High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest

Plus one
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND — Mom calls me the other day and says, “I had the first person ask me.” She did not even have to clarify and I knew what she was referring to. In April, a couple weeks ahead of schedule, someone asked mom why she was not gone on harvest yet. Trust us people, we are just as anxious to hit the road! This winter has been a slow one and the harvest trail is calling our names louder and clearer by the day. This harvest, Osowski Ag Service has a few surprises for all of you! I have always said that I never have a shortage of things to write about day-to-day but our surprises are certain to add a few plot twists.

For surprise number one, we will be bringing two combines down instead of one. Those of you that are quick on the draw with the chain reaction of adding another piece of equipment to the Osowski Ag lineup will easily be able to guess surprise number two – a new crew member! We will be a party of five this summer. You will have the chance to meet and get to know our new crew-member, Peter, throughout the harvest season. For a small introduction, Peter is from South Africa and this will be his second year in America working for a harvest crew. His accent and short boots will be a constant dinner table topic, I can promise you that much.

For an Osowski family update, Brandon will be graduating high school on May 29th. He has applied for a couple different secondary education programs – agriculturally inclined, of course – but has not decided which one he will attend yet. Mom continued her work of painting/wallpapering with her friend, Carol, and Dad kept busy with the farm. I myself kept busy babysitting, helping out at a local daycare and trucking. I also spent the month of January in South Africa amongst all the winter festivities.

The hurricane-force winds we have been experiencing the last couple weeks may force some farmers in the area to replant but hopefully, we will be able to finish up within the week. Not uncommon to spring in North Dakota, we have had temperatures go from 35 degrees to 75 degrees in a matter of 24 hours. Between finishing up planting, planning Brandon’s graduation party, introducing a South African to the Osowski Ag ways and preparing the equipment for takeoff, the spring season will continue to be a whirlwind until the morning of harvest departure.

We look forward to once again sharing our harvest tales with you for the 2016 season!

A few flashback photos from the 2015 harvest.

Flashback to Kansas.

Flashback to Oklahoma.

"Lion King" trees in the South African countryside.
“Lion King” trees in the South African countryside.

Monkeys — as common as deer in South Africa.

Peter and Steph.
Steph and Peter on the coast of Margate, SA.

Beaches down in Margate, SA.

Steph and Brandon at Brandon's last home hockey game.
Steph and Brandon at Brandon’s last home hockey game.

Osowski family
Family photo!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

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Harvest 2016 Has Arrived!
Laura Haffner

High Plains Harvesting Headquarters – We are just days away from 2016 cutting season!  It is hard to believe that it is already here since we just stopped harvesting fall crops in December! Some of the equipment has already made the long trek from our country headquarters in Park, Kansas, to Burkburnett, Texas, the area our harvest adventure will begin this year.  The crew plans to cut wheat along a run from Texas to Montana and North Dakota.  We run John Deere S670 combines, 8R John Deere tractors, Brent grain carts with scales, semi trucks and hopper bottom grain trailers.  The combines are equipped with auto steer and have mapping capabilities.  We run Shelbourne stripper headers as well as John Deere draper headers. 1st Load of Equipment South - HPH The first load of equipment on its way to Texas.

We are beginning our fifth season as owners of High Plains Harvesting.  I will never forget the day when Ryan called to tell me the family he had helped harvest for years had decided to hang up their full time harvest hats.  I can tell you exactly where I was sitting in my classroom where moments before I had been calmly snarfing my lunch (you teachers in the audience know there is no such thing as a long, peaceful lunch!).  I soon wasn’t quite as hungry as I had been, since I now had plenty of emotion to fill my belly with the knowledge that things may never be the same again.  You see, Ryan had dreamed of owning a harvest crew one day and it appeared that this just might be his chance. Ryan soon went to work promoting his business plan and his hard work paid off.  Three days after school got out, I found myself in a straight truck hauling grain in southern Oklahoma as harvest was so early that year, not all of our crew had arrived.  That was five years ago.  A lot has changed in that time and sometimes I feel that we’ve lived a lifetime since then. Mark, our foreman, worked for the previous family and agreed to transfer to us when we purchased the business.  He has nearly 20 years of harvest experience and has been a very important part of the day to day operations at HPH.  When we started the business, Ryan and I maintained our professions and were not always “on the ground” so to speak, for day to day operations.  Of course, when he was needed, Ryan took vacation time and weekends to be with the crew, but in those first years that was the arrangement; Mark on the trail and Ryan primarily dealt with the business side of things. 1st Load of Equipment South - HPH

Mark, Pieter G., Albert, Willem, and Annie Dog (taking advantage of the moment to sneak a treat!) on their way home from delivering the first load of equipment to Teaxs this spring.

