High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest

Category Archives: 2015

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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

2015 Harvest Prize Pack Giveaway!
2015 Harvest Prize Pack Giveaway! avatar

You could win a harvest prize pack! Thanks to our great sponsors we have three fantastic packages to give away.

1. “Harvest of Gold” framed art print from New Holland. (We have two of these prints to give away).


2. New Holland custom harvester scale model toy. Donated by http://www.rockinhfarmtoys.com/


3. Variety Pack. (We have two sets to give away).

Great Plains stainless steel thermos, Great Plains caps, Great Plains XL Carhartt coat, binoculars, USCHI tshirts, USCHI belt buckle and $400 Kuhn Krause cash rebate.

ENTER HERE. Deadline to enter is August 31, 2015.

That’s a wrap (well…in Montana)
Laura Haffner

LH Blog Photo

Cut Bank, Montana—The crew in Montana finished up wheat harvest last Thursday. Mark reported that yields averaged in the low 60s. They spent Friday cleaning/loading equipment and catching up on laundry.

We usually tell the crew that once they hit the northern stops and the paces changes (usually not as fast). The elevators often don’t stay open quite as long and there are sometimes weather delays or we have to wait a bit for crops to dry down. When I processed our last round of payroll, I would have thought we were at one of our early stops based on the hours the crew was putting in and how they were able to run. It’s hard to believe they’re already finished with Montana wheat! It’s just another way the weather has altered our run this year!

Luckily these crew members were able to take some much needed time off this weekend for some sleep before making the final leg of their wheat harvest journey to join the other half of the crew in North Dakota!

Below are some photos from our Montana stops crew members submitted to Mark and me.

HPH 2015

HPH - 2015

Apparently Wian ran up the hill to capture these beautiful shots!  It doesn’t seem too steep until you see where he was standing in the photos below! 

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

Pieter T. sent in these shots of Wian on the hill from his vantage point in the field.

HPH - 2015

2015 - HPH

Unfortunately, we weren’t immune from some breakdowns while in Montana. Luckily we were able to borrow a grain cart from our farmer to keep things moving as we waited for some parts to come in. 

HPH 2015

HPH 2015

HPH 2015

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

Tiger snooze
Steph Osowski

StephNEW_thumbnailGrafton, North Dakota—“What’s the date today?” This is a common question that for the last couple weeks I have not been able to answer. We have gotten into a routine around home so the day doesn’t really matter; I already know what I am doing regardless! It’s a comforting feeling, knowing what your days will consist of. I miss this feeling come winter when Purple and the combines are all cozy in the shed.

Osowski Ag Service is back cutting wheat! Barley was a fun change but in wheat fields is where I belong. It just feels good. The wheat has been doing great in our area, yielding between 50 to 80 bushels per acre with 55- to 60-pound test weights. We have been back in wheat for a little over a week and will finish up within the next couple days and then we might have a lull in activities until beans! Can you believe it?! Neither can I. Dad and I wanted to take a “tiger snooze” just because we had to wait for a train one morning so we are certainly looking forward to a little down time. But like I said a couple posts ago, harvesters never say die!

On my way to the field the other day, Dad phones me and tells me to head out to the field and then to jump in the service truck straight away to go refill our DEF tank. OK, sure, no problem. On the way out, he gets on the radio and asks how close I am, me being only a few miles south of his location. He then says he phoned the gas station to tell them I would be on my way shortly when all I can think is, “Dad, relax. The station is only a mile from the field. I’ll be there in plenty of time.” As I am pulling away from the field in the service truck and heading toward town, he gets on the radio and says, “Oh, you’re going to Drayton to get the DEF by the way.” I mean, only a minor detail since that town is 15 miles to the east. And Dad’s excuse for his mistake in directions, you ask? He said he thought it in his head but didn’t say it to me. The things I deal with, I tell you what.

Quote of the Day“With patience comes glory and creativity.”

