21 Jul Jada: Meet Henrry of Hoffman Harvesting
Henrry Soto Solorzano has worked for Hoffman Harvesting for 3 years.
Henrry hails from Comayagua, Honduras and has been working for us for three years. He is a graduate of Zamorano Panamerican School of Agriculture. In 2005 and 2006, he went to the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin.That is when he discovered how much larger farms are in the United States than Honduras. He also couldn’t believe the advancements in technology and thought how much farmers in Honduras could improve their farms. He also did an internship in Ecuador, where he worked on af large dairy farm.
Once he graduated from college, Henrry decided to build on his dairy farming experience and went to his school’s International Experience in Ag office. Since there was not any profiles on dairy farms he came across Hoffman Harvesting because we also own cattle. That was the first time he heard of the custom harvesting profession. Henrry is interested in learning about all aspects of Agriculture. Since he didn’t really know much about the custom harvesting profession, he decided to try something he had never done before. Things fell into place from there and he gets to see the best of both worlds. Each year he has worked for us, Henrry has come early and helped our family with our calving season and then stays and helps with the harvest season.
Henrry had never been around large machinery and can remember asking my mother what that huge piece of machine—the combine—was when they drove into our yard. In high school, he had a class where he was able to drive a 2450 and 3350 John Deere tractor and in college he took a 3.5 month course about agricultural machinery. In that class, he drove a tractor that was huge for Honduras at the time—a Case MX 50. His class also got to look at the inside of a combine and learn about how it works. The machine was a lot smaller than what he runs for Hoffman Harvesting. Since the equipment is so big here, the experience of driving a combine for the first time was very different than he expected. He said he likes how quick harvesting is with the machine and is amazed at how much the machines can do at the same time. For example measure moisture content, yield averages and other statistics.
Since the typography is different here than Honduras, there is more flat land available to use larger machinery. “In Honduras, the north has somewhat flat land and fields average btween 200 and 300 acres per field. This area is where we grow a lot of sugar cane and bananas. The south is flat and averages around 120 to 130 acres per field and the central is really mountainous with farms averaging 50 to 60 acres.” The crops most typically grown in Honduras are corn, rice, black and red beans, sugar cane, bananas, heart of palm, fruit such as peaches, pineapples, watermelon which isn’t exported, and cantaloupe which is exported a lot.
Henrry has grown to love harvest. “When you go custom harvesting you don’t just learning about harvesting,” Henrry said. “You learn about what farmers do to improve their crop each year.” In addition, he saw this opportunity as a way to improve his English. “You learn best by being surrounded by people who cannot speak your native language,” explained Henrry.
His favorite thing about harvest is everything. “I love the people and I like seeing how everyone gets excited when we leave the farm and move to each new stop,” Henrry said. I like how stressful it gets loading and worrying about getting to the next place in time. I like to also see all the beautiful places we drive through and meet different people. It is really fun.”.
The things that Henrry has learned from harvest are how responsible you need to be in this business in order to keep things organized such as grain tickets. He also has learned how important relationships are and has learned to understand what everything means—moisture, test weight and yields—and how they make a difference in harvest.
In his free time, Henrry likes to go on his computer and check out the blog and Facebook.
Henrry mainly operates the grain truck but is cross-trained to operate all our equipment.
Jada Bulgin can be reached at email@example.com. All Aboard 2009 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.
Dan McgrewPosted at 08:56h, 22 July
Now we know what you like bout harvest, getting to boss around a "hunk" like Henry.
If you think those combines of your grandpa’s 1960’s-70’s era are antiques, what would your reaction be to the horse drawn gleaners of Washington state’s Palouse country — with th ree man crews on the top deck sacking the wheat as it ws harvested — sewing the sacks across the top and sliding the 100+ lb. sacks down a slide to the ground. From there two men would each grab an end of the full sack, swing it onto a wagon and it would be hauled to a rail siding for export.
Those Palouse side hills are so steep, combines have to be "cabled" to tracked "CATS" on top and held to the hillside. They buy and immediately ship to shops up there to have leveling mechanisms installed.
The cuttter head follows the slope — but the combine body and bin are leveled to permit propery harveting and s torage. The MONTEZUMA HILLS within the giant bend of teh Sacramento River just northeast of San Francisco is another place where the hillside combines are used.
On the map follow the sacramento River east from the north side of San Francisco Bay, t hen where the river abruptly bends north to Rio Vista.
Within that Bend of the River is a region of low hills, which is a major wheat growing regin, with growers producing spring lambs on the winter pasture.
The hills are relatively high and rolling, and the area is windswept from the cold Pacific air being sucked into the big Central Valley every day as the heat rises.
Great location for wind generators and many growers either lease giant windmill sites or have installed thedir own units.
Suggest Henry go home via the Central Valey of California and swing over the to coastal Valleys — Pajaro, Salinas, Santa Maria Valleys and see entire different worlds of agriculture.
The California Delta, extending North and South of Scramento is unique and also the richest farm region in the world.
Henry would be flummoxed.
americanPosted at 13:05h, 22 July
…….Let’s see……. that’s 4 jobs outsourced so far………
Jada BulginPosted at 23:27h, 22 July
Henrry’s birth country is Honduras, but he has a permanent resident card and has lived in America for many years as his Mom is married to an American. Before we hire people from other countries we advertise for American help. We had one person apply and he declined us when we tried to hire him.
americanPosted at 13:17h, 23 July
I have nothing against Henry, as I am sure he is a fine young man……..We had workers from austrailia when I was on harvest……….I’m just saying that if we’ve been hiring foreign workers for the last 20 years, then it’s quite obvious that the wages and benefits are too low. That being said I hope you and your crew have a great harvest
exharvesthandPosted at 14:14h, 23 July
A lot of us old timers would love to still be on harvest……except for no health insurance, no retirement plan, no overtime pay, etc.etc
AnonymousPosted at 17:07h, 25 July
I have been in the professional world but am a former harvester. I have never had my food and living spaces provided for me like harvesters. I also know that there are not health benefits for small businesses for harvesters to be able to provide temporary workers with benefits. While I think enjoying your job should be more important than money, I think harvesters get good wages. Better than I did starting out in the professional world WITH a college degree. Also, owners need to make money. The prices of the equipment, fuel and wages it must make ends hard to meet.
anonymous 2Posted at 00:52h, 26 July
Don’t kid yourself. Harvesters make money or they wouldn’t keep doing it. They never announce what wages they are paying though cause they pay some more than others.