It's unusual for U.S. residents to rely on horses, mules or oxen for plowing fields and doing other agricultural work these days. Aside from some religious enclaves, most people who own agricultural land use tractors and associated implements. They can find the equipment they need at an area tractor dealership.
The Tractor and the Workforce
In some ways, the tractor and other mechanized agricultural machinery can be viewed as the reason the country has such a large workforce outside of farming. It's a main reason that so many people in the middle class do not work in agriculture.
When farm work was done almost entirely with horses and other animals, a multitude of small enterprises was required. As the use of tractors grew substantially from the 1940s on, farms became increasingly bigger. For many men and women, that was good news. They were now free to pursue other occupations. Consumers had a wider range of goods and services available because of the expansion of other industries. In addition, using mechanized equipment on big farms meant a wider variety of food being available, along with lower prices.
A Growing Interest
Although its numbers have been drastically reduced, the family farm is not gone from this country. There is a growing interest in moving back to smaller enterprises and away from industrialized agriculture. Many U.S. residents are deeply concerned about factory farm emissions in relation to climate change and pollution. They worry about diseases connected with factory farming and ethical considerations.
For most men and women thinking about buying a farm, it's impossible to imagine running it without tractors and other mechanized machinery. People still refer to engine power as horsepower, but that doesn't mean they actually equate the two.
Someone who wants to have a very small enterprise with, say, 10 acres, might have fun working the land with horses or mules and manual equipment. That's especially true if this person loves those kinds of animals. For the average-sized and larger farms, however, tractors and other mechanized devices are seen as essential. The machinery allows workers to finish projects in a few hours that previously would have taken days to accomplish.
Most people working even 20 or 30 acres want to buy a tractor. They certainly won't need mega-sized equipment, but they can find smaller models suitable for this amount of land. Those who are interested in farming two or three times that amount of acreage also can keep an eye on local tractor inventory and price changes. These landowners can gradually add to their fleet of equipment and upgrade as desired.