Do Farm Tractors Have Titles?

A farm tractor is a major investment, and you anticipate you’ll have yours for years to come. As such, you treat your farm tractor more like a luxury vehicle than a piece of equipment. On that note, you may wonder, like most of us who are considering buying a new or used farm tractor – do farm tractors have titles?

If it’s a large construction tractor for commercial work, then yes, it will be titled. That said, a farm tractor you use around your property will not have a title. You’ll just have a receipt or invoice as proof of ownership. Farm tractors used as road tractors to mow the right-of-way or used-for-hire to move commodities over the highway are required to be registered and titled in the United States.

So, if us farmers don’t have a title, how do we prove ownership? And is this exemption of a title for farm tractors in most states across the United States? Keep reading, as we’ll do our best to answer all these questions and more. You won’t want to miss it!

Are Tractors Titled?

A certificate of title, or more commonly referred to as a “title,” is a document used in the United States to indicate legal ownership of a vehicle.

With a price range of anywhere from $25,000 to upwards of $350,000 plus, a farm tractor is on par with the cost of a luxury boat or yacht. Since you’d need to get a boat or yacht of a similar price titled, it would naturally make sense that the same logic would apply to an expensive farm tractor as well.

After all, the whole point of having a title for a boat or yacht is to prove that you bought it and own it legally. The more expensive the yacht, the higher the need for a title there would be.

Yet when it comes to most farm tractors and most, if not all states in the United States, they are not titled.

If you have a commercial tractor for construction purposes, then it may include a title. Regular farm tractors you use to maintain your farm and/or property tend to be without a title, though. Yes, that’s despite the fact that you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on one. Something we found very shocking when we purchased our first farm tractor.

These tractors could include a certificate of ownership, which is not quite the same as a title. But as this point, without either a title or a certificate of ownership, your best bet is to hold onto the receipt issued to you at the time of purchase.

Don’t worry we thought this was a bit insane too. So much so, we’ve even contemplated on framing our sales invoice for safe keeping.

Okay, so does this mean that because your farm tractor came title-less that you can safely and legally operate it in the state you call home? For a majority or we can safely say for all States, yes you can. Expect if you plan on driving in on any type of public road. Read on to learn more.

Are Farm Tractors Titled In Texas?

According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, farm tractors and road tractors are not eligible for Texas title. Implements of Husbandry Implements are also not eligible for Texas title.

Implement of husbandry means a vehicle, other than a passenger car or truck, that is designed and adapted for use as a farm implement, machinery, or tool for tilling the soil, a towed vehicle that transports to the field and spreads fertilizer, or agricultural chemicals, or a motor vehicle designed and adapted to deliver feed to livestock.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration, a certificate of exemption is required in Texas and is also requirement in most, if not all, States in the United States.

The certificate of exemption needs to be renewed every other year. And the fee ranges between USD$24.00 and USD$100.00. (in the hyperlink, refer to Note 14 under the chart).

Farm tractors and implements of husbandry are also considered “slow-moving” vehicles in Texas. As such, they are required to display a slow-moving emblem.

Are Farm Tractors Titled In Louisiana?

According to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety Office of Motor Vehicles website titling of a farm tractor is optional. Farm tractors are also exempt from obtaining license plates and registration.

However, if you wish to proceed with obtaining an optional title, Louisiana Department of Public Safety Office of Motor Vehicles lists out the basic requirements for obtaining one here.

A certificate of title is the official negotiable document of ownership for vehicle. The key requirements to obtain one are listed below.

  • A completed Vehicle Application Form (DPSMV 1799) is required on all transaction in which a title will be generated.
  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin. Read more here, as there are some detailed specifications for this, including notarizing it.
  • Original itemized invoice from dealer to purchaser, showing complete description (make, year, model, and identification number) of the farm tractor sold, tractor traded-in (if any), and the dealer’s current permit number. Read more here, as there are further requirements if a tax credit was issued or if you are in a non-notary state.
  • Properly completed and signed Odometer Disclosure Statement.
  • Original or copy of properly completed UCC-1 form (typically a financing statement) or other security agreement, if a lien is to be recorded.
  • All files with a date of sale on or after August 1, 2012, must include a copy of each vehicle owner’s current and valid photo identification. The photo identification provided should be a copy of the driver’s license or identification card issued by this state or another state. If an acceptable form of identification cannot be provided, a title will be issued. However, a plate will not be issued until identification is shown.
  • All walk in files with a date of sale on or after January 22, 2019 with an out of state driver’s license or identification card must contain a copy of both front and back of the identification.
  • All dealer files with a date of sale on or after February 1, 2019 with an out of state driver’s license or identification card must contain a copy of both front and back of the identification.

