22 Jun Janel: Blue header time – yea!
Dodge City, Kansas – I love this time of year. I get to use my blue Shelbourne Reynolds header for wheat harvest at two of our stops here in Kansas. A stripper header is annoyingly expensive but is fun to run. I love blue header time. When I began harvesting with a Shelbourne Reynolds header 5-plus years ago, I was not happy about it. I just kept thinking about the added machinery expense and operation cost. The custom harvesting business has big risks and having another header to harvest wheat seemed so silly to me. Also, the government doesn’t have a program to insure our costs. There is no government program for the custom harvesting business. Also, learning to operate “another” piece of machinery just seemed ridiculous. However, my attitude changed very quickly, and it’s a super header to operate. My combine never runs out of horsepower having a blue header in front of it. There are many advantages with using a blue header, but I’ll discuss more at another time. It’s a whole different concept.
We’ve been harvesting for two days here in the Dodge City, Kansas area, and the yields have been 50 to 70 bushels per acre with 61-plus test weights- so far so good! We are cutting white wheat, and it’s a beautiful crop this year. It’s still standing, and that’s something to be thankful for as a combine operator.
I’ve wanted to share my “The American Harvest” poem that I wrote over a year ago, but I’ve been waiting for the perfect time. Today is the day in honor of my dad’s birthday (06/22). I’d like to dedicate this poem to my dad, LaVern Schemper. He’s been a harvester forever, and we almost always celebrate his birthday cutting wheat somewhere in Kansas. Cutting wheat on this day is his birthday wish every single year (just ask him). I’ve gotten to live my life as a harvester because of him, and he has taught me all about the custom-harvesting business as well as dedication, honesty, responsibility, patience, work ethic, kindness, business professionalism and the list goes on and on! He has been an excellent role model and has trained a lot of employees over the years. He has done a lot of good for others. He is also a veteran that served our country in the late 1960s. Happy birthday dear ole DAD! You’re my favorite person and harvester in the world. I wouldn’t ever go to harvest with anyone else.
The American Harvest
Hey, good morning, we better get to work.
As they say, time is money
Harvest is finally here and we’re so glad
But when it’s over we won’t be sad.
We’ve got a beautiful day for harvesting
Combine dust is flying in the breeze
Two-way talk is keeping everyone at ease
The trucker’s special today is load and go
We are working hours of hard labor with no guarantees, don’t you know.
We have to keep on working ‘til it’s time to shut down
We’ll fill the trucks up for the night after the elevator closes in town
We’re walking the tight rope between risk and reward
We often have to take time to thank the Good Lord.
Business is about again and again coming back
We’ve got three generations in this field and they know how to stay on track
So we have to keep the big wheels rockin’ and rollin’.
We invest and spend a lot of time on a maybe,
Money is on the line and of course there is rain coming baby.
Weather’s going to strike and put a wrench in our plans
Opportunity comes with risk but we know it’s in God’s hands.
It’s the age-old cycle of the American Harvest,
We are up before the sun and we have to work the hardest
In order to get the job done, timing is everything
I believe in hope and the changes it can bring
Come winter, fall, summer or spring.
We have to work all year; we just hope we end up with some money
Year after year of harvesting, with no rest in sight, you’ve got to learn to be funny.
What you’re born with is what you get
I love the sight of a harvest sunset
We know the importance of keeping the world fed
We’re motivated to win, like we haven’t won yet
And these are the days we’ll never forget
If you think my poem-writing skills are good, you should see my songwriting. I’m looking for not only a poem publishing deal, but also a songwriting publishing deal. Someday soon I’ll Git-R-Done!
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.