Grafton, ND – Harvest time. I doubt there will ever come a time when I don’t start mentally packing for it come mid-April. My mind will wander off, daydreaming about wheat fields, and next thing I know I’m checking my apps for wheat prices, weather reports for that first stop on the wheat run and yield projections. Some friends of mine started combining in southern Texas a week or so ago and were sending me Snapchats of their combines in the wheat… I got goosebumps.
For those of you new to the program this year, here’s a quick synopsis of me. My name is Stephanie (Steph) Osowski. I’m a third generation custom harvester and am hopelessly addicted to the lifestyle. My family has always custom harvested so all my best childhood memories are either in a wheat field or somewhere along the wheat belt.
My mom is Loree, my dad is Bob and I have one (not-so-little) brother named Brandon. He’s 20-years old and a total farm kid. He finished up his first year of college for farm management this spring. I obtained my four-year degree in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Animal Science from North Dakota State University (Hail the Bison). I grew up in the small, rural town of Grafton, ND and adopted many of the rural ways of life. Working the harvest circuit keeps me busy from May till the tentative time of slowdown, which varies from October to December. In the off months, I do as much traveling as I can (previous years I have traveled to Thailand, Australia and South Africa), over-the-road truck, nanny, assist at a daycare and substitute teach. Combines and kids — two of my biggest loves in life. A couple years ago, I met a handsome South African named Peter at a trailer park in Kansas and we have been an item ever since. That about sums me up!
Change comes in all shapes and sizes. The only thing that stays the same about change is that it is inevitable. Not only will I be driving John Deere combines this summer but I also made the adult decision to work for a different crew this 2017 harvest. I have my family to thank for everything that I have learned about harvest and the intense passion that they have instilled in me for the industry but, I feel it is time for me to break free so I can see and experience how the other kids do it. My long term goal is to be the boss of my very own crew so the more perspective I can get, the better. One of Peter’s favorite sayings is “there are many ways to skin a cat”
and I think the same thing can be said about harvesting a crop; there are many ways.
As for my winter travels, I went to South Africa/Europe this winter, just as I mentioned in my farewell post for the 2016 season, and we were able to spend much-needed time with Peter’s family and friends. The best part of going there in the North Dakotan winter months? It’s summer in South Africa. So I’m sending home pictures of the big, beautiful sun while my family and friends back in the States send me pictures of big, blustery blizzards. Peter has a job in Mississippi this year so together we had to make yet another adult decision and do the long distance thing for a few months because the job market in Mississippi for my skill-set is a bit weak. God bless technology.
Fun fact (or, not so fun, depending on your perspective); the amount of winter wheat planted in the United States is the lowest it has ever been since the year 1909. Who am I kidding, that’s a pretty intimidating fact to read from a custom harvesters perspective. However, there are still around 32.4 million acres out there that need to be harvested! I’m an eternal optimist, in case you hadn’t noticed. 🙂
Anderson Harvesting (party of 3) will be be commencing summer wheat harvest towards the last week in May and heading to our first stop on the run — Seymour, Texas. I haven’t harvested wheat in Texas since I was a kid so I’m pretty excited about this! This harvest is going to be chalk full of new harvest stops and new people which means lots of new things for me to blog about.
2017 wheat harvest — bring it on.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal
and John Deere. You can contact Steph at firstname.lastname@example.org.