A Massey Ferguson Ambassador
This state trooper has helped other officers and friends outfit their farms with Massey Ferguson equipment, and has a vintage Massey legacy of his own.
By Jamie Cole | Photos By Jamie Cole
“This is the first tractor that I remember,” says Chris Shrader, pointing to a Massey Ferguson 135 that is still in operation on his acreage at Sugar Creek Farms (see the full story here). Shrader, a second-generation state trooper, is also the fourth generation on this farmland, and has quite a legacy with vintage Massey Ferguson equipment. “My grandfather actually had this new,” he says of the 135.
Shrader uses the 135 for odd jobs around the farm, 80 acres of hilly meadows with cattle, horses, chickens, and some good quality native grasses. He has added an older-model Massey Ferguson GC garden tractor to his barn as well. But a few years back, when he needed to upgrade from small square bales to round bales, he went with a Massey Ferguson 1745 baler and added a Massey Ferguson 4608 utility tractor. His latest purchase is the DM 246 disc mower.
Shrader isn’t just a Massey enthusiast, he’s an ambassador. As the director of radio communications for the state police, he helps build the fleet of cruisers that patrol the highways of West Virginia. He also helps fellow troopers and family friends build their own fleets of Massey Ferguson farm equipment. “He has sent down, I don’t know how many troopers,” says Marilyn Methany, a partner with Lemon’s Farm Equipment in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Shrader says he can think of 7 or 8 trooper families who have purchased Massey equipment for their own farm retreats. Marilyn keeps a collection of photos of troopers who have purchased Massey tractors; the GC 1700 Series is popular with that group.
Family friend Nick Renzelli is another convert that came to Massey Ferguson, courtesy of Shrader. “When I was looking for a tractor, he (Chris) pointed me towards Massey.” Renzelli got the Massey Ferguson 2605H, and “we do everything with it,” he says.
“I’d checked around with two other brands, and they were higher on price,” he says. “I looked at specs, and the warranty wasn’t there for them, and the weight wasn’t there for them, compared to the Massey,” he says.
“The weight on the tractor is important to me, because going up and down hills, it helps hold you where you want to be,” says Renzelli. “If the weight’s not there, it’s definitely not a fun ride.”
“The big thing is safety,” says Methany. “Hopefully on the hillsides of West Virginia, these boys don’t get too seasick, because you are going from one extreme to the other,” she laughs.“The weight on the tractor is important to me. If the weight’s not there, it’s definitely not a fun ride.”Click To Tweet
Jim Lemon, Marilyn’s brother and partner in the business, adds he’s not surprised Shrader’s 135 is still an essential part of the farmer/trooper’s operation. “Basically back from the 50s and 60s, right on up to today, it’s just better reliability,” he says. “They’re wider. They’re heavier. Just a better built tractor.”
Shrader says he takes vacation to make hay for his small Black Angus herd, and “can’t afford to have machinery that’s broken down,” he says. The 135 “starts every time I get on it,” he says. “Massey has provided the reliability, that I’m sure when I climb on it, that I’m going to be able to get my hay done (and) enjoy my vacation,” he says.