SEYMOUR, Iowa — Ray Cook isn’t sure who has more miles on the motor — him or the 1946 Farmall B his father purchased two months after his birth.
“That tractor is still running, and I guess so am I,” says the 75-year-old retired farmer.
That tractor provided the foundation for a collection of nearly 40 machines representing the Farmall name. All are housed in buildings located on Cook’s south central Iowa farm.
Although Cook has been around Farmall tractors most of his life, his collection did not begin in earnest until 1997.
“My daughter thought we needed to restore that old B, so we fixed it up,” he says. “We went on WHO’s tractor ride and started buying more tractors after that.”
He started with the letter series, which includes the popular M and H models. Cook then went to the 100 series tractors and also owns four Wheatlands and two Crawlers.
Cook has tractors from the 656 class, calling them “my big boys.” His most recent purchase is a 766 black-striped model. That tractor was built in 1975.
“I really enjoy looking at these tractors. I guess I have my whole life,” Cook says. “We had a big dealership in Seymour, and I always liked looking at those red tractors.”
Cook grew corn and soybeans before retiring in 2016.
“Another thing I liked about Farmalls is the fact that if they needed work, I knew how to work on them,” he says. “I have always liked how they ran.”
He starts his tractors at least once a year, taking them down the road to make sure they warm up. Cook primarily checks the oil, water and tires.
“I enjoy that, taking them out and driving them when I can,” he says, adding he has only missed one WHO Radio tractor ride since the event’s inception in 1995.
Cook says his collection would not exist if not for the support of his family.
“If they didn’t like doing this, I wouldn’t have this kind of collection,” he says. “They enjoy it just as much as I do.”
In addition to the big machines, Cook has a collection of Farmall toys, including a toy representing each tractor on his farm.
“We have a tractor room in our house,” he says.
Cook does not anticipate adding more tractors to his collection, but that’s not carved in stone.
“If I see a tractor I like, I might be interested, but I pretty much have what I want,” he says.
Cook says the best part is sharing his collection with others.
“I always tell folks that if they want to see the tractors or even take a ride, just give me a call,” he says. “I love seeing their reactions to my collection.”