High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest


Janel: North Dakota Didn’t Disappoint
Janel Schemper

Holdrege, Nebraska – We finished harvesting spring wheat and canola in the northeastern North Dakota area just recently. We had harvest weather and put in some good long days of harvesting. It was good and went fast because the weather held!  I enjoyed every single second of it as I love the North Dakota harvest dearly.

We used our pick-up headers to harvest canola. We also cut canola and spring wheat with our MacDon headers. Everything went pretty well. The yields were good and for the first time all harvest, it finally felt like what harvest is supposed to be like!  It was super busy with a clear forecast! We started early in the mornings and worked late into the evenings.  It was just the way I like harvest to be.  We had meals in the field and the equipment and trucks were busy due to high yielding wheat and canola. I was very happy with the acres we did get to harvest. The farmers we work for are absolutely great people and are always very much appreciated. I love harvesting wheat and canola so much in North Dakota that I wished we could have stayed longer and had about another 7 to 10 days of harvest work to do. Canola is one of my favorite crops to harvest.  The scenery is beautiful and the fields are nice in North Dakota. The month of August in North Dakota was dry overall and so there was no mud to deal with, which was a plus. I always look forward to getting to North Dakota and putting in some big days of harvesting and that is just what we got this year. I was sad to have to leave so soon but again the weather was great and we got the crops harvested quickly.

I spent four days traveling from North Dakota to home in Nebraska for our fall harvest. We had a decent trip home but we fought the wind for the majority of the trip. The wind was really terrible one day of the trip home. I myself had to back track for equipment three times. I’m happy to be home now and thankful for a safe trip.  Each year it’s always a stressful one.

Overall, the 2017 summer harvest was the most unusual harvest I’ve experienced yet. I didn’t get to start at our first stop on our harvest route because the wheat acres were short and yields were low.  There were times where we were super busy this summer and then times where all at once we weren’t. There were many harvest ups and downs. I’m ready for fall harvest and will soon be looking forward to the 2018 wheat harvest.

Our entire crew is home now and we’re all getting ready for soybean and corn harvest. I’d like to write another blog or two on soybeans and corn but I’m not for sure if I’ll have a chance to accomplish that but for now I’d like to say thank you to all of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers.  I am very happy with High Plains Journal and thankful for this opportunity to share my harvest life through writing and photography. I have certainly appreciated and enjoyed this journey. I am very proud of agribusiness and this beautiful country. The American wheat harvest is amazing to me as well as American agriculture. I’d like to thank our primary partners, John Deere and High Plains Journal, as well as other partners of AAWH including: ITC, Syngenta’s Agri Pro Division, Unverferth, and Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. 

I’d like to give a special shout out to my parents, LaVern and Carlene Schemper, today is their 44th wedding anniversary!

Thanks again All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers, High Plains Journal and sponsors. Have a great fall! 

Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. Lonny Schemper is the combine operator. I love harvesting this field. The scenery is beautiful all the way around the field! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
This is canola seed. The seed is crushed and oil is extracted. The oil is used for cooking! #canolaoil (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
I love my combine shadow! Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking up canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. Amazing fall colors are just beginning and I enjoy the beautiful scenery as usual in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper and the tractor grain cart operator is Dennis. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting finished up on wheat in North Dakota in mid-September. (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting loaded up and on the road going south for fall harvest. Here we were stopped for a quick lunch break. LaVern Schemper is pictured here. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Four days of traveling from North Dakota to home and I was thankful for a safe trip home. It’s always a stressful one. (Photo by Janel Schemper)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Steph: There’s no place like harvest
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – Upon leaving Colorado after my Harvest Support adventure left, the Graham Family that I became familiar with (and let me tell you, to know them is to love them) came to bid farewell to me and Monte. The three Graham kids were asking all sorts of questions and the one that stuck out the most was when little Chase exclaims, “I won’t ever see you again!” My heart broke a little because it was so adorable but my response was simple. “Oh yes you will — we’re harvesters!”

The Harvest Support truck finished up the season the last week of August and I’ve been back home ever since. It’s amazing how long a person can be gone from home and it somehow feels like you never left. It is also amazing how dirty my apartment got without anyone actually living in it for months but that’s another story.

