Brad Atkins and Wendy Johnson of rural Belle Plaine will be among a half-dozen farmers welcoming visitors to area farms to check out varying models of tractors Saturday (April 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Atkins owns several Case tractors at his farm on Highway 25 in Faxon Township.
Brad Atkins and Wendy Johnson of rural Belle Plaine will be among a half-dozen farmers welcoming visitors to area farms to check out varying models of tractors Saturday (April 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Atkins owns several Case tractors at his farm on Highway 25 in Faxon Township.
In an area where most farmers know their tractors by their green and yellow trademark colors, Brad Atkins enjoys a slightly different viewpoint.
To the uneducated see, his collector tractors are just orange and yellow. “It’s desert sunset and flambeau red,” Atkins said of the colors that adorn his beloved Case tractors and lawn equipment.
Only a true Case tractor enthusiast would know that without the benefit of a Google search.
If you want to talk tractors and learn about the Case brand, Atkins is glad to spend the time chatting.
Saturday (April 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Atkins and other members of the Northland Case Collectors Club are welcoming club members, Case and other tractor enthusiasts to an open house at area farms.
Atkins lives at 28560 Highway 25 in Faxon Township just outside Belle Plaine. The other area farms belong to Jim Ische, Ben Ische, Melvin Mellgren, Tom Diethelm and Bob Lenz. They all have different types of tractors. Tractor enthusiasts not on the Northland Case Tractor Club are welcome to start their tour at Atkins’ and Wendy Johnson’s farm. Atkins has a map of the other tour sites. Club members will enjoy dinner Saturday, 6 p.m., at the Vets Club in downtown Belle Plaine.

Personal History
Like other collectors of vintage tractors, Atkins believes a person’s tractor preference is mostly a matter of what they grew up with and the dominant implement dealership near the family farm. In Atkins’ situation, that meant Case.
He grew up on the family farm in Eden Prairie before suburbia found its way to land that today is the intersection of Mitchell Road and Valley View Drive. The area is home to suburban-style housing, restaurants, other businesses and a golf course.
The Atkins family farmed 50 acres. Brad’s father grew hay and other cash crops. “I grew up on that Case 1030,” Atkins said, pointing to one of the seven Case tractors in his collection. The seven were new between 1966 and ’69. “I used it for tilling and bailing hay.”
Atkins still uses his tractors for working his farm. He and Johnson grow field corn and sweet corn.
They enjoy the history of tractors, and sharing stories and information. He and Johnson load up tractors and take them to shows around the area. This year is the 175th anniversary of Case tractors.
“It’s fun to teach people how they used to farm,” Johnson said.