When Luke Gessler and his wife, Elena, were considering buying an acreage near Portland, Maine, one of the first things they noticed was the maple trees.
“The owners had already marked over 40 maple trees throughout the property for sap collection,” Luke says.
The Gesslers packed a lot of activity into their previous homestead, a small 1.5-acre farm near Naples, Maine, including making maple syrup, raising pigs and beekeeping. But they needed a bigger property for their future plans to raise more animals – especially sheep. The new, larger acreage checked all their boxes.
Once the family – including their children and pets – unpacked their boxes and settled into their new farm, one of Luke’s first priorities was getting a compact tractor to take care of the property.
In addition to equipment for mowing the lawn, he needed a new tractor with a bucket to replace his aging John Deere machine and reduce the manual labor involved with raising animals, creating and maintaining food plots, clearing brush and maintaining woodland. Luke also wanted to flatten the extensive dirt bike trail system the previous owner had created.
First Bobcat Compact Tractor Owner in Maine
Luke went to work researching tractors. He test-drove competitive brands that he had used in the past. Bobcat wasn’t on his original list because he only thought of skid-steer loaders and mini excavators when he thought of the brand. But he took a different route home from work one day and passed Jordan Equipment, a Bobcat dealer, where he saw a Bobcat compact tractor parked out front.
“I said ‘Holy cow, look at those tractors,’” Luke says. “I swung in there and took it for a test drive right there in the yard and parking lot.”
He quickly realized that he could purchase a small compact tractor – a Bobcat CT1021 – and still run a 60-inch mid-mount mower. For Luke, this was a big selling point over the smallest Kubota compact tractor, which required a modification to operate a mid-mount mower. Luke’s dad, who grew up on a farm, chimed in and encouraged him to consider Bobcat.
When Luke purchased his compact tractor, his sales specialist told him some exciting news: Luke was the first person in the state of Maine to purchase a Bobcat tractor.
“The experience was really great,” Luke says. “He and the team were very excited about the tractors and knew how excited I was. They were right there to answer any question.”
Compact Tractor Attachments and Implements Make Tackling a Chore List a Breeze
As soon as Luke got his new compact tractor back to the farm, he got to work using the tractor’s implements and attachments. As an avid deer hunter, one of his first projects was using the box blade implement to clear an area at the back of his property to plant a food plot for deer.
“Without the box blade – which is my favorite implement so far – the project would have taken me a lot longer,” Luke says. “Being able to raise and lower the cutting edge is huge. And I’m so excited that the food plots are growing really well.”
He’s now working on his next project – turning the dirt bike tracks into a pasture so he can raise Angora goats for their wool. With the box blade attachment, Luke is able to clear brush and flatten dirt. His compact tractor also makes many of the routine tasks of running a farm a lot easier – hauling firewood, mowing and doing chores.
Luke says one of his compact tractor’s most useful features is the ability to take the front-end loader off the tractor, allowing him to move more easily between tasks and in tight spaces. The tight turning radius of the compact tractor also comes in handy when he’s mowing near the fruit trees at the back of the property. When he smoothed 18 yards of gravel, which was his toughest task with the tractor to date, the turning radius saved him time by being able to get in tight.
Comfort is another significant advantage of Luke’s new compact tractor.
“I was surprised by how super comfortable the seat is,” Luke says. “It’s great for my wife because she can scoot the seat up as far up as she needs. I also love how smooth the hydrostatic transmission is as it goes in and out of gear.”
Building Future Plans With His Compact Tractor
Luke and his wife plan to take their honey, syrup, wool and pork to the many farmers’ markets in the Portland area. Clearing brush to add more pastures – and animals – to the property is also at the top of his list. With a full-time job, a baby and a large property, Luke says he wouldn’t have time to do everything he wants to without his new tractor.
“I’m really looking forward to using my compact tractor to continue to clear out the woods and get everything back to the pasture it used to be,” Luke says.
Read and watch other stories about compact tractor owners tackling their favorite projects.