Tractor, Small Engine, and Hand Tool Selection, Use, Maintenance, and Repair for Small to Mid-Scale Sustainable Farms

Project Overview

LS22-383
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2022: $45,320.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Georgia Organics
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Porter Mitchell
Georgia Organics

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: farm implements, technology

    Proposal abstract:

    “Honestly, one of the biggest things I spend my time on is not production, it’s troubleshooting equipment.” “We are so lucky to have someone who can repair tractors in our community, otherwise I don’t think the farm would have made it.” “There are so many pieces of equipment, I have no idea which ones are right for my farm or which ones to invest in first.”  

     

    These are quotes from Georgia farmers that Georgia Organics has heard in the past two months alone. While sustainable agriculture topics like integrated pest management and soil health boast a wealth of online, print, and farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing, practical information on tool use, maintenance, and selection is severely lacking.  

    This project will fill critical gaps in knowledge on sustainable farm production equipment through hosting on-farm demonstrations and workshops for hands-on learning. Georgia Organics will also produce and distribute accompanying instructional videos as an accessible and evergreen resource. Workshops and videos will be based on farm scale and go from small direct-to-consumer market farms (two and four cycle engines and hand tools) to larger, more mid-scale operations (ride-on tractors and attachments).  

    Georgia Organics will host four workshops and produce four videos on the following topics:  

    • Small (ex. BCS walk-behind tractor) use, maintenance, repair, and selecting attachments. 
    • Hand tool use, maintenance, repair, and selecting hand tools for the farm.  
    • Ride-on tractor engine repair, troubleshooting, and maintenance.  
    • Ride-on tractor attachments use, maintenance, and selecting which attachments are best for the farm. 

    Workshops and videos will feature farmers as teachers. Videos will feature Spanish language voice-over translation using native Spanish speakers. Workshops and videos will also include safety information and instruction on how to use tools ergonomically to minimize physical strain. A networking event will immediately follow in-person workshops to foster peer support networks.  

    Georgia Organics is excited to be already piloting tractor and implement education through an on-farm field day in partnership with Little Fox Tractor School and educator Sed Rowe of the Georgia Organic Peanut Cooperative. Little Fox Tractor school was founded by Lindey Kloepfer and Daniel Guzman to be a resource and education hub for small-to-mid scale growers with a specific focus on serving growers of color. Sed Rowe is a prominent Certified Organic hemp and peanut grower from Southeast Georgia. The workshop will focus on basic tractor use and safety, cover cropping methods using tractors, and techniques for improving soil health using tractors. This workshop will take place on November 14.  

      

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Project Objectives:  

    Objective 1:  

    Host four, in-person, hands-on workshops on the following topics:  

    • Small (ex. BCS walk-behind tractor) use, maintenance, repair, and selecting attachments. 
    • Hand tool use, maintenance, repair, and selecting hand tools for the farm.  
    • Ride-on tractor engine repair, troubleshooting, and maintenance.  
    • Ride-on tractor attachments use, maintenance, and selecting which attachments are best for the farm. 

     

    Objective 2:  

    Produce four videos on the following topics with accompanying Spanish translations:  

    • Small (ex. walk-behind tractor) use, maintenance, repair, and selecting attachments and tools. 
    • Hand tool use, maintenance, repair, and selecting hand tools for the farm.  
    • Ride-on tractor engine repair, troubleshooting, and maintenance.  
    • Ride-on tractor attachments use, maintenance, and selecting which attachments are best for the farm. 

     

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.