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Wheat Harvest Rookie – Day Three

My last day in South Dakota was a bit of a whirlwind. Before I returned to the “big city,” though, I caught up with two guys who wear both farmer and harvester hats.

I first met with Colby of Hefty Seed Company/Red River Grain Company in Gettysburg, S.D. Colby is a very busy man. He is an agronomy salesman, helping growers with crop protection and fertilizer recommendations, and he farms and custom-harvests with his dad, brother and uncle. Colby has been around farming since he was a kid and says harvest is the best time of year.

Colby said that being both a farmer and a harvester makes him better at both jobs because he is able to talk to many more people and learn from them. The information he gathers helps him make more informed decisions. He does say that he needs to budget his time carefully because there is so much to do.

Then I headed back to Bowdle, S.D., to say thanks and goodbye to the Hoffman Harvesting crew. They were refurbishing the service trailer before heading north to finish up harvest in North Dakota. Before I left, I knew I needed to talk to the brains of the Hoffman Harvesting operation, Perry Hoffman.

Perry has always been farming and harvesting. Everywhere I went in South Dakota, people knew him personally. Perry told me his biggest challenge with handling both sides of his career is that his age is now telling him to stay home while his heart is telling him to go on the road for harvest. He added that he has developed many friendships over the years and it is difficult to say goodbye.

Being a harvest rookie, I asked him for one final word of wisdom. His response was great. He said that for many years he thought he was a gypsy traveling from town to town harvesting. But now he realizes that the custom-harvesting lifestyle has been a blessing. He raised his family on the road and he is well-respected within his chosen profession. He concluded that he’s had a great life as a harvester and that it is a great way to raise a family.

After seeing the closeness of his family and hearing from other harvesters, I’d have to agree.

For more information contact crew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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