I spent last week back east visiting my uncle and cousins at the Young family farm, where my uncle, who grew up there, now raises goats, grains and vegetables and boards horses on the property. My grandfather (Pappy) wasn't raised on a farm, but as a young man he built an old style dairy farm - a farm that not only made a living but fed his family as well. The dairy farm wasn't limited to milking cows; this family farm, like so many in that era, raised pigs, chickens, horses and grew corn, oats, rye; had a full vegetable garden as well as pasture land, an orchard and berry patch.
At that time, farming was done by horses. But in the mid-1930s, despite the Depression, Pappy saw the future coming. He brought a Massey-Harris tractor and leased more land to farm. Pappy, like many other farmers, not only hung on through the Depression but became one of the early adopters of "some of the most revolutionary new agricultural technologies to come along."
In the 1950s, when New Holland came out with an improved small rectangular hay baler, Pappy stepped up again. The first farmer in the area to own a baler, he hired out and baled every bale of hay in the county for several years. Eventually other farmers bought their own balers but by then he'd paid his off. He sold the old baler and paid cash for the new improved model. My grandfather understood what created value.
My time on the farm came much later. By then, the diversity of Pappy's agricultural activities, combined with his interest in agricultural technology, had made the farm a playground for a little boy! You can bet I had the time of my life climbing all over that farm equipment (much of it farm-made), pulling levers and dreaming of operating the tractors, cultivators, combines, planters, mowers, and figuring out what each piece of equipment did and how. Even better was riding along with my grandfather, helping to run the equipment that was actually discing, planting, mowing, baling, etc. The real highlight of those visits? Early mornings riding with him as he took out the manure spreader, spending one-on-one time with my very busy grandfather in the quiet of the morning ...
My Pappy isn't on the farm anymore, but when I was there last week, his 3-year-old great-grandson spent every minute he could clambering onto the farm equipment, just like I had when I was a kid. He was especially fascinated by the tractors and spent many happy hours riding in and pretending to drive them with his Pappy, my uncle. He even "drove" a skid steer! Watching him brought back great memories of the hours I would spend in the machine shed climbing over tractors, discs, plows, planters, cultivators, choppers, combines, mowers, trucks, wagons ... coming back to the dinner table that evening asking Pappy lots of questions about what things were, how they worked and why why why ...
Often when people learn I'm an equipment appraiser, they want to know how in the world I wound up with that career. It's a good question that I generally answer by saying that I've always been interested in how things work and what creates value in society.
Watching my Uncle Tom's grandson climbing all over ag equipment at the family farm, wanting just one more tractor ride from his Pappy like I always wanted from mine, makes me wonder if the seeds for my equipment appraiser career were planted by those days on the farm with my Pappy. And I wonder if there might not be another equipment appraiser in the family eventually ...
Jack Young, ASA, CPA is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) of the American Society of Appraisers specializing in Machinery and Equipment Appraisals and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Mr. Young has also been awarded a Master Personal Property Appraiser (MPPA) designation from the National Auctioneers Association. He has thousands of hours experience as an Equipment Appraiser and is an active member of the Northern California Chapter of the ASA, where he serves as Chapter President.
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