Today things look a bit different.  As one might expect, the business has evolved.  Last year, we had the opportunity to expand and as a result, was the first year that Ryan joined the harvest trail full-time since his college years. It was also the first year I joined the crew on the road full-time and became apart of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog family.  I would be fibbing if I said that the harvest life was something I always dreamed of. Honestly, it just wasn’t something I had thought about despite the fact I grew up surrounded by agriculture in a rural setting that was my home and had an agronomist father.  In college I even received a minor in agronomy (major in education), but harvesting just wasn’t a sector of agriculture I was as deeply familiar with except on general terms.  So, in all honesty, the life as a business owner in the harvest world has been a HUGE adjustment for me and a time of constant stretching and personal growth.  It is from this perspective I share our harvest adventures with you. HPH 6-7-15 Our first season on the road as a family may have had a learning curve, but moments like these solidified it was the right decision.

The harvest business, for better or worse, never seems to be static.  Our goal at High Plains Harvesting is to not stay the same either.  We are always trying to improve and learn from our mistakes and our successes; and we have had plenty of those in the last years.  The agriculture economy has seen better times, so constant, fluid planning is extra crucial this year.  Grain prices are low, and other aspects of the ag world haven’t caught up as quickly to this down turn.  We have a small grain farm and ranch so are feeling this first hand.  One the harvest side, equipment remains high so being creative and diligent in this area is something Ryan worked hard on this winter (and it frequented our conversations multiple times a day!). HPH - July 2015

Cutting in Morgan County, Colorado, last season.

Relationships and people are extremely important in the harvest business.  The reason we work hard behind the scenes is so we can provide a certain level of service to our customers.  Without them, we would not be here.  Each operation is unique and no two stops are the same which keeps things interesting and challenging.  We look forward to seeing and working with our customers this year. Without our crew, we would not be able to serve our customers.  We have several returning members this year.  I already discussed Mark and his value to the crew above.  Kirby, a retired business owner, decided to turn a year of harvest adventures into two!  He quickly became a valuable addition to the crew with his positive attitude, work ethic and ability to fix about anything.  His wife, Dot, joins him on the road from time to time and she occasionally contributed photos to this blog. Untitled Dot and Kirby.

Albert is another returner, and stepped up to the plate last year and took some responsibilities head on.  This year he is joined by friends, Shaun and Charel.  Pieter G. is also returning for his second year with us and his constant, radiating positive attitude is a bright spot on the crew! He is joined this year by his brother and cousin, Willem and Henry.  Harold, as the crew affectionately named Opa, is currently trucking.  We also have four other new members: Shane, Paul, and Kyle.  We look forward to getting to know the new members as the season progresses. HPH Seasonal Crew Members

2016 Seasonal Crew Members as of May 15.  Back row: Paul and Charel.  Front Row: Willem, Albert, Henry, Shaun, Pieter G., Shane, and Kyle.

Perhaps our biggest change in the crew lineup was the addition of our newest little harvester!  As you may recall, we had opted to wait to learn the gender of the baby until “d-day.”  Drum roll please….the baby is a girl!  I just knew I was destined to be a mom of boys since I’m surrounded by so many with our crew.  However, God had other plans!  Lady A was gracious enough to make her debut on a weekend where we had some rain so thankfully Ryan was nearby and was able to drive us to the hospital.  Little Man was excited to become a brother and is a big helper in our family.  He cannot wait to start harvesting and has been “practicing” on the carpet with his own crew for months now.
Untitled A family picture with the new addition. At least he's under the length limit! -HPH Creativity. At least the length is legal…
Untitled Scouting for rust and growth stage! It’s never too early to train the next generation!

We aren’t the only ones with news to report.  You may remember Mark’s friend, Jill, who occasionally sent in photo updates last summer when she visited the crew. Well, Mark popped the question in a big way with help from the crew.  With a message cut in the wheat courtesy of the guys, Mark asked Jill to marry him last year in Montana.  She said yes, and the couple has planned a November wedding so the crew will still be present to attend! She said yes!!! Best wishes, Mark and Jill!