Harvest around here is without a doubt in full swing. Wheat is pretty well taken care of so now the transition to fall crops has begun. Between daycare, nannying and hauling potatoes for the harvest, I’ve been anything but idle. Sugar beet harvest will begin first week in October and that’s basically considered a holiday in this area. I kid you not, people use their vacation time from their “day jobs” to come haul beets for local farmers. I even have a friend from college coming up from  Minnesota to get in on the action. It’s a kind of a big deal.

What a roller coaster year, huh? To be honest, nothing surprises me anymore. Growing up a harvester, there’s one thing for certain and that is — nothing is certain. Always expect the unexpected. In fact, expect it with a smile. To me, there’s nothing better than the unexpected because that’s truly when we grow as human beings. Staying in the comfort zone gets you nowhere. High Plains Journal continues to be awesome from year to year, providing me with this program to tell you harvester tales and my gratitude only grows from year to year. A big ol’ thanks also goes to John Deere, Syngenta, Unverferth and the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. You’ll never truly know how appreciative us corespondents are for your support to our livelihood! There’s no place like harvest.

You might be asking yourself, “where in the world will Steph go next?” Well, I’ll be heading to South Africa again this winter and scheduled a couple solo trips on my way home (Abu Dhabi, UAE and Nice, France). Once you get the travel bug, it demands serious attention. And as recently discovered, more and more attention each year. I read somewhere that you weren’t born to just work, pay bills and die. Kind of a harsh way to put it but, I plan to have many stories for the rocking chair when I grow old.

Until next year — I wish everyone a prosperous fall harvest and a safe and toasty winter. Happy harvest!

Quote of the Day – “Why’d you break it? Grandpa wants to work.”

Stuff Harvesters Do –
Naturally gravitate towards other harvesters. In a crowd, at a restaurant, attending a concert… anywhere.

Cabover Alert FINAL:
C&K Harvesting – 115
Anderson Harvesting – 131.5
MacDon Harvest Support – 73

Rainbow captured on the way out of Colorado.
Rainbow captured on the way out of Colorado.
Repping the HarvestHer brand!
Repping the HarvestHer brand!
Unloading the potatoes out of the the live-bottom truck I'm driving for Lone Wolf Farms.
Unloading the potatoes out of the the live-bottom truck I’m driving for Lone Wolf Farms out of Minto, ND.
At the warehouse where all the trucks unload.
At the warehouse where all the trucks unload.
Conveying their way into the warehoue.
Conveying their way into the warehouse.
Sunrising on the day.
Sunrising on the day.
Heart shaped potato!
Heart shaped potato! See, carbs really are love.
Mounds and mounds of taters.
Mounds and mounds of taters.
Lone Wolf Farms; est. 1938. 4000 total acres that vary between potatoes, sugar beets, wheat and soybeans. Classic family farm ran by 2 brothers (Chris, Josh) their dad (Keith) and grandfather (Dean). The fave color is, of course, "red like the potatoes."
Lone Wolf Farms; est. 1938. 4000 total acres that vary between potatoes, sugar beets, wheat and soybeans. Classic family farm ran by 2 brothers (Chris, Josh) their dad (Keith) and grandfather (Dean). Their fave color is, of course, “red like the potatoes.”
Potatoes is all about moving parts.
Potatoes is all about moving parts.
Trucker selfie in my HarvestHer shirt.
Trucker selfie in my HarvestHer shirt.
Sunrise.
Sunrise.
Nanny life. That face he made was PRICELESS.
Nanny life. That face he made was PRICELESS.
Had to include a couple favorites from the wheat run.
Had to include a couple favorites from the wheat run.
Happy harvest!
Happy harvest!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Laura: Last time for everything
Laura Haffner

Park, Kansas – There’s a popular country music song out right now called “Last Time for Everything” by Brad Paisley. I have to admit, if I get to thinking too hard about it, it can be a little bittersweet and a tear or two may creep up on me.  Since I often use songs to paint a picture in my posts, I bet you can guess where this is going.

I had every intention of joining the crew in North Dakota.  This year, the kids and I would need to return home in mid-August if we went north. When we originally planned, it looked like they would have a good week or so of cutting, then several days break, then back to cutting. Without launching into all the logistics, we decided it made the most sense for the kids and I to stay behind.  Ryan would zip home during that break to care for business here and see us before returning for the remainder of harvest. Hindsight is always 20/20 and as it turned out with the crazy weather, we should have gone ahead and traveled north. We ended up seeing Ryan for about 30 hours in a nearly four week stretch. Such is the life of harvesters and we rolled with it. 

