From the Madison Community Garden Steering Committee:
The Madison Community Garden Committee thanks Dan Miller, who owns a farm in Green Village, for plowing the garden with his 1954 Ferguson 30 tractor.
This lightweight but heavy-duty tractor was exactly what was needed to turn over the heavy, wet sod.
The Madison Community Garden Committee is racing the calendar to get the garden ready for spring planting. The next step will be installing water spigots and electricity and erecting a deer-proof fence. The garden is located in the 49-acre Madison Recreation Center off Rosedale Avenue.
The Community Garden is divided into 60 10-foot by 20-foot plots. Plots are being assigned on a first-come-first-served basis to Madison residents. Applications are available from www.rosenet.org.
Although Miller’s Ferguson 30 has been working since 1954, it’s nowhere near retirement age. The Ferguson tractor was designed by Harry Ferguson, a mechanical genius who was the first Briton to build and fly his own airplane. Ferguson realized that transferring the weight of the plowing to a tractor’s rear wheels increased traction. This design allowed a lightweight tractor to do the work of much heavier tractors.
In 1938, Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford entered into a “handshake agreement” to produce the Ford 9N, which was a Ford tractor with the Ferguson hydraulic draft control system. After the war, the Ford Motor Company, under the direction of Ford’s grandson, Henry Ford II, stopped paying royalties to Ferguson. Ferguson sued, and Ford ended up having to pay Ferguson the largest settlement it had ever had to pay.
In 1948, Ferguson started producing his T-20 tractor with a Continental Z-120 engine in Detroit. The Z-120 was the same engine as in the Triumph TR-2 sports car. Within a few years, Ferguson started producing the T-30, with a Continental Z-129 engine. Ferguson tractors have been all over the world. Several have even been to the South Pole. Ferguson’s company eventually merged with Massey-Harris of Canada to form Massey-Ferguson, which is still producing tractors and other agricultural machinery today.