Drive north out of the small central Pennsylvania town of Muncy, alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River, up into the crinkled hills, and you’ll find it: the farm that grows machines. They sprout slowly as you approach: a landscape dotted with balers, manure spreaders, feed grinders, and more lining the old country road. Those errant shoots soon give way to clusters; round the final curve and those clusters explode into fields and fields of old agricultural equipment stretching on almost endlessly, covering the hills in twisted rows, undulating with the terrain and stretching out of sight.
Fry’s Machinery Inc. doesn’t really grow tools, but it does cultivate something just as valuable as any staple crop: a farmer’s ability to repair their own machines. As the largest farm equipment salvage yard in Pennsylvania (and quite possibly the entire eastern U.S.), Fry’s is a lifeline for smaller farmers in the region seeking hard-to-find parts for a litany of machines as the tools of their trade grow more expensive, more computerized, and ever more difficult to fix.
Plows, combines, planters, balers, spreaders, choppers, mowers, tractors, and more—that a place like this, so vast and sprawling and organic-feeling, still exists in 2022 feels at least a little bit miraculous. Of course, Fry’s Machinery is no miracle. Instead, it’s the result of one man’s hard work and one family’s dedication amid the larger forces that have reshaped agriculture in America over the last half century.