Indiana apple-orchard owner John Shepherd claimed the grand prize in Bobcat’s “Great Bobcat Tractor Pull” contest, which asked entrants to tell a story describing how they would use a Bobcat compact tractor. Shepherd, a resident of Porter, Indiana, received a Bobcat CT235 compact tractor and implements package.
Shepherd’s submission told the story of a modern “Green Acres” farm. He described his wife as a “city girl” and himself as “kind of country.” The couple settled on a 25-acre orchard on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan, about an hour’s train ride to Chicago.
Shepherd’s orchard is most known for its apples, but also grows cherries, plums, peaches, pears and blackberries. He uses his own beehives on the orchard as well, helping with both the growth of the orchard and providing honey for friends and family.
Bobcat chose Shepherd because his story detailed specifically how he would use the tractor to move bee hives, put up fencing and plant trees in the orchard. Shepherd explained how the tractor would make work much easier on his “55-year-old bones” and allow the orchard to produce the best fruit possible.
“The results: a well cared-for orchard, happy bees, and sticky smiles on city kids’ faces as they bite into an apple that Tom Jefferson once grew,” Shepherd says.
The second-place prize winner, Lucas Greff of Elgin, North Dakota, received a Bobcat 220 utility vehicle to help him re-establish the family farm he grew up on.
Greff told the story of his childhood memories and life lessons of the family farm, which ended at the age of 17 when his parents were forced to abandon farming and go to work elsewhere because of low prices and large loans. One of his regrets in abandoning farm work was that his little brother, 4 years old at the time, would never grow up on a working farm.
In the last few years, a neighbor asked Greff’s father for help taking care of his cattle for the winter. In return, Greff’s father would receive a share of the cattle. The Greff family jumped back into the saddle.
The main problem for the family was the old tractor from the previous farming days. The tractor’s time was running out and the family knew they would need a new one before taking on more cattle.
“Seeing the homestead farm actively running cattle again after 10 years of dormancy brings me great pride,” Greff says. He is happy that his brother finally has the opportunity to work on a family farm.
Bobcat’s contest asked contestants to write a story about how a Bobcat compact tractor would pull them out of tough jobs. The contest lasted from March to August of this year, picking monthly winners throughout the contest. The contest’s 15 third-place winners received Bobcat jackets for telling their stories.
Lucas Greff, second-place contest winner, and family on the re-established family farm in Elgin, North Dakota.