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Spotlight on Iowa

First ThingsFollowing the political caucuses earlier this month, the state of Iowa has begun to fade from the daily news feed. In this issue of Farm Collector, we come to the rescue, with articles on collectors and traditions that celebrate Iowa’s agricultural heritage!

I’d like to say this was done by careful design. In fact, as the issue started to come together, the references to Iowa began growing as exponentially as the Powerball jackpot until we were smack dab in the middle of a perfect geographic storm.

But why not Iowa? Why not shed some light on Loren Book’s lifelong collection of Minneapolis-Moline tractors and memorabilia? Decades after meeting the MM line as a pup, pushing a broom around his dad’s dealership in north central Iowa, Loren has evolved into an active promoter, working to preserve the heritage of the Minneapolis line.

And then there’s Corren Olson’s FFA project. It’s not every day a 14-year-old tackles restoration of a 1922 threshing machine built in Iowa. Sensing a teachable moment, Corren – who’s from Albert City, Iowa – both restored the Humming Bird and opened it up for view, creating a highly instructive display.

Hal Colliver’s display of vintage signs is equally instructive. A unique exhibit of Americana in southeast Iowa, Hal’s collection showcases once-familiar names with early gas pumps and phone booths mingled in for good measure. Hundreds of wonderful old signs present a nearly endless visual delight.

We finish off with the Adams Ranch in Odebolt, Iowa. Author Darrell Wrider (an Iowa native, naturally) takes us along for the ride as he travels back in time to the early 1900s. In western Iowa, millionaire W.P. Adams farmed 10 sections with 150 hired hands and more than 200 mules. Adams claimed each and every one of those mules as a personal friend, which suggests to me that he had little hands-on experience with any of them.

Here’s hoping you enjoy this unplanned romp through the Hawkeye state!

P.S. One more plug for Iowa: If you’re of the green-and-yellow persuasion, don’t miss the Gathering of the Green, March 16-19 in Davenport, Iowa. Unparalleled displays, in-depth seminars and outstanding tours make this a must for fans of John Deere – and it’s a pretty darned good cure for cabin fever, too! FC

Leslie C. McManus is the editor of Farm Collector magazine. Contact her via email.