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You've Come a Long Way, Tractor


In a recent Hutchinson News editorial, Jim Schinstock considered the advances in technology it took for a Kansas farmboy to sit in a swivel chair and stare at a computer screen. As he ponders his swivel chair, he realizes it, too, was invented by a farmboy of sorts—though the man lived in Virginia 200 years ago. The inventor’s name was Thomas Jefferson. But Jefferson didn’t just come up with new chair technology. He was constantly devising ways to make his farm more efficient.

For example, when Jefferson was confronted with erosion on his land, he invented an iron plow that would dig about 3 inches into the soil. The plow then shunted the water down the hill away from his crops.

And farm technologies have continued to evolve since Jefferson. In fact, Schinstock says comparing the tractors he grew up driving to today’s behemoths is like comparing “an old hand crank wall telephone to an iPhone.”