the JI-Case brand of equipment — the original yellow ones — and the Northland Case Collectors are having their regional show here,” Greif said.
Greif said planning and coordinating an event like this takes time, but having done this every year since 2007, the show gets a little easier to arrange.
Finding collectors isn’t as hard as one would think, he said, as farmers can be very brand loyal and like to hold on to parts of both their own personal history and agricultural history. He said the biggest challenge is booking some of the collector groups due to crowded schedules.
“My wife says, ‘I can’t believe there’s as many weird people as you are in the world,’” Greif said. “There’s a tractor group for everybody. We are trying to get a major group next year and most of the major clubs are booked out until 2026 or 2027. We are struggling to get a brand name we haven’t featured before for next year.”
While the antique tractors are fun to see, Greif said one of his favorite parts is the wheat threshing. He takes care of the crop throughout the year and participates in the field exhibits using some of his own antique equipment.
“I have steam tractors and 100-year-old tractors, and my place is out in the field,” Greif said.
“It takes (time) and everyone who has a steam-engine tractor, that’s their baby. That’s a living-breathing thing with things you have to watch. There are a lot of aspects to keep in mind with those and they take supervision.”
Greif said there will also be a horse plowing team as well as a Model A car group from Cedar Rapids at the show.
The Brown Pioneer Farm Show was able to go on as scheduled last year, albeit with some changes due to the pandemic. However, having fewer restrictions this year is welcome for Greif and he expects a good crowd of people to arrive.
“You don’t know what to expect and it’s dependent on weather, but this could be a big one,” Greif said.
“People are looking to get out and do things again. We were having a little trouble with food vendors due to the help shortage, but I think we have that covered. We have our own ice cream machine this year, so we will definitely have ice cream on site.”
The show runs July 24 and 25 at the Brown Farm, located at 1361 Sawyer Road in Central City, Iowa.