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Why do farmers and ranchers name their equipment?

By: Lara de Moissac

February 19, 2021

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It’s a pretty common practice around a farm to name something as a quick identifier — your favourite cow, the barn cat that’s a great mouser, a specific piece of land, or even a piece of equipment. There are often so many pieces of equipment on a farm or ranch that if they’re not named or numbered, it’s hard to know which tractor or semi to go “to find the spare 9/16ths wrench.”

Other than naming something for fun, what are the reasons people name their pieces of equipment? How do they decide on a name or who’s responsible for naming something?

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I did some investigating and asked the twitterverse what their rational was, after seeing this tweet from Sean Stanford. Sometimes the names are obvious and are based on colour, like a big yellow semi being named “Big Bird.”

Sometimes pieces of equipment are named after the previous owner, the person who used them the most, or in memory of someone special.

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Or the names might be random, or just directly related to the brand of the vehicle (I bet the one named stinky, was indeed stinky).

Sometimes you just name a piece of equipment based on the situation.

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Or sometimes, something has been named for so long that you don’t know where the name comes from, like this 1952 L110 International named “Gertie,” previously used as a fuel truck.

(Lara de Moissac/RealAgriculture)

And if you’re really creative, you might even compose a song name-dropping your equipment like The Hunter Brothers (#seashanty) at Shaunavon, Saskatchewan.

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