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Fixing tractors since the 50s

Alvin “Alvie” Rechow is a mechanic at John Deere in Stewart, and he can often be found fixing equipment for some third generation John Deere customers. The good Lord willing, he intends to keep on being a John Deere mechanic.   “If I had retired at 60 or 62 sitting around doing nothing, I maybe wouldn’t even be around anymore,” he said. “My job gets me lots of exercise. I’m moving around, up and down getting into combines and tractors. That I think is what’s keeping me going.” Alvie says his work history started his senior year in high school (1955). He put in his first 29 years at Johnson Hardware in Hector. “They closed in 1979 so I went out to the John Deere dealership at Stewart and I’ve been here ever since,” he reflected noting that over the years John Deere has sent him to several ‘training schools’ to update on new mechanics, new diagnostic equipment and new procedures for getting the job done.  “Plus you learn right here on the job, too.  There’s lots more technology today but the John Deere equipment keeps getting better.  It’s built stronger.  It does so much more work for farmers.” Being a mechanic today means working on much heavier equipment, chuckled Alvie,         “When I first started it was setting up a 2-row planter, or fixing a 30 hp tractor.  Now we’re working on 35-foot headers, 16-row corn heads, 400 hp tractors, even 48-row planters. There’s a world of bigness out there today.” Just maybe this fixture at the Stewart shop will get down to a 5-day schedule this winter.  But for now with harvest in high gear, it’s six days a week for Rechow and his fellow mechanics.  Alvie gets along well with the younger mechanics.  “They hired five new shop guys this year. They ask me some questions now and then. They’re a real good bunch of kids to work with,” is his take on his younger colleagues.  “I show them shortcuts on how to do certain jobs.  Down the road they’ll become real good John Deere mechanics.” And his advice to farmers?  Stay on top of your maintenance and your equipment will keep on working, said Alvie. “And each fall before that combine goes in the shed, clean out all the chaff.  If you don’t the mice will be in there chewing away on the electronic harnesses.  That’s a problem with more and more guys who don’t blow out the chaff.” Article contributed by The Land magazine.

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