It was a good reminder for life. Best laid plans are always subject to change.  You can always second guess decisions made, but that’s a waste of time.  A person has to make the most of every moment whether in the harvest field or in the big picture of life.  Luckily, unknowingly, that’s what we did a few weeks prior. 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Laura)
Daddy made it home! We are so happy to be reunited.  (Photo credit: Laura)

Backing up a few weeks, the kids and I stayed in the field all afternoon on the last day of Colorado harvest. For some reason I just had the feeling that we couldn’t leave.  It was a beautiful, clear day that afternoon and one of those rare, late July days that wasn’t unbearably hot. The kids both had their own turn to ride with Ryan individually which rarely happens. They usually have to share time. We also made a few rounds with the four of us scrunched in the cab. Since we knew the harvest up north was a few days off, we really made it count by staying to the very end. It’s a nice feeling to watch the last pass of a region’s harvest. Oblivious to what was happening, it was our “last time for everything” and one of my happiest memories from this year’s run. Next year things will be a little different, the family a little older, and the combine cab a little more snug.  The river of life moves on.  

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Laura)
The “supervisors” making sure the last two passes of Colorado are completed properly. (Photo credit: Laura)
 
I don’t consider the wheat run over until each person and machine is back “home” to the yard safe and sound. On Saturday, the crew that remained up north made it in. Each of the crews in Montana and North Dakota had been waiting for their respective acres of chick peas or canola to dry down. While they were waiting, we were able to shuffle a few pieces of equipment back from the north country to headquarters, those at the farm converted combines over for corn harvest, and some were hauling grain.

High Plains Harvesting - Photo from Ryan
The first load of equipment ready to head south. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 
A cold front moved through this week and there’s just a hint of fall in the air. Kansas falls can be tricky in that we can have 90+ degree temperatures one day and 20 degrees cooler the next. I’m a summer loving gal, but I will say I’m looking forward to some cooler temperatures.

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Ryan’s view from the combine. (Photo credit: Ryan)

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
A little different look than wheat and small grains! (Photo credit: Ryan)
 
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Finished for the day. Everything is full and ready to dump with the pits open on Wednesday. (Photo credit: Ryan)

It is hard for me to believe that it is time to wrap up another All Aboard Wheat Harvest tour. I appreciate the High Plains Journal for giving me this outlet to write and photograph the harvest experience. I’m grateful for the loyal fans who continue to show interest in this program and tune in to catch the latest bits of harvesting news. It’s always a pleasure hearing from you! Thanks to John Deere, our primary sponsor, for your support of All Aboard Wheat Harvest. A thank you also goes to ITC, Syngenta’s Agri Pro division, Unverferth, and Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. Your part is instrumental in keeping this project going!

If you haven’t had enough harvest yet, we’d love to hear from you over on our Facebook page. You can search for us as “High Plains Harvesting“. The first of our fall harvest pictures were just posted.

Have a safe and happy fall! God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

2017 Harvest Prize Pack Giveaway and Survey
2017 Harvest Prize Pack Giveaway and Survey avatar

The 2017 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.
In return, you’ll be entered in the prize pack giveaway drawing. Thanks to our great sponsors we have five prize packs to give away. 

To fill out the survey and be entered in the drawing, CLICK HERE.

Deadline is Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
Winners will be announced Wednesday, September 13, 2017. 

YETI Cooler




LIT Cooler with John Deere logo – We have two of these to give away.



Unverferth Grill Set



Variety Pack – OBHC coffee mug, John Deere tumbler, ITC YETI tumbler, Unverferth portable bank, AAWH t-shirt

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Janel: Legendary Jamestown, North Dakota
Janel Schemper

Jamestown, North Dakota – This Jamestown, North Dakota farm we are currently on is “almost” like home sweet home and has become a special place to me as we’ve been coming here since 1989.  This farm family is one amazing farm family.  I really appreciate all of them and getting to visit with them when we are here harvesting.  I went home to Nebraska for school from this farm many times.  When I think about all of the harvest memories I have here it’s just a big ol reminder of how time flies.  I can remember riding in the combine here with my sister and falling asleep in the buddy seat and also riding in the truck with my mom and hauling all of the loads of spring wheat and barley to grain bins on the farm.  This past year my mom found a picture of me running combine and on the back of the picture it said, “Jamestown, North Dakota 1994.”  I wasn’t even a teenager yet and I could run a combine all by myself!  It’s all amazing to me at how time really does just fly by!

