From the mattock and hoe to the horse and mule, the cotton gin and reaper, the tractor and air seeder—this is the story of farm equipment. Today, most farms are mechanized and farmers can do most of their own maintenance work and make the adjustments needed on their many intricate farm implements.


  1. Do the following:
    1. Discuss with your counselor the safety equipment, tools, and clothing used while checking or repairing farm equipment. Use this equipment, tools, and/or clothing (when needed or called for) in meeting the requirements for this merit badge.
    2. Draw a plan showing a well-equipped farm shop. Point out the shop's mandatory safety devices and features.
    3. Find all the universal warning and safety symbols on a piece of equipment and explain what they mean.
    4. Describe what a material safety data sheet (MSDS) is and tell why it is used. Obtain the MSDS for any engine coolant, oil, grease, fuel, hydraulic or transmission fluid, or other flammable or hazardous materials you use in meeting the requirements for this merit badge.
  2. Explain how power is produced or transferred in a:
    1. Diesel engine
    2. Hydraulic system
    3. Transmission or any other power system
  3. Do TWO of the following:
    1. Replace the handle of any tool found on the farm.
    2. Organize a tool rack or a storage system for nails, bolts, nuts, and washers.
    3. Using a hand file, properly dress the mushroomed head of a chisel or punch.
    4. Using a hand file, correctly dress a screwdriver tip.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. On an engine-powered machine: Grease all fittings, change the oil and oil filter, clean the air filter, clean the radiator fins, and replace the fuel filters.
    2. For any engine-powered machine, create a preoperational checklist; include checking the engine coolant, engine oil, hydraulic and/or transmission fluid, and battery voltage (using a voltmeter). Using your checklist, conduct a preoperational check of that machinery or equipment.
    3. Prepare any farm machine for winter storage.
  5. Visit an implement dealer. Interview the dealer technician or service manager for hints on good preventive maintenance. Ask why it is important, the costs, and what causes wear or damage. Report what you learn.
  6. Explain each step in ONE of the following maintenance procedures:
    1. Tightening hydraulic fittings
    2. Checking the air filter
    3. Cleaning a work piece with a wire-brush wheel
  7. Find out about three career opportunities in farm mechanics. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.


Scouting Literature

Auto Mechanics, Electricity, Environmental Science, First Aid, Plant Science, and Soil and Water Conservation merit badge pamphlets


  • Armentrout, David, and Patricia Armentrout. Farm Machinery. Rourke Book Company, 1995.
  • Bearings and Seals. 5th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1992.
  • Bellinger, Page. Farm and Ranch Safety Management. 4th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1994.
  • Belts and Chains. 5th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1994.
  • Bowan, Keith. Agriculture. Silver Burdett, 1987.
  • Brown, Arlen D., and R. Mack Strickland. Tractor and Small-Engine Maintenance. 5th edition. Interstate, 1983.
  • Bushey, Jerry. Farming the Land: Modern Farms and Their Machines. Carolrhoda Photo Books, 1987.
  • Fasteners. 4th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1992.
  • Fiberglass. 4th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1993.
  • Fuels, Lubricants and Coolants. 7th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1992.
  • Halberstadt, Hans. Combines and Harvesters. Motorbooks International, 1994.
  • Hathaway, Louis. Preventive Maintenance. 5th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1992.
  • Hoses, Tubing and Connectors. 1st edition. John Deere Publishing, 1993.
  • Jones, Fred R., and W. H. Aldred. Farm Power and Tractors. 5th edition. McGraw-Hill, 1980.
  • Kushner, Jill Menkes. The Farming Industry. Watts, 1984.
  • Liljedahl, John B. Tractors and Their Power Units. 4th edition. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1996.
  • Llewellyn, Claire. Tractors and Other Farm Machines. Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
  • Marston, Hope Irwin. Machines on the Farm. Dodd, Mead, 1982.
  • Olney, Ross R. Farm Giants. Atheneum, 1982.
  • Phipps, Lloyd J. Mechanics in Agriculture. 4th edition. Interstate, 1992.
  • Plastics Repair. 1st edition. John Deere Publishing, 1994.
  • Shippen, J. M., and J. C. Turner. Basic Farm Machinery. 3rd edition. Pergamon, 1984.
  • Shop Tools. 5th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1992.
  • Smith, Harris P., and Lambert H. Wilkes. Farm Machinery and Equipment. 6th edition. McGraw-Hill, 1976.
  • Stephen, R. J. Farm Machinery. Watts, 1986.
  • Welding. 7th edition. John Deere Publishing, 1991.