Classic Farm Tractor Calendar Marks 25th Anniversary

A banquet celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the Classic Farm Tractor Calendar, along with a giant birthday cake, and an auction promise a fast start for this year’s Historic Farm Days in Penfield, IL, beginning on July 10 and sponsored by the I&I (Illinois and Indiana) Antique Engine and Tractor Club on their show grounds.  The banquet begins at 5:25 p.m. with Max Armstrong (WGN Radio, Chicago, IL) as emcee and is called the “John Harvey Hootenanny”— a roast and toast – to John Harvey.  When NAFB Honorary Member John Harvey was a public relations manager for DuPont Ag Products in 1988, the company developed a new family of herbicides including a new soybean herbicide, Classic.

The marketing manager for Classic had just returned from Europe where DuPont promoted products with calendars for customers.  ”I want to produce a Classic Car calendar,” he told John. To that John replied, “Let me do some checking around. There may be something more ‘farmer friendly.’”  John checked with a friend about antique tractor restoration and did some research with the editor of Gas Engine Magazine in Lancaster, PA, who told John that the magazine got lots of positive reader reaction when they included photos with captions of restored vintage tractors.  Driving back to his office in Wilmington, DE, John was tossing things around in his head, and suddenly he thought why not classic tractors (instead of classic cars).  Nobody had captured that term.  John placed a full-page ad in Gas Engine Magazine asking people to submit photos and information about their restored tractors, such as John Deere A and B models, Allis-Chalmers WC, Farmall M and H, Ford 9N, Massey, Oliver, and Cat, etc.  The mail poured in, and he took a large U.S. Postal Service canvas bag overflowing with replies and dumped them on the marketing manager’s desk. John told him with a grin, “I think we hit pay dirt.” DuPont introduced the 1990 Classic Farm Tractors Calendar at the 1989 Farm Progress Show in Indiana, where it was hit – a grand slam, John said.  There are dozens of “copy cats” but the DuPont calendar is the original.

When John left DuPont in 1993, the general manager told John he could take the calendar because he had created it. John said, “It was the flagship for my Classic Tractor Fever business, which I had to sell because of health issues in 2011.  However I still select all the tractors and direct the calendar production.”  Following the banquet, an auction of John’s models and memorabilia will be held with proceeds going to Wounded Warriors Project.  John concludes, “May I say, ‘classic tractors collect the nicest people on the planet.’”