I was actually telling someone the other day about getting on the tractor with my dad bright and early one morning in 1978 and heading down the highway with several hundred other farmers on their tractors. I was 6yrs old and didn’t have a clue what we were doing but I can vividly remember how crazy it looked to see all of those big diesel tractors heading down the highway at a maximum speed of about 20mph and seeing all of the cars doing their best to pass by when they had the chance. My only other memory of that day would be my Grandad in his pickup pulling up alongside our fleet of tractors and handing sandwiches off to everybody as we kept rolling down the highway, it was my first time to ever eat a salami sandwich (have loved them since).
I couldn’t remember the name of the event that brought us all onto the roads or even the cause so I did some research the other day and this is what I found:
In January 1978, nearly 3,000 farmers drove their tractors to Washington, D.C., many of them from thousands of miles away. The Carter administration agreed that the Farmers Home Administration would stop all foreclosures, but soon after the rally was over resumed foreclosures of farms with past due loans. 
On February 5th, 1979, farmers arrived in Washington, D.C.; 17 tractors had been impounded. Police confined the tractors to the National Mall. They blocked traffic, creating significant tie-ups. A blizzard hit while they were in town, and then the tractors became useful as they were the only vehicles that could reliably travel through the snow, often delivering doctors and nurses to hospitals. A group of Maryland farmers attempted to repair the damage to the Mall, by sowing grass seed. (Source: Wikipedia)
Now that I know the reason behind the movement I’m actually pretty stoked about being a part of it, even if I was only 6yrs old at the time. I also found some more information in a blog post by Marquerite Roby on Smithsonian’s website:
A few weeks ago, with winter in mind, I posted this picture of tractors on the National Mall during a snowstorm for my weekly “Sneak Peek” feature, highlighting interesting images in our photo archives. My initial research into the image made me realize there was an interesting story these tractors had to tell. In February of 1979 farmers from the American Agriculture Movement (AAM) organized a tractor rally in Washington, DC in the hopes of driving change in agricultural policy. Thousands of farmers made the trip to Washington in their tractors, traveling across the US at fifteen miles per hour and covering no more than one hundred miles per day. Collecting along highways, they traveled in convoy and descended on the nation’s capitol on February 5, 1979. The protesting farmers occupied the National Mall for weeks, demanding more pay for crops and lobbying for an increased role in agricultural policy decisions. An unsympathetic Washington billed the farmers as a nuisance that was costing taxpayers an estimated $1 million in tractor damage to the National Mall.
Tides turned on President’s Day weekend when a blizzard hit, covering the city in two feet of snow. The farmers, in possession of some of the only vehicles able to move, rose to the occasion and helped dig out DC. They plowed out hundreds of cars and aided stranded citizens. They transported doctors and nurses to hospitals, where the wives of AAM farmers helped cook and clean because regular staff was unable to get to work. Twenty-two inches and a whole lot of goodwill turned these agitators into heroes. During their weeks on the National Mall, the farmers frequented the Smithsonian museums, taking refuge from the cold winter days and eating lunches in the cafeterias. In 1986, the American Agriculture Movement donated one of the tractors from the 1979 tractorcade to the National Museum of American History. Since those times, AAM plays a key role in agricultural policymaking in Washington, DC. In this case, a little bit of digging revealed a rich story about why this “tractorcade” was an important part of American history.
I also managed to find this video on YouTube of the event:
I can’t go into a lot of detail of what brought this up for me to be talking about it or even remember it but stay tuned to my blog and we will have a special announcement soon about something I’ve been working on.