Are Farm Tractors Titled In California?

According to the State of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles website, titles are not mandatory for implements of husbandry and farm tractors.

Implements of husbandry and farm tractors fall under the category called “Special Equipment” in the State of California. These are vehicles, which are sometimes operated on the highway, fall under the definition of Special Equipment and are exempt from regular registration.

Again, an implement of husbandry is a vehicle used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations.

Special Equipment registration is issued to qualified vehicles. The owner of a qualifying vehicle is issued an Special Equipment plate and an Identification (ID) card. A title is not issued to vehicles with Special Equipment registration.

Special Equipment registration is a requirement for all vehicles under this category – except for implements of husbandry and farm tractors. It’s stated as optional.

However, what’s interesting is there is an option for an owner to apply for a California Certificate of Title as a separate transaction. It isn’t completely clear in the form what an “Off highway” vehicle is but I’m assuming a farm tractor would qualify. I’ve sent an email to the DMV office to clarify and will update this post as soon as learn any new information, as this would be very useful for some folks!

Life in Texas, farm tractors are also considered “slow -moving” vehicles. They are not designed to keep up with the speed of traffic. Farm tractors usually travel 25 mph or less. And, therefore, are required to display an orange/red triangle on the back of the farm tractor.

example of a slow-moving emblem

Tractor Proof of Ownership

Besides registering certain tractor parts, we also recommend you keep your farm tractor receipt somewhere secure in your home. While most of the time, people don’t hold onto a receipt after a purchase, please don’t throw this one away. 

Take a photo of your bill of sale, receipt or invoice. Keep it on your mobile phone and another copy in the cloud (like Google Docs or DropBox – both are free to a certain limit) for safe keeping.

GOOD TIP

You want to stash the receipt where you’ll remember it and can easily reach it, such as a closet or cabinet. Keep it in as good condition as possible, if you only keep a physical copy of it. Avoid creasing it, bending it, folding it, or getting it wet. The receipt has some of the same information that a certificate of ownership might display, such as the date and time you bought the farm tractor, where you bought it from, and how much money you spent on it.

While your tractor is still new, make sure you have a record of its serial number as well. You can jot this down on a piece of paper if that’s what works best, maintaining that paper with the tractor’s receipt. Knowing the serial number of your farm tractor gives the police something to look for in the event your tractor is ever stolen. It also adds credence to your claims of original ownership when or if you sell it.

A manufacturer certificate of origin, bill of sale, or invoice is acceptable as the ownership evidence for a farm tractor.

GOOD TO KNOW

You just bought a farm tractor and you want to get it titled. Unless it’s used for construction work or other commercial purposes, or a State allows you to apply for one, like in the State of California, your tractor will likely come without a title.

There are some optional titling and identification plate rules in various States you’d have to follow, so we recommend you look up the laws in your own neighborhood to see what is required.

At the very least, you need to keep the receipt for your farm tractor and know its serial number to potentially prove ownership.

Best of luck!

Related Question

What are Implements of Husbandry?

Implements of husbandry is a vehicle, other than a passenger car or truck, that is designed and adapted for use as a farm implement, machinery, or tool for tilling the soil, a towed vehicle that transports to the field and spreads fertilizer, or agricultural chemicals, or a motor vehicle designed and adapted to deliver feed to livestock.

Implements of husbandry include the following:

  • Farm Tractors
  • Combines
  • Forage Harvesters and Wagons (when towed by an implement of husbandry)
  • Conveyors
  • Swathers
  • Manure and Fertilizer Spreaders
  • Sprayers
  • Mowers
  • Ploughs
  • Discs
  • Other Farm Equipment

Christy Louth

Christy is a wife, writer, artist and hobby farmer with an addiction to tractors.

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