Apart from the givens of faith, family, and friends, the subjects of agriculture, writing and photographing earth’s beauty are some of my life passions.   As society becomes more and more removed from the farm and agriculture, I believe it is crucial that those of us in agriculture share our stories with those around us!  We are currently in an environment where others are more than happy to share stories of agriculture for us that are half truths or all out lies to promote personal agendas.  Let’s be a positive force of truth, hold our heads up high in the face of adversity and take pride that we help feed the world!   I appreciate High Plains Journal and the All Aboard Wheat Harvest sponsors for giving us a platform to share our harvest story! I look forward to sharing and hearing from you in 2016! Untitled

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.
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A New Year and A New Beginning
Emma Misener

Elk City, Ok — People have always said, “I’m going to change! This is my year! I’m going to do something with my life.” Usually what happens is they set the bar high, succeed for about a month or two, then fall right back to where they were before they made their desperate attempt to change. I don’t think people realize that the world and their lives are constantly changing. Change is all around us. It is not something you can just control. Life happens. What we can control is how you deal with that change. You have a choice every minute of every day to experience life with grace and understanding, or with resentfulness and anger. I have always believed myself to be able to deal with what life threw at me. I have realized in the past six months of my 28 years of life that I was fooling myself. I never really fully understood what life is all about. Sure, I think I had a good attempt at understanding, but now that I really do, it has opened my eyes to how great this life really is! God has always been apart of my life. He’s been there in the ups and downs. My mistake was in thinking that I only needed Him in those ups and downs. I was wrong. I need him every day. I have finally realized that in giving my full attention to know, love and serve the Lord in my everyday life, I gained happiness and a deep relationship with Him that I never knew possible. For the first time in my life I truly believe that I am where I am suppose to be. I gave my life to God and am trusting Him to know what is best for me. I still have a hard time believing and trusting that He knows what He’s doing, but I have to. I believe that is why we are here. If I don’t, then I am not living my life according to His word and His individual plan for me.

I sat down  thinking I was going to write the same old thing I do every year: how the winter was, how the crop is looking, what has changed or hasn’t changed. Instead I was called to write my beginning post for All Aboard Wheat Harvest a bit different this year. Anyone who has followed my family and I over these past six years already knows everything there is to know about us. A custom harvesting operation consisting of my mom, Kristy, my brother, Dan, and myself. We and many people all around the world harvest the crops that feed the world. I have a wonderful job of serving those around me. There has been heartache and tragedy, good days and bad, but the one thing that stays the same is the love I have for God and my family. Things have not been easy. The struggles are what make us stronger. This year, it is hard to say where we will be. The late April freeze has damaged wheat, storms will keep coming, we might be struggling and we might not know where we are going, but we are still here. I pray that this year’s harvest season is not only abundant, but that it brings the relationships we have closer in love and understanding. Hug those around you, tell them you love them. Life is too short not to.

There are many things I have experienced in this life already, but I have finally learned the value of life and the value of family. God really has a great plan for all of us. I am so glad that He has given me the eyes to finally see it. I don’t know where the road will lead. I don’t know if we are going to have a good harvest this year. I don’t know what trials and tribulations are ahead. But I do know, that if I continue to put all of my trust in God to lead me where I need to be, I will be taken care of.

Momma Dan and I 2016 Momma, Dan and I are ready for harvest 2016!

Be safe and God bless.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland AgricultureEmma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.


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New beginnings
Z Crew

Z Crew

Manley, Nebraska – It’s about that time that things start really changing for us. It’s time that we look around and see that there’s nobody but us to determine what our future will be. Nobody will be there to tell us what to do or where to go or what we need to get done. It’s completely up to us. We may have some sort of plan about what the future will be like, but that’ll change. We may have friends by our sides right now, but I’m sure that they’ll change, too. There will be an endless amount of changes starting right now, but I hope we can gracefully take each change that life throws at us. I hope the unexpected twists and turns teach us valuable lessons and help us grow into better people. – Callie (taken from her Valedictorian speech given at graduation)

Change…something that some embrace while others struggle with.

Z Crew
Crew in 2009 – (Front row, left to right ) Jamie, Taylor, Tracy, Callie. Back row – Jim and Jenna

Our journey with High Plains Journal began the summer of 2009. Jenna was one of the first correspondents for this program and did a great job. She still has people recognize her when we go places and tell her how much they enjoyed her writing. She followed the harvest journey with us every summer from age two until she graduated from college. Her last year on the road was 2011. Jenna is now working for CLAAS of North America in Omaha. If you’re ever in the area and decide to have a tour of the facility, Jenna will be the one to show you around.

