Nick stood in front of his combine (prairie Belle)
As the old saying goes any journey starts with the first step!! Well in this case the first turn of a wheel, a Massey 860 combine wheel to be precise>The following story demonstrates what can be achieved when everything looks completely hopeless,
out of nowhere someone who believes he can make a difference decides it's time to make a stand!! this story is about one such man and his determination to bring to attention the plight of the most underrated and hard working professional's that the rest of
the world takes for granted!!
>During the late eighties ;Gloucestershire UK farmer and contractor Nick Parsons decided to join the steady trickle of farmers who had been disillusioned with Farming in the uk and moved with his young family to British
Columbia Canada and purchased a 1250 acre arable farm this decision was a big one to take, Nick and his brother Tom were involved with running a farm, a contracting business, and also a John Deere dealership! Quite a lot of work to contend with but the
growing recession in the farm machinery business at that time and the tough squeeze on farming incomes ;and the mounting bureaucracy facing those who try to make it all work Nicks decision was made and a new life in Canada beckoned.
Nick and Jane and
their daughters aged 4 and 5 soon settled into this vast country and the harsh winters, although Nick used John Deere equipment tractors, he was a firm believer in Massey Combines in his words they were built for the harsh conditions of that country and the
USA and they were also well supported at that time.>Nick would come to rely on his combines rugged reliability in a way even he would not of imagined in the coming years!.
Here in the UK we don't get the ideal harvesting seasons we would like but
Nick soon became aware of the harshness of crop growing in Canada after a few short seasons, early Autumn snowfall could wipe out your crop or leave it flat on the land as could severe summer storms, it really was a big gamble in this part of the world and
one that any farmer would have to make every season.
Nick and his fellow farmers over the years tried to get some type of dialogue with the local government regarding help for those who through no fault of their own fell upon hardship because of failed
crops and the lack of any subsidies or guarantees for the crops produced for the worldwide market, a problem still today! Although the European farmers enjoy financial help in the way of subsidies and incentives not to produce certain crops!
In short the Canadian farmers wanted a more level playing field!! and sensible pricing structure to compete with the rest of the World.
After 7/8 seasons in Canada, Nick experienced a total crop wipe out on his acreage during 1997,any salvage was
very small and unfortunately his fellow farmers in that part of the country suffered the same fate! Little did anyone know at that time but a year later this crop wipe out would be repeated pushing many farmers out of business and bankruptcy.
to lose Nick decided to drive his 860 combine as a protest into Victoria a trip of some 500 miles!! to highlight the plight of the many facing financial ruin, this trip would lead to a pre cursor for a marathon trip right across Canada as the farming situation
continued to worsen.
Nicks first protest trip made the headlines and he had a lot of support from farmers throughout his trip but he knew with the financial dilemmas facing everyone in this industry and the poor returns and unprecedented further crop
failures it would take a bigger effort to bring these problems to the forefront of the government and media.
As Nick explains during the late nineties things were particularly bad and nbsp;on one occasion he was at a meeting with fellow growers and
he saw the anquish and worry etched into everyone's faces and the complete despair, this upset Nick as these were good honest hard working people who had not many years previously welcomed him and his family to this great Country.
On Nicks return home
that night he thought long and hard about the situation and the following day he announced to his family I'm going to drive the combine 3000 miles across Canada and I won't stop until I get a face to face meeting with the prime minister to explain the dire
state of this industry!.
This marathon trip was a very noble idea but the logistics and costs of driving this huge machine this distance could not be underestimated.
As Nick explained at that time I had $15 dollars in my pocket and that was pretty
much it! I had nothing to lose,the cost of the trip I put to the back of my mind and concentrated on preparing the combine named (prairie belle). My neighbours at the time did all they could to help me with the preparations, I had to strip of the grain tank
cross auger remove the tank covers and ply line the tanks out to create a huge toolbox where I could keep tools, cutting and welding equipment, spares, etc a very rudimentary workshop!!, i would also carry a spare set of wheels and a pick up header that would
carry signage that would explain the reason for his road trip, in fact Prairie belle was a giant sign board with support of various farming groups.
Nick explained that he would have by choice done this trip at a better time of the season and not at
the start of the winter! But as he was still a farmer this wasn't possible as the harvest for what it was worth had to be carried out.
Mid January 2000 and with temperatues at 20 below, Nick bid an emotional farewell to his family and
neighbours on a very cold and snowy day from Dawson creek not knowing how far or for how long this journey would last, but he had a steely determination to Finish what he started out to do, and knowing his faith in the legendary reliability of this Brantford
built combine it seemed nothing would stop him now!.