Since his eighth-grade year at Silex School, Nicholas Kientzy was obsessed with starting a real FFA Drive Your Tractor to School Day. That year the school hosted a tractor day, but only one lawn mower showed up. After that, the event fizzled out. But that didn’t stop Kientzy from trying to get the big machinery day back on the docket.
“After asking my advisor for two years I got my chance to drive my tractor to school my junior year. It was an okay year; I got about ten people to bring a tractor to school,” Kientzy said. “However, it did not compare to the tractor day I was in charge of my senior year.”
Kientzy said after seeing the 10 tractors show up and even landing a spot on a local news channel website, more people were interested and excited to join the next year. It also helped the Silex FFA decided to make the Drive Your Tractor to School Day the same day as their annual Food for America day. A petting zoo was set up for kids, and a tractor tour and demo was added to the agenda.
The 2017 event brought in 20 tractors, ranging in size from small garden tractors to two big articulating swivel tractors. Kientzy proudly led the convoy through town that morning mounting his GoPro to the top of his tractor while also carrying an American flag. For those that missed the parade, the young agvocate posted a short video later that day on Facebook that garnered around 27,000 views and nearly 500 shares.
“Tractor day has greatly helped my FFA organization in that members connect with the community simply by drawing the community into our parking lot,” Kientzy said. “I was constantly being approached by farmers and community members who were curious about all these tractors at our school. They were fascinated at how so many tractors could be brought in from such a small community.”
Now a 19-year-old freshman at Missouri State University studying agriculture business, Kientzy is happy to hear his legacy lives on as the Silex FFA plans another Drive Your Tractor to School Day.
“Sadly, this year I am at college, but I did hear last year that a lot more people are going to drive their tractors to school,” Kientzy said. “I want to say that this year we might have around 25 to 30 tractors show up for the event.”
Kienty may have retired from Drive Your Tractor to School Day, but it hasn’t stopped the fourth-generation farmer from using his skills as a photographer and videographer to continue to tell ag’s story.
“The biggest thing I have noticed is people are amazed at what farmers have to do and how little they make,” Kientzy said. “I love helping urban society know the truth about where their food comes from and how it is made. There are so many negative connotations associated with farmers and our food it drives me insane.”
Kientzy said his Instagram account has also been a great tool to connect with other farmers from near and far.
“It’s amazing how everything is done very similar across the nation and even the world. I have connected with farmers in India, New Zealand, and Australia and it is amazing how similar we all are,” Kientzy said. “I try to convey to my followers without actually saying it: ‘I don’t farm for the money, I farm because farming is not an easy job and it is satisfying for me to know that I feed parts of the world, that my corn gets shipped across seas.’”
After college graduation, Kientzy hopes to combine that passion for photography/videography and agriculture into a career – a goal that Kientzy will most likely achieve if he puts his whole heart into it, just like he did with the Drive Your Tractor to School Day.
“If you want to start a tractor day you have to have more than a thought, you have to have the passion and drive to make it happen,” Kientzy said.