The Sea of Big Pickups

I headed over to the Dakota Farm Show going on at the DakotaDome in order to document something I think we won’t continue to see for much longer: the sea of big pickups.

sea-of-big-pickups

You won’t see many foreign models at the farm show, that’s for sure.  You will see an assortment of big, usually light-colored American sedans (sometimes hard to see over the pickups)–some of the older farm couples cruise to town in their more comfortable cars (that they don’t have to climb five or six feet down from to get out).

sea-of-big-pickups-2

In this image, I’m not trying to show you the “Geo-Excel” logo so much as showing you between the bars of that cage to the other parking lots (and lawns) overflowing with, for the most part, big pickups.  I wanted to get higher up so I’d get more of an eagle-eye view, but even standing with my feet triangulated on the top corner of my truck’s box, I couldn’t get high enough.  Here’s why:

baby-truck1

There’s my truck parked next to one of the average size of almost all of the other trucks in the lot.  It makes me feel kind of lithe and maneuverable–like through the maze of higher and higher gas prices yet to come.

I’m not doing this to cast aspersions on the farmers with big pickups–though I do have to wonder how useful those things are for loading and unloading–they’re so high it’d be hard to reach anything in the bed.

There were some older, beat-up farm trucks (the kind you see and know that’s what they’re used for), but a lot of these trucks were pretty darn shiny and unscathed by hard wear. I don’t think they’ve been pulling the manure spreader lately, if you catch my drift.

Like I said, I’m not casting aspersions–really I think you have to have a big pickup to be taken seriously as a farmer in South Dakota (luckily, I don’t mind not being taken seriously).  But I’m interested in documenting this assemblage of monster trucks mostly because I think we’re going to see the end of that era soon.

Here’s the Dakota Farm Show itself:

dakota-farm-show-2008

I took a little over an hour and walked through all the booths and exhibits.  Lots of chem/GMO/big machines/tools, etc.  I saw a few folks I knew and signed up for a few drawings (tools, gift certificates, but not bags of GMO seed corn).

Got some info on booth set-up costs for next year in case any farm/ag-oriented organizations I know want to set up a membership drive table.  There was another section of booths in a back part of the Dome you can’t see in this shot where I found the Skystream wind turbine booth and picked up some info on that.

You can definitely see the energy crisis/environmental awareness edge starting to trickle in, though it’s pretty subdued.  I didn’t see anyone advertising anything organic–it’s a pretty cut-and-dried conventional farm show.  But I did see a automatic home composter at one of the tables, the aforementioned home-scaled wind turbine, and some interesting information about different kinds of forage/pasture crops for livestock–turnips, teff, some kind of Italian grass.

It was a little “stranger in a strange land” for me, but kind of fun at the same time.  I don’t have a lot of use for a lot of the stuff there, but its interesting to see the trends–including, by the way, lots of manure spreaders.

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2 responses

  1. I have often wondered why people think they need such big trucks. However, I am old enough that a truck was something a farmer could haul a few cattle in. What they call trucks now were called pickups, and that is still what I call them and I call SUVs exactly that. I have a friend who has a Rendezvous and she refers to that as a rig. To me a rig is an eighteen wheeler. It really blows my mind why people in town need these large vehicles. I am 68 years old, overweight, and have mobility problems and when I ride with somebody that has a SUV and even some mini-vans I need to use a step stool to get into them. I can usually slide out OK.

  2. I bought one of these home wind turbine kits from WindEnergy7.com. I put it on my house and it did so well that I added a second unit. They do not put them as close together as these, if wind blows in direction of that row, you wasted half the wind by putting them too close together. The WE7 has stainless steel parts and is a more durable design than these artistic things pictured here, are real quiet on the roof. I got a dealership for my county to start selling them because all my friends and neighbors were talking about buying one. You should look at them, very nice, I’m adding a solar panel upgrade to both turbines this spring. I like home wind power, it doesn’t waste electricity in the transmission of large power lines.

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