Today the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County entered into an agreement with agricultural-machinery manufacturer Case IH to lease approximately $200,000 worth of equipment for $1 per year for 10 years for use at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
Under the agreement, Case IH will lease tractors with loaders, mowers and utility vehicles to the District, which will pay for insurance and routine maintenance. If a piece runs more than 250 hours in one year, a Case IH dealer will replace it and then offer the used equipment to farmers at a reduced cost.
In addition to saving the District thousands on equipment, today’s agreement connects St. James Farm with part of its International Harvester roots. In 1985 Case’s parent company acquired part of International Harvester, which began in 1902 when Cyrus McCormick’s McCormick Harvesting Machine Company merged with four other manufacturers. McCormick’s great-nephew Chauncey, an International Harvester board member, purchased St. James Farm in 1920. His son Brooks, an International Harvester CEO, took over the farm in the 1950s. He sold it in 2000 to the District, which took possession in 2007.
“We’re excited to partner with such an innovative company that also has such an interesting link with one of our historic preserves,” stated Forest Preserve District President D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr.
“Having access to the latest Case IH machinery at such a savings to DuPage taxpayers will not only help the District maintain the grounds at St. James Farm but also give the public a tangible way to better understand the forest preserve’s agricultural traditions.”
The 607-acre St. James Farm Forest Preserve is a popular destination for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. It is open daily between “Family Field Day” in late May and the end of November from one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset. Parking is available at the lot located off Hoy Avenue. A new parking lot, which is planned to open next summer, is under construction to accommodate year-round visitation.
Good things happen when you explore the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s 60 forest preserves and five education centers. For information on more ways to experience conservation, education and recreation in your neck of the woods, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org.