Field of tractors is a dream for Dover-Foxcroft man
Branden Simmons officially bought Harvey Farm Equipment this year
DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WABI) - If you’ve ever driven on Route 15 in Dover-Foxcroft, you’ve probably noticed a field full of tractors.
What you might not know is the vintage collection was one man’s life’s work and is now in the hands of another who values it just as much.
“Everyone says, ‘Can you make a living at your hobby?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know,’” said Branden Simmons, owner of Harvey Farm Equipment. “We’re gonna try. That’s all we can do!”
Branden Simmons started working at Harvey Farm Equipment as a teen. After years of inquiring, he officially bought the business a few weeks ago.
“I always had intentions of someday having it, and then it finally worked,” said Simmons.
He brings the same passion to the job as the man he once worked for, Raymond G. Harvey.
“He took a lot of pride in it,” said Simmons of Harvey’s collection of tractors and other equipment, which sits in the field across from the storefront. “In the fall, he’d make us go over there and crack the drain plugs in the rear ends and drain any water out of them. He was real serious.”
One of the first orders of business will be going through all of the equipment that sits in the field and breaking down much of it for parts. But there are some that Simmons plans to save and restore.
“Oh yeah, there’s a few that aren’t going to be torn apart,” he said.
“Like, this one [Oliver] here. My son really thinks that he wants to fix it for a pulling tractor, so we’ll probably restore this one. [And] this is a Cockshutt plow that I want to restore and just keep it around just because,” Simmons said, pointing out various spots on the property.
Simmons has an old barn and schoolhouse to go through as well.
“The schoolhouse over there is right full of parts,” he said. “There’s just a little goat trail though everything, and I want to kind of clean a lot of that stuff out, figure out what we have, and see if we can market it.”
Once he gets a full inventory, Simmons has plans to modernize the company, taking it online so anyone from anywhere in the world can see what they have in stock.
“I want to build something so people know what we have for older parts,” Simmons said. “Put everything on the website. Whatever part number you put in there, if they have it, it’ll pop up. It shows that you have it and has a price. Everything’s dismantled and put on a shelf and labeled and put in the computer.”
Eventually, Simmons hopes to have a new line of tractors to sell, which he says would be a first in nearly two decades, and would bring back a Harvey tradition.
“We’re gonna restore this old Chevy truck and put ‘Harvey’s’ on the door in memory of Raymond. I was here when he bought that,” said Simmons, pointing out an old blue Chevy in the back of his barn.
When asked what he thinks Harvey would say if he knew Simmons had taken the reins of the company, Simmons replied: “I’m sure he’d be glad.”
While he says business does die down this time of year, they are selling some snow removal equipment while planning for warmer days ahead.
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