VALLEYFORD, Wash. — In a world of red and green tractors, one little pink tractor is striking a chord.
Northwest Farm Credit Services and AgDirect have partnered to use the pink tractor to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Farm Credit takes the tractor to community events and breast cancer awareness races around the region, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
“Every single person, I swear, took a picture in front of that tractor — it’s like a magnet, people are drawn to it,” said Jennifer Rohrer, public relations and communications coordinator for Northwest Farm Credit. “We get more people coming up to us, telling their story. Everyone seems to know someone who farmed, or their grandpa farmed, or someone farmed.”
Michal Armstrong, former chief financial officer of the credit service, died of breast cancer 10 years ago. The company wanted to showcase its appreciation for breast cancer awareness, Rohrer said.
“It’s going to affect farmers and ranchers,” she said. “Every single person we know has been affected in some way, shape or form by breast cancer specifically. We’re there for them, just like we are when it comes to helping out on the farm.”
Diane Mock, senior credit underwriter for Farm Credit, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013. After a double mastectomy, she was determined to be cancer-free in October.
“When I see the tractor, it’s a lot of emotion for me,” she said. “It’s a celebration of life, it’s hope. There’s a lot of women out there battling breast cancer right now. Everyone knows somebody who has had cancer.”
Rohrer said Farm Credit raised a total of roughly $15,000 at different events.
Rohrer and Chad Goldsmith, territory manager for Washington and Oregon for AgDirect, an equipment financing program offered by partner Farm Credit operations, including Northwest Farm Credit Services, called around to see if anyone had a pink tractor.
“When we told everyone why, they thought it was a great cause,” Goldsmith said.
Worley, Idaho, farmers Chad and Clarence Haeg were willing to sell an International 330 tractor from the mid 1950s that they’d been using as a snowplow, which AgDirect purchased for $5,000. Teams sanded the tractor and John Marshall of Landcraft Repair in Ritzville, Wash., volunteered to paint it pink.
Everything involving the tractor was donated, Rohrer said.
Farm Credit also offers Pink Tractor T-shirts. All proceeds go to breast cancer research.
“The more (the tractor) goes out, the more people will say, ‘Maybe I should get involved,’” Mock said. “You never know when you can touch somebody’s life.”
The pink tractor is primarily for display at events. Is there a chance that we may start seeing pink tractors running in farmers’ fields?
“There’s progressive farmers out there — I’ll never say never,” Goldsmith said.