I’ve been told it’s a drought year here but all of the crops look good to me. We have been cutting spring wheat and the yields have been in the 55 to 65 bushels per acre range, the test weights have been 60 plus and the protein has been good at 15 and 16 percent.  The wheat was not sprayed and the grain wasn’t too dry.  Almost every load was 15 percent moisture or higher.  The cutting conditions have been rather tough as well.  Howard Hale called me while I was out cutting wheat and we discussed the low wheat acres, high row crop acres and the cutting conditions.  I always enjoy getting a call from Howard Hale for a Harvest USA report.  I listen to his morning and afternoon programs almost daily.

However, our run here was short because there just aren’t that many wheat acres here anymore. Almost everything is planted to corn and soybeans.  I can remember when everything in the Jamestown area was spring wheat and barley and every acre was windrowed.  I can’t believe how things have changed so much.  We’ll finish up and get moved up to the Grand Forks, North Dakota area and harvest spring wheat and canola.  The forecast looks sunny for 10 days so hopefully just maybe we can have a good run at our next and last stop on our wheat harvest run! 

Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Just look at those beautiful North Dakota colors! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
A beautiful day of harvesting spring wheat near Jamestown, North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Wheat is my favorite North Dakota crop. This year there is so much corn planted here. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
My brother Jared Schemper has been driving truck lately hauling grain from the field to the elevator. I like it better though when he is in his combine in the field. I enjoy harvesting crops with him because he is the best combine operator. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
It’s a drought year and this wheat field still produced 65 bushel spring wheat! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
These are lentils. Jared Schemper brought me a sample of lentils from Montana.  Lentils look like certs and are as soft as silk. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
These are chickpeas. Jared Schemper brought me a sample of chickpeas from Montana. I think they look like mini pumpkins. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. The combine operator is LaVern Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
I love this time of day! Combine shadows followed by a sunset! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
I can remember harvesting this field when I was 12 years old. It was planted to barley and was making nearly 100 bushels an acre. We had three combines and the combine operators were JC, Jared and me. I remember we had everything full and were sitting there waiting on a truck to come back to the field. It was mid-August and it was just about time for us to go back home to Nebraska for school. I remember JC and Jared having a conversation about being concerned about what Dad was going to do for help since we were leaving for school. Jared was 15 and was excited to get back home for football and I loved playing volleyball. We were Dad’s crew and it was always sad to leave harvest but yet we were excited to get back to school and play sports! (Photo by Janel Schemper)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Laura: The end is approaching
Laura Haffner

North Dakota: Last week I wrote that the crew was racing to beat the rain. They were able to finish the field, but caught rain the next morning. As a result, they were out of the field a couple of days. Then they cut three and a half days before hitting green in the crop again. In the middle of the of those few days of cutting, Ryan made the comment, “We’re really starting to feel like we’re harvesting now!”  What he was referencing was typically we’re used to “binge” harvesting, meaning we cut for a week or sometimes several weeks straight and then catch a break. Here we have been making steady progress and chipping away acre by acre. There just hasn’t been any “bingeing” due to the weather conditions so it just feels a little weird. It has been such a strange year, and with the weather up north, it just keeps getting stranger. Nevertheless, we have been thankful for each acre we’ve cut despite the inconsistency in the cutting days. The crew finished up the durum wheat and have moved on to canola. The canola has been yielding in the 25-30 bushel per acre range.

Fall harvest is approaching but not exactly around the corner.  Since harvest has been moving at a slow pace up north, most have been able to keep up with the flow, so there doesn’t seem like there’s many extra acres available after we finish this job.  The end to our summer run appears to be in sight.

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The farmer’s and our combines teamed up for the last field of Durham. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Wheat is finished! On to canola! (Photo credit: Ryan)


High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Getting into the canola (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Many of the farms in the area have on farm storage. Its been nearly a month since we’ve taken a load to the elevator. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The next load is about to head into the bin. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Canola harvest (Photo credit: Ryan)


High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The green canola gave us the opportunity to view the eclipse. Everyone was impressed! (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Charel)
Charel snagged a picture of Ryan for me! (Photo credit: Charel)
 


All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

The Mattson Farms 2017 Harvest Scrapbook
Z Crew

Chester, Montana – 
It’s pretty quiet on the farm today…everyone is enjoying a well-deserved break in the action! The Mattson Farm’s 2017 harvest is in the books! We finished on Wednesday (8/16) afternoon at 3:08 pm. I know this because we had a “pool” set up with everyone’s guess. I was off by about six hours; I guessed 9 pm. 

