Why do farmers and ranchers name their equipment?

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?

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.

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.

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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