Jerry Mez

Pictured: Jerry Mez, owner of the Farmall-Land USA Museum in Avoca, standing next to his favorite Farmall 1206. Photo by Brent Barnett/Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

(Avoca) -- A well-known destination for lovers of red tractors in Avoca, Iowa is in its final season of operation.

After more than a decade living their dream of displaying their extensive collection, Jerry and Joyce Mez are retiring from operating the Farmall-Land USA Museum. The Mez family’s collection has grown extensively over the last 12 years, and Jerry says if it’s red, they probably have it.

“It’s hard to describe it,” Mez said. “As we stand here, I’m looking at the tractors that came out of western Nebraska. They are all low cut. Those are Wheatland tractors. We have several tractors like that. Over on the next line there are tractors I got in Germany, along with quite a few that are American. And, then there’s just about everything in between.”

Since day one, Jerry’s personal favorite in his collection is the 1206.

“It’s the favorite because as far as I’m concerned, it has the best dressing clothes on it than any tractor they ever made,” Mez said. “They got enough white to break it up. It’s a good, clean tractor and the first of this series where they had the white mixed in the wheels, fenders, and so forth.”

The opening of this year’s farewell season was delayed until May 23rd due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mez says the museum will be open until September 27th, and that making the decision to close down the attraction was extremely difficult.

“I’ve been doing this for somewhere between 12 and 14 years depending on how you grade it,” Mez said. “Decided it was time and that we wanted to do other traveling while we’re still able. I’ll be 80 years old in about three months here, so it’s time to get onto some of them things. Very hard decision to make. It’s one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make because it’s been my life since my dad came here in 1943.”

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and closed on Monday. For those who wish to swing by and visit, social distancing and face coverings are required. The museum can be reached at 402-490-1574.

A video featuring Mez’s collection can be found here.