Tractor restoration project underway

Three students work on a tractor
Ag Mechanics students work on removing the hood from a 1953 Harry Ferguson tractor.

The Ag Mechanics class at Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School is breathing life into an old tractor.

A somewhat rusty 1953 Harry Ferguson tractor is parked inside the Ag Mechanics shop. The Ferguson Company was a British tractor company founded by Harry Ferguson, that eventually evolved into the Massey-Ferguson company.

“It’s something different,” said Ag Mechanics student Justice Ebert.

The tractor’s arrival at Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School was courtesy of a program from the NY FFA Foundation, which takes in donated tractors and distributes them to schools for restoration. Some of the tractors are then raffled off to collectors to help fund the Foundation.

“We also receive a $2,000 stipend from the FFA Foundation to go towards the cost of restoring the tractor, such as parts, paint and sandblasting,” Ag Mechanics Teacher Taylor Bogardus said.

While Schoharie students have done farm equipment restoration projects in the past, this is the first time the school is participating in this program, according to Bogardus.

The students in Ag Mechanics have so far only worked on small engines and it

A tractor is seen
The 1953 Harris Ferguson tractor recently arrived at the school.

might take a couple months for the restoration, according Bogardus.

“We’ve learned small engines, so they will get to see how it all comes together on a larger tractor,” she said. “There is going to be some repair work and electrical work. This will be their major project for the winter.”

Ebert, who is one of 10 students in the Ag Mechanics class, said they are looking forward to the restoration.

“It can be challenging at some points, but it’s worth it,” he said, as two classmates struggled with rusty bolts holding the hood in place.

Bogardus said it’s a great learning opportunity for her students, who have a range of experience with working on tractors. Some have done work like this before, others didn’t know what a carburetor was.

“The kids are really excited about it. They are hoping to make it look as close to the original as possible,” Bogardus said. “They are just excited about the opportunity. They have worked on small engines, but that is just like the basic bare bones engine. This puts all the parts and pieces together.”