This has been a great adventure! I haven’t been a part of a large crew since 1981. That was the last summer I was part of Hancock’s Custom Combining (my dad and grandpa). I thoroughly enjoyed all of the activity, the interaction of the larger crew and all the laughing! It gets a bit quiet when it’s just the two of us. The days seem to go much faster when there is chatter on the two-way and lots of movement in the field. And when we all gathered in the garage for the evening meal, it was fun getting to know everyone on a more personal level. I honestly feel like we’ve benefited from this experience way more than we could have ever thought possible. 

Thank you to the entire Mattson crew for making Jim and me feel so welcome! For giving us the opportunity to do something instead of nothing (because we had no acres of our own to cut). For the additions to our Christmas card list!! And…Jim never had to pick up a grease gun once!
(video credit Jim Zeorian)


Z Crew
Last morning of the 2017 Mattson Farms harvest.

Z Crew
Last morning of the 2017 Mattson Farms harvest.

Z Crew
Mynhardt putting fuel in “my” combine.

Z Crew
Jim looks pretty serious while dumping his last truckload.

Z Crew
Let the celebration begin!

Z Crew
The entire Mattson Farms 2017 crew (Ahmia, Kennedy and Gabe are missing).

So, because the crew is so much larger and because the only pictures I ever share are my own, I asked the crew to send me some of their favorite ones to share with you. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see something a little different than what I typically include in my updates.
Z Crew
The orchestra leader, Vince. (photo credit Jim Zeorian)

Z Crew
The day the kids from the city came to the farm to learn about harvest…and it rained. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
Vince and Connor. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
Vince and a few of the crew – Johnathan, Travis and Mynhardt. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
(photo credit Travis Naillon)

Z Crew
(photo credit Travis Naillon)

Z Crew
(photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Morning huddle – Johnathan, Travis, Vince & Mynhardt (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Eliza (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Brody (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Eliza and Brody riding with their mama (Megan). (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
(photo credit Koos)

Z Crew
(photo credit Koos)

Z Crew
In front of the “party bus”. Vince in front. Back left to right – Mynhardt, Travis, Koos and Johnathan. (photo credit Koos)


Z Crew
Vince & Jim. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Kerry & Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Kerry & Brie. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Janice and Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Janice and Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Evening chores – Johnathan and Mynhardt. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Kerry and Eliza. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Morning coffee – Jim and me. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Morning coffee with the truck drivers – Butch, Bill, Al and William. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
(photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Connor  (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)


(video credit Jim Zeorian)

(video credit Jim Zeorian)
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Steph: Change of scenery (again)
Steph Osowski

Monte Vista, CO – Harvest is unpredictable. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times over from each individual correspondent. This year has brought around many changes for individual harvesters and crews alike and in the spirit of that, another change has occurred in my usually predictable summer schedule.

Given the amount of acres burned up in western ND, the acres promised ended up not being the acres given. Having a full crew with less acres than you bargained for is a difficult situation to be in. Right as all this was happening, there was an opportunity for me to join the New Holland Harvest Support team for the duration of harvest. 

So, here I am, from harvest crew member to Harvest Support member, from campground to Holiday Inn. Monte and I got to the San Luis Valley in Colorado just a couple days ago and have been making field visits to the Graham’s who live and harvest in this area. Barley harvest will be in full swing come the weekend but some progress has been made, slow as it may be. This area is unbelievably beautiful — I find myself gawking at my surroundings frequently in a day and being grateful for the opportunity to be in the location as well as the position I’m in. What a summer, huh?

Quote of the Day – “Did the combine always rumble like that or can I only hear it now since I got my new hearing aids?”