Z Crew
Jenna and me at the 2016 Commodity Classic CLAAS booth in New Orleans.

Taylor and Callie’s journey began as babies. They have been with us every summer – until now. Yes, that’s right…we’ll be traveling the roads without any of our girls this summer. It has definitely been a year of change. Sometimes, I think it’s been almost too much change for this ‘ole mama to fully absorb. But, you “do what ya gotta do” – pick up the pieces and just do the next thing. Keep pushing on and know that God is there with you every step of the way carrying you through this mess called life. Oh, believe me, there’s been lots of tears.

Taylor and Colten got engaged last fall. Colten is a local boy with roots in the community. He’s a pretty good match for Taylor and will fit in just fine with the rest of the Z Crew. The wedding is set for November 12th. So, you know what’s on Taylor’s mind these days – wedding planning, wedding planning and more wedding planning. I tried to convince her she could still tag along with us this summer and we could work on those wedding plans together but she didn’t agree. She recently got a full time job as a bank teller and is excited to begin her new life.

Z Crew

Callie graduated from high school on May 14th and because Taylor had decided not to make the journey this summer, Callie struggled with whether she should go or stay home. She told me she wasn’t ready for her harvest years to be over BUT she didn’t want to be the only kid on the road either. It’s been a VERY HARD decision for her to make but she also has decided to stay home this summer. Jamie and Curt are in the process of building a house and will be temporarily moving into our house for the summer soon after we pack the Cottage on Wheels. This will allow Callie to stay in her own room for the summer. The house is about to get noisy again but I won’t be here to enjoy it! Callie will be attending the University of Nebraska in Omaha this fall.

Z Crew

I will miss them. It just won’t feel right. They kept me in line and were always good for providing a laugh or two when needed. I took them being with us for granted. I never even thought about the day they wouldn’t be with us. Especially after harvest was over last fall. Had I known that was the last summer things would be “normal”, I may have tried a little harder to absorb everything that was happening. Harvest has provided us with a lot of great memories – A LOT! We worked together so well. Everyone knew their specific job and they did them well. We never worried that it wasn’t done right because everyone knew what was expected of them. What this has created, though, are four adults with great work ethic and who know what being a family means.

Z Crew

And so the “new normal” begins for Jim and me.

For those of you not familiar with the Z Crew or our history, I will touch on that very briefly for you. I was twelve years old when my grandma approached me with the idea of traveling the summer with them. I knew grandpa and grandma were gone on harvest during the summer months but never really thought much about what they did. So, I agreed to tag along. I thought it would be great fun to help grandma keep her little house tidy but most of all, I was just excited to get to spend the summer with her. This worked great for her UNTIL she left me in the field one day to help grandpa. I was hooked. My love for being in the combine was immediate and hasn’t gone away. They thought they were just taking their granddaughter on harvest with them. What they didn’t know was they were preparing me for what would be the rest of my life.

Z Crew
This is a picture of my Grandpa Hancock that was taken in 1957 just before he left for harvest. Grandpa began his harvesting career in the early 1950’s. 

Z Crew
This was my first year with Grandpa and Grandma in 1974. I’m practically in the header…guessing it must have been cleaning day.

Jim was a hired man for grandpa and grandma. He traveled with them for two summers – two summers that I was also along (hazards of the trade). We married in April 1982 and bought our first combine that fall. My dad had decided he was going to take over the harvest crew and they needed one more machine. This worked for several years until grandpa’s health began to fail and dad decided he just didn’t feel he was cut out to be a harvester. The year was 1989. Now what? We had this combine and we weren’t really ready to be done. Can we make the harvest journey work with only one combine? We left for Lodgepole, Nebraska the next summer (1990) and the rest is history.

Z Crew
That skinny young man leaning against “Henry” is Jim in 1975 (his first year as a hired man for Hancock’s Custom Combining).

Another change for us this year will be our first job. In the past years, we’ve started this adventure in Shattuck, Oklahoma. Unfortunately a month or so ago, we found out the acres we had cut in the past were being grazed due to the freeze and the wheat prices. This left us with an unknown and a great amount of stress. Finding a job to replace lost acres is not always the easiest thing to do. I put the word out that we were looking for a new starting point and a fellow harvester came to our rescue. God is so good! We will begin the summer with a new place to call home and new acres to cut near Claude, Texas. We made a very quick trip to meet the farmer and scope out the area a couple of weeks ago. I can’t help but wish the girls were going to be with us because I know they would enjoy the change. So far (as long as the weather doesn’t make any major changes for us), the rest of the route appears to be the same. But…with this being a year of change, who knows!

