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Views and opinions: Missouri FFA kids restore 1951 tractor with a grant

Richland in Pulaski County, Mo., is an area rich in Farmall heritage. Shane Kardosz is the Richland High School ag teacher, and shared a bit of history about the 1951 Super C his FFA kids completed.

Restoring the tractor is a chance to teach students the basics of mechanics. The Richland FFA restores a tractor once every three years, and while restorations can be costly, thankfully they have assistance. “We got a grant through the Missouri Farmall Collectors Club. The tractor has to be owned by us, then we the provide receipts,” he explained.

The grant was quite generous – $2,000. To get started on a restoration, the first thing for the group was to find the tractor. “We have a tractor drive in the spring,” Shane said. “I told the guys, ‘I need a tractor.’ A week later, my grand-uncle, my grandpa’s brother, Uncle Lloyd, said, ‘I’ve got a tractor.’”

Lloyd Zeigenbein and his wife, Veda, donated the 1951 Super C. Sadly, since the FFA completed the restoration, Lloyd has passed away. The Super C has become a sentimental tractor to the FFA students, as well, because they found out it was originally purchased in Richland and now has come back home. This is similarly important to Shane, who graduated from Richland High.

The restoration was a complete one, down to bare metal. The kids even painted the tractor. Shane said, “We’ve had the brakes replaced, the axle housing rewired and the tractor put back to a 6-volt true to the era. It took forever to rebuild. Everything is as period-correct as we could make it.”

The students who worked on the project were Ethan Adams, Jacob Blank, Dillon Zeigenbein, Logan Lugena and Tyler Bolan. The tractor won’t be around forever: “We have to sell it as part of our grant. We are just not sure what we are going to do yet,” Shane said.

The grant to restore the FFA tractor came from the local International Harvester Collectors Chapter I Club, of which James Mitschele is part. He and his wife, Tana, recently returned from this year’s big IH event, the Red Power Round Up in Montgomery, Ala. James is a farmer and, with his son Wayne (who also works at the Richland MFA), operates a cow-calf operation and grows 700 acres of hay.

James is retired from Ft. Leonard Wood, where he worked as a mechanic. He grew up on IH and that is how his love of the brand came about. The family, including other son Jimmy, have a bevy of Farmall tractors, including a 1938 9-speed M Farmall with a V-8 that James said is a great for tractor rides. The latest acquisition is a Farmall Super A that Tana gave James.

The first Farmall he ever had was an IH B. “It belonged to my grandpa. He used mules before he got the tractor. Grandpa used it to rake hay, and now I’ve got it on a feeder … He had a buzz saw on it and used it first to cut lumber, and then he mowed hay with it. I helped him put up hay.”

The Mitschele family loves Ms; in fact, James has four of them. One belongs to Jimmy; the second, 1942 M is what James calls the “Old M,” and then there are two identical 9-speed Ms. While there is no longer an IH dealership in Richland, or even locally, the love for Farmall red still is strong in Pulaski County.

For information about the Richland FFA and its restored Super C, Shane can be reached at work at 573-765-3711.


Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication. Learn more of Cindy’s finds and travel in her blog, “Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl,” at