Iowa PBS Presents Tractor Wars

Black and white image of a field with the words "Tractor Wars"

Embark on a historical journey and follow the race to develop a reliable tractor in Iowa PBS’s new documentary, Tractor Wars. The hour-long program will premiere Monday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. on the statewide network. It will be rebroadcast Sunday, March 3 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 9 at 1 p.m. Tractor Wars will also be available to stream on and the PBS App.

In the early 20th century, hundreds of companies were experimenting with vehicles to bring power farming to agriculture. By 1929, Deere, Ford and International Harvester were among the few dozen companies that remained, but the tractor form we recognize today had finally emerged and began rapidly replacing muscle as the primary source of power on the farm. Following the framework of John Deere’s archivist Neil Dahlstrom’s book published with the same name, Tractor Wars broadens the look at this time period for both agriculture and in industrial America. 

Tractor fans who can’t wait for the broadcasts can enjoy an advance premiere screening of Tractor Wars will be hosted Thursday, February 22 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. A discussion with Debra Reid, curator of agriculture and environment at The Henry Ford, will follow the film screening. For more information and to register to join online, visit

"It took a lot of experimentation to get to what we now recognize as the tractor,” said Iowa PBS Producer and Director Peter Tubbs. "This film will appeal to tractor enthusiasts, but will be equally engaging for those simply tagging along. I’m glad to share this important story in the tractor industry with our audience.”

This documentary will premiere as part of Festival 2024, taking place February 17–19, February 23–March 3 and March 9–11. Learn more at