01 Jun Janel: Hello Harvest 2018
Holdrege, Nebraska – Hello harvest 2018. I am Janel Schemper and am a third generation custom harvester. Harvest has been a part of my life forever. Trucks and combines is my middle name and Princess Kate is my nickname according to my AAWH followers.
I look forward to the harvest every year, but it’s tough to find motivation for harvest this year. With all my years of going on harvest experience, I can tell you that no two years are the same. This year we are struggling with a drought down south. Far less acres and low yields are not what I want any harvest to be. A lot of the wheat was baled up this spring which is disappointing. All I want to do right now is run the combine and fill some trucks, hour after hour, day after day, just the way harvest is supposed to be. Harvest is typically super busy, but it doesn’t always work that way. Mother Nature plays a huge role in our custom harvesting occupation. My mom, Carlene Schemper, says that in her 45 years of harvesting she’s never seen it look this bad going south (Nebraska to Texas) for harvest.
Harvest has become a family tradition for Schemper Harvesting. Our business started in the 1950s by my grandpa, Jerry Schemper. I can remember my dad, LaVern Schemper, running Gleaner combines for a long time and then he switched to Case combines for a short while and then I got to grow up operating John Deere combines. Our harvest run starts in the Frederick, Oklahoma area. We’ll journey up the central Midwest states, harvesting wheat fields in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. We’ll also harvest chickpeas, lentils and canola in the northern states on our harvest run. Our fall harvest is at home in Nebraska where we will harvest corn and soybeans.
Going on harvest is what I’ve gotten to do my entire life. Our harvest stops remain pretty consistent year after year but occasionally our harvest route does change. Farms and land ownership change hands and that’s just the way it is sometimes. I do look forward to seeing our harvest friends along our harvest route every year. I’ve always felt fortunate being a part of a custom harvesting family. I did miss all of the home activities that most kids enjoy but I made up for it by creating my own. My friends at school would sometimes question me a lot for being gone all summer long and I’d get asked lots and lots and lots of questions about harvest, and I’d do my best to answer them. Overall, you’ll never fully understand the harvest unless you experience it for yourself. What we have is a family business that harvests the grain that feeds the world. I got to attend bible school in Oklahoma and church in towns on our harvest trail and it was quite wonderful. I also took swimming lessons in Coldwater, Kansas which I loved. I have seen a lot of country and traveled many miles. I do believe that during summer and fall harvest that is when our country’s true beauty really shines. I have a phone full of harvest pictures and can’t believe how many beautiful sights and sunsets I consistently get to see through the windshield. It truly is amazing. Harvest has taught me the value of time because it is seasonal work. We’ve got to work hard when we have the opportunity because there’s a time frame to get the crop harvested, especially before bad weather damages it. I’ve gained a strong work ethic and have the ability to handle any work that needs to be done with having a can do attitude.
Harvest has taught me responsibility and dependability too. We count on the farmers for the work probably just as much as they count on us to get the crops harvested on time. I have learned to accept and do my job well and to not ever complain about work but be glad for the opportunity and ability to work. We do our best to keep moving forward as efficiently as possible even when it requires working well into the night. When the conditions are right that is often what we have to do. I have also learned all about patience through the custom harvesting business. It sometimes seems that we are in the “hurry up and wait business.” We may push hard to get to our next job or field, only to find out that the crop is not quite ready yet or a rain shower (or hail) beats us to it. One thing about it is we always do the very best to our ability. I have been dedicated to the American harvest for a long time. Please pray for the harvesters. I have a feeling that for at least the first 30 days of this harvest it may be a rough road due to the drought.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org