August 3, 2022
I farmed full time for 25 years on a diversified operation in northeast Nebraska, where we raised hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, oats, wheat and alfalfa. While this editor gig has taken me away from farming full-time, our family still lives on the family farm where I grew up: We care for and maintain the old farmstead, and we still run a myriad of critters, including a few cows, calves and a couple of horses.
UTVs were not a big deal when I was farming. Everyone had ATVs, but there are limitations with ATVs, especially in hauling any kind of payload.
I had always wanted to try a side-by-side on our farm, and that opportunity came this past February, when Polaris offered a three-seat 2022 Ranger XP 1000 NorthStar Edition Ultimate for Farm Progress to test out. As the shiny Sunset Red Metallic machine rolled off the truck that cold, snowy February day, I have to admit that I was excited to put it through its paces.
Over the course of a few months that Farm Progress had the Polaris, it was used for hauling feed and firewood, checking fences and pastures, and moving other payload around the homeplace. For me, there were four things that stood out with the Polaris Ranger.
Visibility. I need to see where I’m going, so I was impressed that there is plenty of glass on the Ranger, allowing for optimal visibility, even when you are driving under snow or muddy conditions. It is easy to drive, with intuitive controls. LED headlights offer plenty of brightness for those early-morning and late-night jobs. Pro Shield cab sealing also keeps the weather and dust outside of the cab, contributing to a cleaner and safer inside environment; and the tip-out or vented-option windshield can be opened to enjoy a more open-cab “breezy” experience, too.
Ease of hauling. It sounds like such a simple thing, but I loved 5-gallon bucket rings inside the cargo box, allowing four buckets to be placed and tied down in a row across the 54.25-inch box width. The box itself, with half-ton capacity, is durable, complete with reinforced tie-down points to keep the payload secure — even over rough ground.
Cab comfort. The first thing I noticed was the 7-inch infotainment system that has a backup camera along with GPS mapping, Plow Mode and Group Ride connectivity, so you can plan, track and share ride routes. We also liked the power windows and sure-closing doors. Three people can easily slide in and out of the spacious cab. And the contoured seats offer a comfortable ride, even when the terrain isn’t smooth as silk.
Versatility. This machine is fitted with 29-inch, eight-ply Pro Armor X-Terrain tires on 14-inch aluminum wheels for durability and ride comfort. With high ground clearance of 14 inches, the machine has a full-body skid plate for underbody and front-end protection. A nice feature is the Polaris HD 4,500-pound winch with synthetic rope and auto-stop, perfect for removing small trees and other tasks on tough terrain. The hitch towing capacity is 2,500 pounds, so the machine is built to work.
Style points go to the overall look of the new Ranger. It is a sharp machine, and it’s also available in other custom colors and designs, including Ghost White Metallic, Matte Titanium and Polaris Pursuit Camo.
For the time we used the Ranger, it was a big hit around our farm, no matter the task. Maybe that’s why I’m excited that the Polaris Ranger has been named the official UTV of Husker Harvest Days this year. You can learn more about the Polaris Ranger XP 1000 online at premierpolaris.com.
About the Author(s)
Editor, Nebraska Farmer
Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.
His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.
Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.
Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.
He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.
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