Jim just asked Callie if she would be willing to help him with the first trip over the weekend. Yep – back to making two trips with every move. Last year was the first and only year we were able to pack up, load up and move in one trip. Dang! We still have quite a bit of work to do to be ready to head out the driveway but the farmer would like to have us there on June 1. That’s not that far into the future.

Harvest and being on the road has been something that has been a large part of my life. I can’t imagine NOT doing it; however, it takes on an entirely different feel without my family being with me. It used to be the common question was, “Don’t you miss being home in the summer”? Nope, I didn’t. Why? Because everything I had at home, I had on the road. That won’t be the case this year. Change…the one thing you can count on happening in your life. It’s how you deal with the change that makes or breaks you. And I’ve got some very large shoes to fill with this blog!

Z Crew

Z Crew

Z Crew

Z Crew

Z Crew


All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.


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Four times the fun
Steph Osowski

Grafton, North Dakota—Didn’t think I would leave for the year without saying goodbye, did you? I wouldn’t dream of it! To say things have been chaotic around the Osowski household is an understatement (Disclaimer: I would be lying if I said we all didn’t enjoy the chaos, even just a little bit).

As I said in my previous posts, we got home on a Thursday and began harvesting barley on Saturday. Barley lasted for a good, solid week and then we segued right into wheat again. The wheat we cut in the area did about 55 to 60 bushels per acre. Once finished with wheat, we had a weekend grace period and then started into edible beans, where we remain today and will be for the duration of September and into October before we move into soybeans and a little corn to wrap up the harvest season. We were split up for a while, me being north of Grafton working on Farmer A while Dad would be east of Grafton working on Farmer B, but yesterday afternoon we combined forces and plan to take Walsh County by storm from here on out. Brandon has returned to high school to finish up his senior year so it’s just me and Dad running the show till the final bell rings and then Brandon comes out to get a piece of the action for a few hours. You can take the kid out of harvest but you can’t take the harvest out of the kid!

Growing up a harvester’s daughter, it makes complete sense to me why harvest is in my blood and clearly has no intention of leaving. However, being a part of the AAWH program has shown me that whether you grew up on harvest or just had the opportunity to work for a crew for one summer, harvest gets into your heart and is there to stay. Being in a wheat field is my favorite place to be in the summertime. I get asked all the time if I ever wish I could stay home, go to the lake on the weekends, live a “normal” summer. The thing is, this IS normal! Doing anything else would make me feel like I’m missing out.

I would like to throw a huge thank you to all you readers out there. You are the heart and soul of this program and I know I speak for all correspondents when I say your feedback and responses to posts are our biggest motivation. Special thanks goes to New Holland Agriculture and High Plains Journal for bringing this project to life. Being a part of this program has given me even more passion for harvest (if that was possible) in the sense that I not only get to live the harvest, but I get to now share our story with all of you.

Until next year, happy harvest!

Quote of the Day“I don’t know if you’re getting a lot done, but you’re sure making a lot of noise!” (Grandpa Hiladore yelled this at me while I was doing some work in the shop…too funny!)

Stuff Harvesters Like – Standing around in a circle on the end of the field and realizing you are all wearing an AAWH T-shirt from three different years.

Navy bean harvest.


Beans.A little cluster.

Dad in the combine.Had to catch a sunset, you know me.

4 years of AAWH, 4 different tshirts, 4 members of Osowski Ag Service!



The real us.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.



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Homeward Bound
Megan Roland

8895283761_27d9efa015_tDickinson, North Dakota—Roland Harvesting is finally in the midst of wrapping up the 2015 wheat harvest. The gang has been working their tails off in North Dakota for the last month. The wheat has been phenomenal, with most dryland making around 70 bushels per acre! The high yields in the area have made this stop considerably longer than we had anticipated. Along with the lengthy stop, we began losing crew members in mid-August, as many of them returned to school. Justin was the first to head back home as he began his junior year of high school. One of Brandon’s good college friends, Neil, made the journey from Colorado to help out the crew for the next few weeks. He was definitely a lifesaver and a huge asset to the operation! Last week, Brandon, Joel and Neil headed back to Laramie to begin another year of college at the University of Wyoming. In fact, Brandon will graduate in December with a degree in Agricultural Communication.

