ATVs are the new workhorse for the 21st century


(Note: This excellent article shows the utility of a vehicle that is often thought of as solely a recreational vehicle.)


April 14, 2006


By Angela Woolett, for the Prairie Star


The Prairie Star

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Lewiston, Montana - It would be hard to find a Montana farm or ranch without an ATV [All-Terrain Vehicle]. These vehicles are capable of getting thousands of different jobs done faster and easier than any other mode of transportation.

Their size, power and capacity have made these all-terrain vehicles more than recreational toys. They are workhorses.

At Lewistown Honda in Lewistown, Montona, owner Jeff Evans said the majority of his ATV business is done with farmers and ranchers. “Cowboy hats are not uncommon in the store,” he said.

ATVs are used for much of the work done on today's farms and ranches, said Evans. In fact, he guessed they are used nearly every day for some task or another. For example, during calving season a rancher can haul a calf from the field in which it was delivered back to the barn and drive into the barn with the mother cow following behind.

And since cattle and sheep are moved back and forth to different ranges, ATVs provide the transportation for the rancher between those ranges.

Also, a 15-gallon weed sprayer can be attached to an ATV for spot-spraying weeds.

Evans said, in his opinion, the ATV has replaced not only the horse, but in most cases the pickup. He has many customers who never use their truck on the ranch because the ATV is a more cost-effective vehicle. ATVs are fuel-efficient and do not take the abuse a pickup does driving through rough fields and on dirt roads. They can also easily be used all year. They have high flotation tires so they can cross a muddy field nearly “floating” over the mud rather than get all gummed up like in a pickup, said Evans.

Evans has seen farmers and ranchers put up to 40,000 miles on one of these hard-working tools, he said.

Lewistown Honda sells more four-wheel drive ATVs than two-wheel drive because they can be used in the snow, mud and muck of Montana's long winters. In the past, ranchers would purchase snowmobiles for working in the winter months, while they used their pickup in the spring, summer and fall. Now they only need one vehicle -- the ATV.

Located in the middle of farming and ranching country, Lewistown Honda sells Polaris and Kawasaki ATV brands in addition to Honda.

Evans said the best ATVs for farming and ranching are the Honda Rancher and the Honda Rubicon. Known for their hard-working horsepower and durability, they are the two most commonly purchased four-wheelers.

The new Polaris Ranger looks like it will be a great addition to any farm or ranch, Evans added. The Polaris Ranger can hold up to 1,000 pounds, while accommodating up to three adults and still haul a calf into the barn.

Not only do they work hard, ATVs are fairly inexpensive to own. While ATV tires cost around the same as any vehicle, their maintenance and upkeep is pretty low.

A brand-new ATV runs anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500 -- much less than a pickup.

“We're here to supply the ranch community and take care of their needs on a daily basis,” said Evans.

Lewistown Honda is located at 302 Truck Bypass in Lewistown and can be contacted at 1-800-823-0226.


Copyright 2006, Farm and Ranch Guide. v01.txt


Another excellent article by Angela Woolett, "Research farm north of Sidney, Montanta, experimenting with sugarbeets," March 20, 2006:


Sainfoin, a drought-resistant forage, gets harvested in the Big Timber, Montana, area. Sainfoin is a nutritious forage that doesn't cause bloating and is not a host to weevils, according to Big Timber farmer Norris Johnson. Photo courtesy of Johnson.


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