Stuff Harvesters Do – Consider beef jerky its own food group.
Grain cart selfie!
Grain cart selfies! Chase, myself and Casey.
The background is to die for.
The background is to die for.
Way too cool.
Way too cool.
The Rockies.
The Rockies.
Monte of Harvest Support, likely giving some combine advice to the Graham girls.
Monte of Harvest Support, likely giving some combine advice to a couple of the Graham girls.
Shelby to my right, Chase at my hip. These kids are great! Just mising Haedyn.
Shelby to my right, Chase at my hip. These kids are great! Just missing Haedyn, who is behind the camera taking the photo. Some true harvest kids right here.
Chase riding with his mama, Casey, in the grain cart.
Chase riding with his mama, Casey, in the grain cart.
That face though... ha ha!
That face though… ha ha!
Blowing dust.
Blowing barley dust in every which way.
Love all the wildflowers growing in all the ditches.
Love all the wildflowers growing EVERYWHERE.
Unloading on Casey in the grain cart.
Unloading on Casey in the grain cart.
Chase reminds me SO much of my brother when he was little.
Chase reminds me SO much of my brother when he was little.
Trucks all lined up (with a gorgeous mountain backdrop to boot).
Trucks all lined up (with a gorgeous mountain backdrop to boot).
Dave and his epic mustache.
Dave and his epic mustache.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

What makes a team (and I’m not talking football)?
Z Crew

Chester, Montana – Definition of team: “A group of people with different skills and different tasks, who work together on a common project, service, or goal, with a meshing of function and mutual support”.

The business of custom harvesting – or any harvesting – requires having a good team. If there is even one bad apple, it upsets the whole group. But, having a great team is one to celebrate and will be remembered for a long time!
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do.
Ahmia with Brie and Connor (Picture credit Kerry Mattson)

I always told our girls, “There is no one job more important than another on this crew. It takes each and every one of us to get the job done”.  We each knew our job when it was time to pack, load, work and then pack, load, move and do it all over again.

Oftentimes, it feels like the members of the crew who are in the field are the most important ones…wrong! The one(s) providing the support of the team/crew should be viewed just as important (but is sometimes overlooked).

When a team is working together as a team should, it doesn’t function quite as well when one of the members is no longer part of the group. That’s how I felt last night when we came in from the field. I was again missing Ahmia this morning when it was time to make lunches. And I KNOW Kerry is missing her probably more than any of us.
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Ahmia (on the right) brought the kids to the field before she had to head for home.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Kerry shed way less tears than I would have but I’m so bad with goodbyes. And I know my kids would agree with me!

I know how Kerry is feeling. When you become dependent on someone to pick up the slack and can depend on, the void is felt when they’re not there anymore.  Ahmia was hired to replace Kerry at home while she was in the combine and to help Brie and Connor (Vince and Kerry’s two kiddos). I mentioned her in my first post since arriving here at Mattson Farms. Ahmia also replaced Kennedy when she had to go back to college. Remember? They were tag-teaming the job.

When I first met Ahmia, I knew nothing about her. She was pretty quiet while she sat there ever so respectfully listening to the rest of the group as they gathered for the evening meal. I watched her watch everyone else. I also watched her jump in and do what needed to be done. I have always told my girls if there was any one thing I hoped I could teach them, it would be not to wait to be asked to do something. If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. Ahmia just did it.

One of the days that we had some time before going to the field, I visited with Ahmia. So smart, so respectful, so helpful, so responsible. “How old are you, Ahmia?” I asked. Her reply, “I’m 13. I’ll be in the 8th grade this year.” NO WAY!!! When I told Jim this, his reply was, “I think she’s fibbing. She’s got to be 18 or 19.” So when I was alone with Kerry, I asked her how old Ahmia was. She said, “13”.

What a kid she is! She took complete responsibility for the kids and all that was required with the job.  She babysat the kids all day. We would sometimes leave as early as 9:30 and not get home for 12 hours. In that time, not only did she take care of the kids, she woke up early and helped prepare 16 lunches, sometimes baked goodies for breakfast for the crew, prepared the evening meals (main dish was already done but she would also make a side dish and dessert), baked cookies, and even upon request – baked apple crisp. She can make better biscuits than I’ll EVER make.  When I had time to visit with her, Ahmia loved talking about her family, her grandma and how she enjoyed helping her uncle around the farm. She drives combine, tractor and just learned to drive a semi. I should remind you…she’s 13.

Over the past two weeks, Ahmia became one of the crew…one of the team. But she had to go home yesterday so she could begin doing what most 13 year olds do – attend school, volleyball practice and be with her friends.

And we miss her!

