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Two New Displays at Heartland Acres Agribition Center

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Immediate News Release:
Heartland Acres Agribition Center
2600 Swan Lake Blvd.
Independence, Iowa 50644
319 332-0123
Attn: Craig Johnson

1941 John Deere A-II Reproduction Armored “Tractor Tank” on display through Memorial Day 2013 at Heartland Acres in Independence, Iowa. 

     1941 JD Tractor Tank
The 1941 John Deere A-II reproduction prototype “Tractor Tank” is now on display through Memorial Day 2013 at Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, IA. 

Heartland Acres “Ag in the Military” display continues to grow. The most recent addition to the exhibit is a reproduction of an armored John Deere Model A prototype A-II “tractor tank”. The tractor is on loan from co-owners Dr. Curt Clark and Dr. Leo Milleman from Ames, Iowa. 

The original “tractor tanks” were designed, built and tested in 1940 -1941. The A-I and A-II were never approved by the U.S. Army for production and the prototypes were scrapped. The story of the original armored “tractor tanks” resurfaced in a tractor collector publication in May of 2002.     

Drs. Milleman and Clark began researching the A-I and A-II tractor tanks in 2002. Reconstruction of the A-I and A-II started in November 2005. There were no blueprints and only a limited amount of testing documents and a few pictures to go on. With little information and a lot of hard work, the reproduction tractors were completed by June 2006.  More of the history on the reproduction prototype “tractor tanks” may be found in the “Ag in the Military” exhibit at Heartland Acres.

1915 International Harvester Threshing Machine on display through November 14, 2013 at Heartland Acres in Independence, Iowa.

1915 IH Thresher       
1915 International Harvester threshing machine with its owners (left to right) Richard Haight and Fred Tegtmeier and caretakers Bill and Curtis Sage. The machine will be on display through November 2013 at Heartland Acres Agribition Center in Independence, IA

Bill and Beverly Sage of Waterloo, Iowa, have been storing a very rare International Harvester threshing machine for almost half a century for their friends Richard Haight and Fred Tegtmeier. The wooden thresher, believed to be a model made around 1915, recently served as home to a family of raccoons. The thresher was once co-owned by Richard’s grandfather and Fred’s dad. 

The owners felt it was time to bring the thresher out of storage and let others enjoy seeing the machine and believed the place to have it displayed is Heartland Acres in Independence, Iowa. “It’s a long story about how the thresher ended up here after 50 years of storage in Bill’s machine shed but thanks to Ron and Laura McCullum with State Aerial we now have another great display”, stated Brian Bell, Event Manager at Heartland Acres.

Information about the old thresher is sketchy but Curtis Sage, son of Bill and Beverly, knows real well how the thresher works. As a young boy, Curtis and a friend were playing inside of the thresher. Curtis got caught in it and couldn’t get free so his friend, Richard Haight ran to get help. Over 50 years later, Richard and Curtis remain friends and are glad to see their “old friend” the International Harvester thresher on display at Heartland Acres.
You can find many more fascinating displays, hands on activities and the ongoing and ever changing story of our agricultural heritage at Heartland Acres in Independence, Iowa. Winter hours for the museum began Monday, November 5. The museum will be closed on weekends and major holidays starting November 5 – April 1, 2013. Call ahead for hours and availability.

For more information about Heartland Acres please visit or call (319) 332.0123. Heartland Acres Agribiton Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.