With much of the crew leaving, Mom has once again joined the harvest trail, along with two new truckers/combine operators. This weekend, progress has come to a halt as rain set in and the weather turned cool. Fall is certainly on the brink up north! If the weather cooperates, we are hoping to finish in North Dakota later this week. Mom and Dad will then head back home to Nebraska to plant wheat and continue fall harvest. Often times fall harvest does not wrap up until November or December, so there are still a few busy months ahead.

As another wheat season comes to an end, Roland Harvesting is beyond thankful for all of God’s blessings. Our season started off a bit rocky when we lost all of our hired help. However, we were blessed with many hardworking crew members who committed their summers to our harvest operation! As always, we are thankful for our farmers and the work they provide us with so that our livelihood may be kept a reality. I’d also like to give a huge shout out to the sponsors—High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. I’m thankful for their support of our harvest adventures and for understanding the importance of promoting agriculture. Lastly, a special thanks to all of the followers out there. Without you, All Aboard Wheat Harvest would not be able to thrive as it does. Here’s Roland Harvesting signing off on another successful harvest season!

Hillside cutting The rolling hills in western North Dakota make for some challenging cutting at times.

Cutting in a line A view from the third combine.

End of the dayBrandon captures his final sunset in the wheat field before heading back to college.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Roland Harvesting can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.

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The long road home
Laura Haffner

LH Blog Photo

Wheat harvest is nearly complete for High Plains Harvesting for the 2015 season. What a ride it has been! In some respects it is hard to believe it is almost over, but in others, it feels like we have been at it a very long time. In reality, as owners, the season never truly ends because we are often starting paper work and planning for the coming year before the current year’s crew even leaves for home.

Unneeded equipment (for the current jobs) is starting to trickle home. It will take several days of travel to get everything back. Once back at headquarters, the equipment will undergo any conversions necessary to prepare for fall harvest. We typically harvest corn, grain sorghum, and soybeans. Usually our fall season lasts into late November.

The majority of the crew still remains in North Dakota to finish up a couple of jobs there. They have been cutting wheat and also harvesting canola. Earlier in the job, the Durum had been running around 61 pound test weights and yielding around 55 bushels per acre. Things had been going very well until we experienced a major breakdown with one of the combines which involved removing the entire engine to get to one of the parts. The outcome of that situation is still in the works, and it is something we wish could have been avoided, but unfortunately, we aren’t immune from breakdowns. Also, a mud hole reared its ugly head yesterday, so we were given flashbacks of some of our Texas memories!

HPH - 2015

Sigh.  As you can tell the ground had been worked. There was no indication of mud. (Photo from Albert.)

HPH - 2015

It’s hard to tell, but the brown object is a moose! Ryan sent this in from North Dakota.  Not an everyday sight for our crew!

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

A few action shots from Mark.



Michael submitted these photos. The filters he used added such a creative touch!

Our northern jobs are a little different than others because some farmers have large amounts of on-site storage. They have the ability to run dryers so we are able to harvest the crops at a slightly higher moisture than is often the case which helps with our efficiency. Even so, last week we ran into some green crops and had some precipitation. We hope to have the crew traveling home next week. Obviously, as you have learned, these plans are subject to change!

HPH - 2015

Harold unloading his trailer at an on-farm storage site in North Dakota. (Photo from Ryan.)

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

A few more shots from North Dakota that Ryan sent in.

Things are slowing down in regards to the changing news and updates. By the looks of things today, it would appear that wheat harvest will gradually dwindle to a halt so it seems the time is upon us to make my final All Aboard Wheat Harvest post of the season. I’d like to take a brief moment now to thank those who made this adventure possible.

Thank you to all our farmers who worked with us this season. It is for you that we are in this business. It was great being able to see familiar faces as well as meeting some new ones this season. We look forward to serving you again in the future.

We also thank our crew members who have continued to work so hard and maintained positive attitudes this season as well as those who stepped into help when the need arose. We recognize you are a crucial part of this operations and your efforts are appreciated.

Thank you to our family and friends for putting up with our crazy lifestyle! Everyone is very supportive and some have even stepped up to help with mail, yard work, etc., while we’re away and we thankful.

Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed, even as a young child. I appreciate High Plains Journal for taking a chance on me and the High Plains Harvesting crew by allowing me to join their team as an All Aboard Wheat Harvest correspondent this year. Thank you to our primary sponsor, New Holland, and contributing sponsors, Great Plains, Kuhn Krause, Unverferth, and the U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc., for sponsoring the blog and giving us a platform in which we could share our harvesting journey. As agriculture continues to evolve, people become increasingly removed from the farm, and information instantly/easily spread (accurate or not), it will be even more important for those in agriculture to share their stories. It has been an honor to be able to represent the wheat harvesting sector of agriculture this season.

Finally, thank you to faithful readers and followers of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog. It has been a joy to interact with those of you who reached out to us. I have learned much from your stories and been encouraged by your words.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this a memorable season! Please honk and wave if you see us completing harvest up north, traveling back home or out harvesting this fall! May God bless and keep you until we meet again!

HPH - 2015

The HPH crew sporting their All Aboard Wheat Harvest shirts for a team photo while in North Dakota.  From left to right: Ryan, Albert, Harold (aka. Opa – affectionately named by the guys), Jaap, Wian, Pieter G., Michael, Kirby, and Mark.  Not pictured, Pieter T.  and David (taking the picture).  Two combines were also on a work-cation to Canada!


All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Albert and Pieter G.
Laura Haffner

LH Blog PhotoRecently I was able to catch up via phone and email with two more of our crew members on their day off. Albert and Pieter G. were both willing to share their stories with you, and I appreciate them taking the time to do so. Both of these young men came to us from South Africa. Albert has worked in America before, but this is Pieter’s first time here.

I hope you enjoy their perspectives!


 Why did you want to join a harvest crew?  I wanted to join a harvest crew to get to travel a lot, see a lot, meet people, and see the country side of America while on harvest. Every day is a challenge. You wake up never knowing what is going to happen and you look forward to meeting the challenges and rising up to them.   

Through your travels, have you been able to go anyplace new and if so, what was your favorite area and why?  I have been to a few new places each year. I think Montana’s countryside is very beautiful but I also likes Nebraska’s as well.

 What is your favorite job or responsibility on the crew?  Least favorite? My favorite job is combining. I enjoy the challenge of running a combine and trying to keep it running as long as I can for as well as I can. My least favorite job is servicing them in the morning and getting covered in wheat dust. At the beginning it was worse, but now I have gotten better at finding way to avoid the dusting. 

What are some things you have learned about American agriculture through this experience that you didn’t know before?  I have learned from different farmers and their different farming techniques. In North Dakota the farms are bigger. I have learned more about precision farming and etiquette when working with different farmers. 

 When you’re not harvesting, what things do you like to do in your free time?  I like to golf, fish, and catch up on sleep!

 Anything else you would like to share with the public like a favorite memory, etc?  He responded that he has had enjoyed the friendships he has made and working for HPH. 

Also, after one job, they were cleaning up machines as is usual. This farmer brought them beverages out and told them is was job well done and they had fun visiting. It felt good to know the customer was very satisfied with the job they had done.

HPH 2015   Albert

Photo from Albert


Pieter G.

Why did you want to join a harvest crew?  Since I was a little boy it was a dream of mine running big machines and traveling to see America.

Through your travels, have you been able to go anyplace new and if so, what was your favorite area and why? Montana (Hardin). It was really different then all the other places we’ve cut with the mountain views and the surrounding areas were pretty amazing.

What is your favorite job or responsibility on the crew?  Least favorite? Favorite – (combining) to be able to challenge yourself to do a better job every day! Least favorite, I don’t really have a least favorite job. I just like doing everything and doing it to the best of my ability!

What are some things you have learned about American agriculture through this experience that you didn’t know before?  Precision farming and the way the big farmers operate with the latest equipment!

When you’re not harvesting, what things do you like to do in your free time?  Golf, see new places, fishing and just spending time with all the friends and having a barbecue. 

Anything else you would like to share with the public like a favorite memory, etc?  Favorite memory – all that we do every day is a great memory!


Photo from Pieter G.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Tell us what you think
Tell us what you think avatar

The 2015 All Aboard Wheat Harvest Tour is beginning to wrap up. We are asking you, our loyal followers, to tell us what you think. This is your opportunity to express your opinions about the program and suggest ways we can improve your harvest experience.

Please take a few minutes to fill out a simple survey. The survey is anonymous and will be used to better the program in 2016.

Click here to tell us what you think.

Thanks for following the harvest crews!

For more information contact crew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture.

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