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He Still Harvests With Old Gleaners
Kenneth Slagell spent the majority of his adult life away from his parent’s Oklahoma farm, but his heart was never far from the golden fields of grain and the old combines that his dad used for harvesting. When Slagell retired from his aviation management job in 2007, he returned to his birthplace to carry on the Gleaner tradition at the farmily’s 200-acre homestead.
“Rather than spending $300,000 on a new combine or hiring custom rigs to harvest the grain, I’m content with two L2 Gleaners that I bought for $12,000 in 2010,” Slagell says. Those machines join three other L2’s, two Gleaner C2’s and six Gleaner A’s. Slagell’s wife Janet says it’s equipment that’s nostalgic as well as functional on the Slagell farm. “A person doesn’t have to use many parts off the older machines to pay for it, because new parts are very expensive,” Slagell says.  
Slagell has bought and maintains some of the Gleaners while other machines have been at the family farm for years. An old pull-type Gleaner gathering dust and rust has been on the farm since it was new.
Kenneth’s grandfather Joe and Elmer Slagell bought a Gleaner Baldwin 51R in the 1950’s. In 1966 they acquired a new Gleaner C2, used it for nearly 40 years, then parked it in a shed. Kenneth’s brother Michael recently made it operable after replacing several chains, belts and locating a new radiator to replace the one someone had stolen.
Kenneth says it’s a real thrill to have the 40-year-old Gleaner L2 machines running on the multi-generational farm, working just fine and not full of computers that have problems he can’t fix. “For several years when I was living and working in Virginia, our family would come back every summer during harvest and my dad had as many as 5 Gleaners in the field at one time,” Slagell says. “The whole family was here for a celebration, which was really special.”
These days Slagell runs the 200 acres by himself, no-tilling wheat and cotton with tireless older equipment. His wife Janet says “Ken grew up enjoying old machinery and keeps those Gleaners running great. He still hauls grain with trucks made in 1957 and 1973 and drives 40-year-old tractors. When he’s not working the fields, he’s driving his big old Caterpillar or track hoe working on the dam.”   
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kenneth Slagell, 92418 N 2455 Rd., Thomas, Okla. 73669.

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #4