Megan: A man’s perspective

Usually Brandon and James leave all the writing and photos up to me. But, recently I’ve had some requests from them to share a few of their own.

While working in Chadron, Nebraska the boys had quite a neat experience. We had just moved to a new field a few miles southwest of Highway 20. Brandon and James were opening up the field while the rest of our crew piled in the pickup to finish jockeying everything over. As we were leaving we saw a pickup stop beside to our field. There was a couple inside the vehicle that I did not recognize so we assumed they were looking for harvesters. Often times, farmers will pull up to our fields, looking for someone to cut their nearby wheat.

About twenty minutes later, the boys began chattering back and forth on the radio and we learned what had transpired. After finishing the opening round James saw an older gentleman he did not know standing near the edge of the wheat field taking pictures. Being the friendly type, James threw his machine out of gear when he got closer and motioned for the man to “come on over.” The man excitedly climbed up James’s ladder to join him in the combine and began a very touching conversation.

James learned the gentlemen, Dennis, and his wife, Virginia, were from Montrose, Colorado. For the last few years, they have made the journey to the panhandle of Nebraska to watch the wheat harvest and see the combines. Just as many people venture back east to watch the leaves change in the fall of the year, this couple travels to the wheat belt to experience harvest in the summer. Dennis explained to James that he recently purchased a ten acre patch of land near Chadron so they would have somewhere to park their camper in future years. That way they can camp out for a couple of weeks while they watch the harvest and see the combines in action. After a round in the combine, Dennis asked if James would mind having his wife come see this, saying Virginia would be thrilled. James agreed and said he would be happy to give her a ride and show her how the combine worked. Dennis had the biggest grin on his face and kept saying he knew she was just going to love this.

The next round Dennis got out of the combine and his wife joined James. Virginia was so excited to see how these “new fancy combines” worked. She told James how she grew up on a farm and used to help out with wheat harvest. In fact, in the 1940’s she used to run a Massey Harris combine at the age of 14. There was no cab, no brakes, and she remembers having to back up the combine to a straight truck in order to unload. She just couldn’t believe the advancement in technology and machinery since that time. When the round was finished she looked at James very sincerely and said, “You will never know how much it meant to us that you took twenty minutes out of your busy day to visit with us and give us a ride in the combine. I think you just made my husband’s entire year. We will never forget this day. In fact, your kindness almost brings me to tears.” James smiled and said how much he enjoyed their visit as well. He wished them “good day” and safe travels, leaving them with a handshake.

James told this story to Brandon over the radio and you could just tell how special of an encounter it was. To hear two grown men rave about how touching this moment was to them says so much. Their “good Samaritan” act of the day is certainly one to be remembered. Unfortunately, James was so caught up in the moment that he was not able to catch a photo of Dennis and Virginia. We hope that this post will reach them somehow, though. Not only did it make their day, but also our entire crews. I find it fascinating that this couple has so much respect and appreciation for harvest to drive across two states to come out and simply watch it.  This is the type of harvest story that will be told for many years to come!

The boys also wanted me to share some of their photos from when Roland Harvesting was split up in three different states. (And to clarify, Brandon and James are grown men in the their 20’s but in my eyes they will aways be “the boys.”)

Baby deer
Photo by James in Plainville, Kan.
Danny and James found this little guy sleeping under the combine one morning while servicing. Don’t worry, he’s not hurt; he’s just being very shy!

Hailed wheat
Photo by James in Plainville, Kan.
Unfortunately, some of the area was pummeled by hail earlier this summer. There was not much left of the wheat, sadly. The storm came across at an angle though and only hit one of our farmer’s fields.

CR yield monitor
Photo by James
This is a view of one of the Run Screens found on the CR monitor. With the GPS capability it makes a map of the where you have cut and shows the yields along the way. We’re currently in the process of finding an efficient way to print this information off for our farmers so they can see what areas of the field are problematic or doing well.

Yield monitor key
Photo by James
This is the key to show the different yields in the field. I find this entire feature to be brilliant!

Ricky's and Brandon
Photo by Brandon in Spearman, Tex.
While working in the area Brandon teamed up with Ricky (left), “Little Ricky” (right) and their John Deere combine to finish the job in a timely fashion. Dad used to harvest for Ricky about 20 years ago near Pilot Point, Texas. “Little Ricky” actually joined us for the harvest run during the summer of 2008 and was one heck of a truck driver! It seems like harvest connections never end.

seismograph found in field
Photo by Brandon in Spearman, Tex.
Brandon found this type of seismograph in the middle of a 360 acre wheat field about 2 a.m. Needless to say he was very glad he stopped in time before it got picked up and mangled in his header or worse, inside his combine. You’d be amazed at some of the things we find in fields!

Unloading on the go
Photo by Brandon
A view from the combine as Brandon tops off a very loaded grain cart.

James waiting
Photo by Brandon
James waits for a truck with a full bin. This is a rare site but it occasionally happens.

And there you have it: A man’s perpsective of harvest.

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at


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