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Repairing and maintaining agricultural equipment is a fertile field for qualified technicians and counter people. Creative applications of baling wire and duct tape are no longer sufficient solutions for ensuring that a modern farm’s increasingly sophisticated machinery remains fully operational.
Although the available training resources are frequently grouped under the heading of “diesel mechanic,” agriculture’s requirements entail a broader set of skills that go beyond standard powertrain issues.
In addition to specialized functions performed by tractors, combines and other vehicles (plus complex attachments like seeders, spreaders, etc.), a lot of the equipment is going nowhere, as evidenced by stationary apparatus such as irrigation pumps and other systems vital for livestock survival and weather-sensitive planting and harvesting.
Forming a bucket brigade during an irrigation outage, for instance, would be woefully inadequate for a large ranch or poultry house utilizing a landlocked wellhead linked to a maze of feeder lines. Vast amounts of water are consumed 24/7 for both drinking and waste removal, and a repairer needs to be readily equipped with the ability and components to troubleshoot and promptly fix the problem.
Whenever and wherever a breakdown occurs, speed and competence are critical.
“If they can’t get their parts and their equipment repaired, they can’t get the work done that they need to do,” says Bill Grandy, an instructor at the New Castle School of Trades, with locations in New Castle, Pa., East Liverpool, Ohio and Baltimore.
“Traveling technicians” with mobile repair trucks are particularly well-positioned to serve an agricultural customer base.
At Pine Run Farm Repair in Burbank, Ohio, “Our two fully equipped service trucks accommodate all onsite repairs,” reports owner Jim Flynn.