Antique Massey Ferguson Combines Draw Crowds for a Good Cause

Each fall, as part of the Bear Lake Growing Project in Canada, vintage combines run in a harvest event and money is raised through the sale of the grain.

By Jenny Bryant | Photos By Randy Vanderveen

Gary Dixon

Gary Dixon

“As a farmer I am in the business of growing food,” says Gary Dixon, a producer from Grand Prairie, a town of 75,000 in northwestern Alberta’s Peace River Country. “To watch the news and see people who are struggling to meet very basic food needs for themselves and their families leaves me troubled and wanting to do something to help out, especially in view of the abundance of food we produce here in the [Bear Lake] area.”

Two years ago, this desire to help out led Dixon to join Gary and Jeannette Beyer, Peter and Nelie Rylaarsdam, and seven other like-minded area farm families in the Bear Lake Growing Project, a collaboration between Canadian producers and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB). The CFB is a faith-based organization in which 15 churches and church-based agencies work together to help end global hunger. Each fall, as part of the Growing Project, a harvest event is held and money is raised through the sale of the producers’ grain.

In between farming and fighting the battle against hunger, Dixon finds time to entertain his hobby of restoring antique tractors and combines. His latest project is a 1949 Massey-Harris 21A that sat unused for more than 40 years. “Trees had actually grown through it,” Dixon says.

Combining his hobby and his philanthropic mission, Dixon and fellow farmer Brian Woronuk have used their antique Massey-Harris combines for the Growing Project harvest. Using the antique combines helps bring more attention to the project.

“They make our Growing Project’s Harvest Day unique,” Dixon says. Last year nearly 100 sponsors and their families came out to the Harvest Day event to watch the old and new combines bring in the harvest. “Hopefully, [the addition of the antiques] will result in an increase of financial support to this very worthwhile cause.”

For more about the Bear Lake Growing Project, see their Facebook page.