Stuff Harvesters Like – Getting to take a little “tiger snooze” when the wheat is yielding through the roof and you have to wait on trucks. (We haven’t had to wait this long yet but I was daydreaming about it the other day!)

Swathing our last barley field.


Swathing was a fun change!

Sunsets and service trucks.

Drivin' grain cart with my buddy Zack!

Double NH trouble.

Sunsets and grain carts.Unloading.

Grandpa Bob in the grain cart!

A shot I took from the combine cab!

Took some of this gorgeous girls senior photos in her Dad's wheat field we were combining!

Long shot.

Not a bad view.


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

The U-turn
Laura Haffner

LH Blog PhotoHarvest is full of goodbyes and hellos. It starts early pre-season when crew members leave their families, friends, and sometimes significant others to start their adventure.  It happens throughout the season with our customers and other acquaintances when we come and go from our respective stops. It even happens with our own family and friends back home and when we are separated from Ryan at times.

Little Man and I finally broke away from the crew some time back. We decided the extra 800 miles north from Colorado was just too much to go this year with a toddler and having to get back for my prenatal appointments. It was tougher to leave than I thought. Due to Ryan’s job and now with the harvest crew in addition, we’ve said lots of hellos and goodbyes over the years. We typically don’t get overly emotional about it (maybe to a fault) because it is just the way it is and it happens so often that we’d be an absolute emotional mess all the time if we did.

So, after packing our carload of stuff and tidying up the camper, it was finally time to head east toward home. To put it mildly, it was a tough goodbye. I hadn’t even made it out of the city limits when I started second guessing our decision. It was already getting late in the afternoon Mountain time, which meant I’d lose an hour going east and would get home around 11. Was it really necessary to be traveling after dark if I didn’t need to? Did I really need a full day to regroup at home before appointments the next day followed by marathon travel weekend to make my folks, then a former student’s wedding (and later we learned funeral)? Is it always necessary to be so darn practical? Needless to say, I made an uncharacteristic phone call to Ryan to let him know I was considering coming back and he uncharacteristically said that was a great idea and I probably should. So, I looked for a safe spot to turn around on the highway, made a U-turn, and headed back.

Why did we let our emotions get the best of us this time? Maybe it was because we didn’t know how long the final wheat run would last (and still don’t). Maybe it was the realization that Little Man is growing and changing so quickly these days and our family will be growing soon. Maybe it was the fact that it was a week of birthdays and anniversaries some of which would have to be celebrated apart. Maybe it was remembering the one-year heavenly birthday of someone who left us too soon and too young. Maybe it was the knowledge of the fragility of life due to a family friend’s daughter/sister that was fighting hard in her battle with cancer (and we would learn the next morning that this young mother and wife went to be with Jesus in the night).

Sometimes in life it is OK to not be so practical. Ryan and I are learning more all the time, through good times and the bad, that our position here on earth isn’t permanent and we’re not invincible. One shouldn’t live in paralyzing fear of the future, but one can live life to the fullest under the circumstances they’re given. I haven’t always slowed down in life to be a little unpractical when I should have, but I’m so thankful that this time I listened to my heart and went back—even if only for a few more hours of together time.

I pray that the next time you feel the strong urge to slow down and do the unpractical, you will do it as well. I bet it will be a decision you won’t regret.

July 2015 - HPH

Little Man and I waiting for one last ride in the combine for the wheat harvest season. 


And to think, this fun moment came close to not happening!  (Despite the expression captured in the picture, Ryan was thrilled to have us back!)

July 2015 - HPH

July 2015 - HPH

 Ironically, without knowing the situation, our farmers called to invite us to dinner as we were making the decision to turn around. It was a great evening of food and fellowship and Little Man even learned to pick peppers in their garden. 

July 2015-HPH

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful morning for our trip home and gave us encouragement for our time of separation. It sure beat driving home sad and in the dark!

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