Teen takes different approach to farming

Alberta 14 year old is farming his own crops for a second year and getting it done with vintage equipment

LACOMBE, Alta. — When Carson Ebeling seeded his crops this spring, he started with barley before moving on to canola.

It’s a very common scene on prairie farms, but what’s uncommon about this scenario is that Ebeling is just 14.

This will be his second crop, which comprises 21 acres of barley on the family farm and 17 acres of canola on land he’s renting from a neighbour.

And to make the scene even more uncommon, he’s farming with vintage equipment: a 1950 McCormick Super W6 tractor pulling a 1929 John Deere steel wheel seed drill. The seed was hauled to the field in one of two replica grain boxes that Ebeling built with his father, Murray.

Murray Ebeling with help from his son, Carson, pails barley from the replica grain box they built. | Maria Johnson photo

Ebeling bought the Super W6 for $4500 when he was 10 with money earned selling cattle as a member of the Nebraska Multi 4-H Club.

“You don’t need big equipment to go farming, and you’re putting in the same thing as everyone else,” his father told him.

Ebeling said his interest in farming with vintage equipment began while participating in a Canadian Foodgrains Bank growing project harvest near Ponoka, Alta., in 2015.

“On the first day we were stooking,” he said. “And anything that didn’t tie we had to do by hand.”

He found the work a lot of fun, “something you don’t do every day.”

A few weeks later he helped load stooks into wagons and put them through the thrasher.

However, Carson may also have come by his interest naturally. He is very familiar with the story of his Grandpa Willie on his father’s side, who bought his first tractor in about 1946 when he was 16. It was also a McCormick W6.

The story is that Willie and his brother went to town and ordered the tractor. When his father, who still farmed with horses, found out he was furious and cancelled the deal.

“We’re not having any machinery on this place,” he told them.

Willie and his brother went back to town and re-ordered.

“Don’t tell Dad,” they said.

The brothers split the $1,600 cost.

Ebeling rescued this 1962 Massey Ferguson Super 92 combine from a stand of trees. | Maria Johnson photo

Ebeling owns several other vintage Massey Ferguson pieces: a 1962 Super 92 combine, a 1968 36 swather, a 1973 410 combine and a 1975 510 combine. He’s currently looking at buying a 1981 1086 International tractor.

His mother, Candace, recalls the deal on the Super 92 combine.

“It was sitting in the trees on the south end of Gull Lake. The guy wanted a couple hundred for it, but when he found out it was Carson buying it he handed him back a hundred and said, ‘buy some paint.’ ”

Ebeling has driven the McCormick Super W6 tractor to school at the end of June for the past three years. Three of his friends joined him last year driving their own tractors. They plan to do it again this year.

About the author


Stories from our other publications