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Big Farmall Museum Closing Next Fall
Jerry Mez says the decision to close the Farmall-Land USA museum was bittersweet but he and his wife, Joyce, have had a tremendous run over the last 14 years. They built one of the largest collections of red equipment and memorabilia in the country, with more than 225 full size tractors, some 2,000 toys, and countless pedal tractors and other items that will be auctioned off in October, with a date yet to be determined.
Jerry and Joyce have operated the museum, which is located 40 miles east of Omaha/Council Bluffs on I-80, since selling their interest in two Case IH dealerships. His father started as a McCormick-Farmall dealer in 1943 when Jerry was 3.
“We’ve had red blood and red equipment our whole lives but now it’s time to slow down a bit and move on,” says Jerry. It wasn’t an easy decision, but they’ve got other things they’d like to spend more time with like visiting their grandkids and traveling.
The Mez collection is housed in a specially-built 26,500 sq. ft. climate-controlled building. Since they opened it more than 40,000 visitors have attended, about 5 to 6,000 a year. The visitors marvel at the like-new restorations, several which Jerry completed himself. Volunteers help staff the museum, which also has a “tractor widow’s” lounge where Joyce has assembled collectible dolls, a variety of quilts, a bright pink Cub Cadet lawnmower, and a pink pedal tractor pulling a cart carrying dolls.
One of Jerry’s close friends is Chuck Johnson, a former test engineer for Case IH, whom he met in 1998. Johnson saw plans for the museum evolve and says it’s one of the nicest collections anywhere in the country. It houses many common models and several rare tractors, such as a Kerosene tractor and a 30,000 lb. 4-WD IH 4300, which Jerry purchased from a Montana rancher in 1985. A sign near the yellow behemoth reads ‘If you’re not one of my grandkids, stay off’. Other favorites include an F-20 that Jerry’s father had sold at his dealership years ago. When Jerry came home from Korea and Army duty in in the 1950s his father told him the F-20 was his. “That started me on a journey that’s continued ever since,” Jerry says.
The museum will remain open and fully stocked until their auction. Jerry says when auction time rolls around he’ll hold about 10 of his ‘favorite’ tractors and some memorabilia off the block, including the F-20 and probably one of the 1206 diesels, an original “Big Power” Farmall.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Farmall-land USA, 2101 N Lavista Heights Rd., Avoca, Iowa 51521 (ph 712 307-6806; www.farmall-land-usa.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4