When most people think of northern Minnesota, they envision sky blue waters, leaping walleye, swimming children and boats. Lots of boats.
But the end of August will bring a new vision to Lake of the Woods and Baudette: Huge ploughs — or the American version plows — moving across the fields in an international competition.
Pax arva colat, or “Let peace cultivate the land,” is the motto of the World Ploughing Organization, which will feature its annual World Ploughing Championship Aug. 30-31. The United States ploughing contest will follow on Sept. 1.
Anna Marie McHugh, general secretary of the organization, told The Journal that the world competition usually features 54 to 60 plough operators who compete representing 28 to 31 countries.
She serves to coordinate the official contest.
Each of the competitors have won top honors in their counties to qualify for the world contest, she noted.
Conventional and reversible ploughs are featured in the two world competitions, with each country able to send either two reversible ploughs, or one of each, she said. Each country also sends a coach, judge and often a delegation of supporters.
Plough teams often arrive a couple weeks before the competition to allow them to prepare and practice ploughing.
The ploughs for the contest are shipped to the host venue, she noted.
Many of the teams will arrive at the host venue a couple of weeks before the contest to prepare and practice ploughing.
The 2018 world competition was held in Germany, and the 2020 competition will be held in Russia.
Ploughing competitions are not new. The organization’s website said in the 8th century, with the advances of the Saxons on the British Isles, the newcomers were said to have demonstrated their superiority in agriculture by putting on large-scale ploughing shows with ox-drawn carts. Over the past 60 years, ploughing has developed beyond its status as a tool for cultivation into competitions, which are designed to test contestants’ skills in handling the plough. Competitive ploughing is thus a competition to achieve the best result from ploughing – the king of agricultural disciplines – which primarily involves ploughing straight furrows and correctly turning the soil.
The WP was founded in Great Britain in 1952 with the goals of:
Promoting the art and skill of ploughing
Hosting international ploughing
Organizing and holding presentations and exhibitions
Supporting and aiding technological developments
Promoting food production for the growing global population
Cooperating with all organizations and groups which support the above goals
Camaraderie and understanding between all member states