Someone once told me I put too much responsibility on my kids during the summer. My reply to them was, “How better could I teach them life lessons than by letting them experience life lessons?” I knew that when my girls were old enough to be on their own one day, they would be just fine. Ahmia will be just fine! And I know that young lady will do amazing things one day.

To you, Ahmia, I’d like to thank you for all your hard work, for always having a smile on your face, for jumping in and doing the job without having to be asked, for taking care of the rest of the team, for just being an amazing person! It was an honor to get to know you.  I hope you enjoy the 8th grade and have fun. I also hope we get to see you again one day.

And to Ahmia’s parents…thank you for raising such a responsible, awesome young woman!

A few pictures of what happened Monday (8/14). 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Cutting chickpeas with the Sweet Grass Hills on the horizon.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
As I mentioned in my previous update, the chickpeas are very fragile and can split if too dry or if handled very often. One step in this game is eliminated and we go back to doing it the “old fashioned” way – the Z Crew way. There are no tractor/grain carts used in this process simply to eliminate one more transfer and one more auger.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
It just doesn’t look as beautiful on here as it did in real person!

Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do.
The #1 benefit of this job? The sunsets!

Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Another field in the books!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Lindsey: Everyday adventures
Lindsey: Everyday adventures avatar

Untitled
Photo by Lindsey Orgain

Lindsey Orgain joins AAWH’s Sarah Moyer to mull over her learning curve with custom harvesting as well as the everyday adventures she and her family encounter with their business. Tune in to step into the field with Lindsey.


Transcription:


Every day is an adventure, and we just kind of have to wake up and tackle the day.

Welcome on to this All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ podcast. I’m Sarah Moyer with Lindsay Orgain of Orgain Harvesting. We’re looking forward to talking about their operation in addition to some general custom harvesting questions. Without further ado, thanks for coming on, Lindsay. You didn’t grow up around the custom harvesting business, and you had married into it. So, some of your first experiences with it, what were your thoughts?

Oh,
you know kind of one of the funny stories that I always kind of think back about, and I think Jason and I were still dating… I had gone down to, I think, we were around Chattanooga, Oklahoma. And I’d just gone down there for the weekend, and his family and everyone was there. But I had never even pulled a trailer that I can remember. And he’d hooked me on to a 35-foot header trailer, and was like, “Let’s go.” And so we took off, and we make this turn right onto a bridge. And I wasn’t really anticipating the bridge being there. And anyway, we made the turn just fine, but with a little help from his dad and one of his hired guys… ‘Cause I’d kind of turned a little short, and I was so embarrassed. And I thankfully haven’t had it an incident like that since. I think that’s something that can be taken for granted too is that everyone [hasn’t] pulled a trailer let alone a 35-foot trailer… It was just kind of funny. And I think that was just kind of an eye opener for Jason also that this isn’t going to just be a throw and go kind of thing, you know. It’s going to need a little more guidance about doing things… It’s kind of a funny thing that we still will kind of laugh about, but anyway… We got through it, and we’re here to talk about it today.

And along that, you are not only
here to talk about it today, but you have two kids that you get to help raise and be exposed to this lifestyle. So, some of the adjustments there I’m sure have thing gradual, and it’s all about small learning steps… but what were some of your first roles during harvest?

Still now, if I’m in the field, I’m typically in the tractor and grain cart. And it seems like during our fall harvest, that’s where I wind up. Typically, we might not have as much help in the fall as we do in the summertime… but certainly with two little ones, that doesn’t happen too often these days. So primarily I’m, you know, making sure everyone’s fed. When it’s time to move fields or whatever, you know, I’ll come out and drive a pickup – just whatever needs to be done.

And
that’s important to have some
people available.

Absolutely, now I think that Jason, he likes just having somebody like myself, whom is just kind of available to do
whatever might be done – just kind of have some feet on the ground. That’s how he puts it. [Someone] that’s not tied up in a machine or a truck all day. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none, I think would be a good title for me.

Well, you help things run more smoothly during harvest, and as you mentioned, this is not a typical
year for the Orgain Harvesting crew with you and a new baby here that just arrived early summer. So, that’s been exciting. You all had a different harvest route than normal. Will you explain some of the adjustments that your harvesting business decided to make to adjust for both the number of wheat acres that were out there this year and having a new baby coming?

