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If tractors driving through small-town America don’t make you smile, this isn’t the article for you. But if you do have a heart: did you know many rural schools celebrate “Drive your tractor to school day?” That’s not a typo or a prank, just some good old-fashioned diesel-driven tractor fun.

What is ‘drive your tractor to school day?’

Just like it sounds, ‘drive your tractor to school day,’ is one day of the year when small-town communities encourage students to drive a family tractor to school.

At many participating high schools, drive your tractor to school day is just called “tractor day.” According to NPR, the day is a celebration of rural agricultural life. Students are allowed to drive a tractor on the road, all the way to school.

Local farmers lend their teenagers a tractor, then the students drive it to school. Other students commute in other pieces of farm equipment, some jokers even ride lawnmowers to school. In many communities, younger students stop by the high school to stare wide-eyed at the parking lot full of farm equipment.

Where did the idea of Tractor Day at schools originate?

Small-town students have been commuting to school in agricultural vehicles, such as trucks with ag plates, for a hundred years. The first stories of an official “drive your tractor to school day” date back to the 1980s. Today, the holiday is the culmination of National Future Farmers of America Week.

A kid drive a John Deere tractor in front of his brick house in 1946.
Boy driving a John Deere tractor | Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

There’s no central organization tracking tractor days. Therefore, there’s no record on the first school to host a tractor day. Some folks remember a tractor day in the early 1980s, but some schools may have hosted a tractor day earlier.

Many schools have been hosting a tractor day for generations. Because of this, parents don’t think twice about sending their teenagers off to school on a reliable tractor for drive your tractor to school day.

How many schools have ‘drive your tractor to school day?’

Tractor day is not an official national holiday; its hard to know just how many schools partake. But social media makes it evident that many small schools across the mid-west have a ‘drive your tractor to school day.’

Students who belong to the National Future Farmers (NFF) organization look forward to NFF week all year long. At many schools, the finale of NFF week is “drive your tractor to school day.” Its not surprising that these students want to document the special day on social media.

You can see the students of an Ohio high school driving their tractors to school in the following video:

You can watch the students of Ash Grove, Missouri drive their tractors to school in this video:


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