Jennifer Rohrer, media relations coordinator for Northwest Farm Credit Services, was looking to make a splash at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Spokane, Wash.
Her idea: A pink tractor.
“We thought that would be a big deal for that event, and it definitely turned out to be,” Rohrer said. “I swear that every person at that event posted a picture of it on Facebook.”
What Rohrer did not foresee was the widespread embrace of the tractor by other Farm Credit employees. Today the tractor is on display nearly year-round as Farm Credit employees haul it to industry events, community parades and other functions around the Northwest as a way to show the company’s commitment to breast-cancer awareness.
Rohrer estimates the tractor is on display at 50 events each year.
“It is a huge undertaking for our staff,” Rohrer said. “If you’re going to Portland, for instance, it’s probably a six-hour drive one way to Spokane (where the tractor is stored).
“It shows how committed our employees are to their communities,” she said.
The tractor, which will be on display at Northwest Farm Credit Service’s booth at the 2016 Northwest Agricultural Show, was donated to Farm Credit by an Idaho farmer. Paint was donated by a Spokane paint store. And the painting and air-blasting all was done free of charge.
Further, a local mechanic donated his time to fine tune the engine.
“In less than 30 days, it went from a not-running, rusty old tractor to a completely restored bright pink tractor,” Rohrer said. “And the paint job is beautiful.”
Farm Credit also sells supplemental items wherever the tractor is displayed, including pink-tractor shirts, toys and mugs. Proceeds from the sales are distributed to the local breast-cancer awareness organization.
Rohrer estimates the sales have generated more than $100,000 in donations in the two-plus years the tractor has been circulating the Northwest.
In addition to benefiting local breast-cancer awareness organizations, the pink tractor informs urban America of the commitment agriculture has to cancer awareness, Rohrer said.
“When you go to a lot of these cancer-awareness events, you are seeing the big companies like Microsoft, Albertsons and Safeway represented. But agriculture hasn’t been represented,” Rohrer said. “That is one reason why we wanted to do something so big and so different that when you are at these events, you understand that Northwest Farm Credit Services and all of agriculture is behind breast-cancer awareness.
“We wanted to showcase agriculture and cancer awareness in a really big way, and we thought what better way to do that than to paint a tractor bright pink,” she said.
“You see them green. You see them red. You see them blue and orange, but you never see a bright pink tractor,” she said.
“This is also one way to show that Northwest Farm Credit is deeply rooted in our rural communities,” she said.
“It’s part of our value system,” said Mickey Hatley, branch manager of Northwest Farm Credit Services in Salem.