It
has been a different year for sure, as far
as acres go. You know, I’ve read and seen a lot about different diseases and drought; and fortunately where we have been, not been a huge issue. However, the acre count has definitely, definitely been down. One of our main customers in this area had to hay everything, which we are cattle ranchers ourselves…That’s something that we do and are prepared for, I guess – in a sense from other people just knowing more about that side of the agriculture industry. Jason had a friend tell him one time, “You know, if you’re combine is parked at home, you’re certainly not going to cut anything with it.” And that’s kind of been our motto, I guess you could say as we have moved on… that we may not have as many acres as we have in years past, but we will have you no acres if we don’t keep going.

We will digress to thank our sponsors, but in a moment we’ll talk about some norms for  custom harvesting that may be not as familiar to the
outside community. We would now like to thank our primary sponsors for this podcast: High Plains Journal and John Deere. Let’s jump back in, Lindsey. What is your outlook on the unpredictability that’s associated with custom harvesting?

Every
day is an adventure,
and we just kind of have to wake up and tackle the day… just kind of be ready for what it throws at you, I suppose, and if that includes a month and a half old baby too... But she’s certainly been a really, really, really good baby. She’s not thrown a wrench in anything, so we’re very, very blessed and thankful for that. Every baby is a little different, but she’s been about as sweet as they get… 

A very good thing,
especially with the busy time that harvest is. Would you talk about some of the things that happen in the off season that are important to helping make harvest run smoothly during the harvest season?

I
suppose, probably with maintenance and things… You know we have a typically pretty good  fall run as well. S
o, when we wrap up wheat harvest, we have maybe a month or so usually to get home and kind of get our own farming done as far as plowing and getting some wheat in the ground, because we do graze quite a bit for our cattle. And then we get packed back up, and thankfully our fall acres are in Oklahoma. They’re in north central Oklahoma; so we are away from home, but not to Montana away from home. You know, we’re able to kind of be back and forth. You know, that can typically last anywhere from getting wrapped up around Thanksgiving, and then there’s been years that we’ve been finishing our fall harvest in December, January, February… just kind of depending on the weather. If it’s been a wet winter and fall, it’ll take a while; so then it feels like when wheat harvest it’s about to start again. And I guess as far as, you know, doing things to get ready for wheat harvest, I guess it’d just be typical maintenance… that might not happen as early as we’d hoped to just kind of depending on when our fall harvest gets wrapped up.

How
do you keep all of the paperwork straight, and how is that all
organized? Is that something you do on the road, or does some of it have to wait until you get back home?

None of our fall customers are wheat customers, so, you know, we don’t revisit
anybody.  I guess you could say [that] season to season. But our paperwork is typically just from job to job. We have to get everything wrapped up and done before we move on to the next customer. Having to worry about Farmer A while you’re trying to tend to Farmer B It’s a lot easier, I think, mentally and certainly on paper to just get everyone wrapped up as you move on. And sometimes, I guess, as far as when we’re collecting money from each farmer, we might wait until we’re ready to leave, because that can take a lot of time to go around and collect… and mostly just because everyone wants to visit and chat. And that’s perfectly fine, but it’s certainly something you have to kind of factor in time for… You know you’re not just going to go show up and grab a check and go. I don’t think that’s how this business works. You have to have those relationships with those farmers, and I mean they’re our friends too… Basically, you know you’ve got to factor in pretty much another day to kind of get that side of things totally done. That’s I guess you could say fun side of it too, because everyone likes to get paid. But then, you also finally, hopefully have time to chat and kind of get caught up on life, because certainly when everyone is in the field and working there’s not usually time to do that.

That sounds
like a classic case of what many agriculture producers experience, whether they be custom harvesters or not, is that relationship building and being neighbors no matter the distance.

Absolutely.
Not growing up in this industry, that’s certainly something that I have come to love about
it is everyone who is in this line of work – be it on the harvesting side, on the producing side – I mean, they do this because they love it. You have to. I couldn’t imagine waking up every day and this being your job and not love it. Certainly on years like this, if you don’t have a passion for it, how do you keep going? How do you keep wanting to put more seed in the ground or load that combine up again?

With those remarks, that will conclude this All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ podcast with Lindsey Orgain of Orgain Harvesting. This production is made possible by High Plains Journal, John
Deere, AgriPro, Unverferth Manufacturing Company, I.T.C., the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s Ten Acre Challenge and you – our listeners. Thank you so much. I’m Sarah Moyer, and this has been your All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ podcast.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr