05 Jun Harvest Kick-Off
Manley, Nebraska—I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is that we are still sitting at home. Instead of sitting at my kitchen table at home in eastern Nebraska, I would much rather be sitting in Oklahoma waiting on wet wheat to dry with the rest of the custom harvesting crews. Last week I made a four-day, last-minute trip to Frederick, Oklahoma, with Mom. I was quickly reminded of our profession’s dedication, care and love.
The specific reason we took our quick trip south is all thanks to the Case IH ProHarvest Support fellas. Every summer before the combines make it into the field, the ProHarvest team puts on a breakfast for harvesters and their crews where they review important safety habits along with how the support team is there to help.
Mom and I started our journey on Tuesday, May 26, and our first stop was in Emporia, Kansas. We stopped in Emporia to pay Persimmon Forge a visit because the owner, David Edwards, had made a special gift for a dear friend of the harvester community. Mom and I visited with David for a while and got a run-down on his forging and metalwork’s shop. It was a real treat!
David made this beautiful piece for Dan Renaud, an employee of Case IH and friend to the harvester community. After dedicating 35 years to his job he was let go this spring. Upon hearing the news, Mom called David of Persimmon Forge to ask for the favor.
After visiting with David in Emporia, we made it to Frederick, Oklahoma, late in the evening on Tuesday. We had dinner with the Diebert crew where the current wheat situation was discussed about the table. Jim Diebert, owner of JKD Harvesting, expressed a hopeful outlook on the upcoming crop. “Last year, we didn’t know if it was ever going to rain again. Wells dried up. It wasn’t just the people on the farm who were affected. It was the people in church or that you’d meet on the road. Everyone was worried. We all need a good harvest. This year is shaping up to be one.”
Wednesday and Thursday morning, Mom and I arrived at the Frederick location for the harvest kick-off breakfast. We set up the U.S. Custom Harvester’s Organization table full of T-shirts, log books for the road, cookbooks and much more.
During the end of the Wednesday session, with the help of sweet Evie and Dan Misener, Dan Renaud was given his gift after announcing his removal from his position. An emotional moment for all, Dan was especially touched when Evie walked on the stage. Evie has Spina bifida. It is a birth defect that caused her spinal cord to fail to develop properly. Her parents were told from the get-go she would never be able to walk on her own. Thanks to her parents’ love and dedication, Evie has worked hard during her five short years and took her first steps, truly on her own, this spring at the U.S. Customer Harvester’s Convention in Grand Island, Nebraska, as she walked across the stage to Dan Renaud.
We packed up and headed back north on Thursday afternoon but didn’t make it very far. Mom and I stopped for the evening in Elk City, Oklahoma, to stay with the Misener crew. They were kind enough to cook us a huge dinner and provide a place for us to sleep. Dan Misener took Mom and me for a quick tour around Elk City to see the monumental flooding they had suffered a few days before.
Friday morning, Mom and I headed home and arrived back in Nebraska late that night. I know we’re home but I also know our minds are out in the wheat fields! I know there are a few crews lucky enough to be in the field but there are more crews sitting in water and green wheat. As of now the Z Crew hopes to head out around June 10 for Arnett, Oklahoma. The poor wheat looks like it may yield 15 to 20 bushels per acre while the “good” stuff looks to do around 30 bushels per acre. If I hear any other news, you’ll be the first to know!
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.