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Brian: The time has come … Oklahoma here we come

Clothes are piled on the bed and hangers lay all over the floor. The dryer just buzzed that the final load is ready to come out. The dishwasher just finished the last few dirty dishes. The refrigerator is unplugged, and a pile of nearly-empty condiment bottles are piled in the trash. Oh, yeah … I gotta take out the trash yet! Where is my checklist list at? Did I pack the toothpaste?
David, Cameron, Titus and Ezra finish loading and packing before leaving Minnesota. It’s a long drive to Oklahoma, and it always seems road construction makes an already lengthy trip even longer. Brenda may have one of the hardest jobs of all … packing for a family of six.  It takes a lot of organization to get an entire summer’s worth of personal belongings into the back of a minivan.



It’s the last day at home, and it’s probably the most stressful time of the year. I’ve been dreading this day for months, and yet it can’t come soon enough. The planter is put away. The haymaking equipment is ready to go, and the cows are turned out to pasture.  It seems the “things to do before we leave” list never gets all done, but it doesn’t really matter. Oklahoma is only a few days away from being ready to harvest, and it’s time to hit the harvest trail.

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Before harvest can begin, our own corn and soybean crops must be planted in Iowa and Minnesota. Lots of  late nights and early mornings already take place before we even begin wheat harvest.


Leaving home is a little different this year. Neighbors don’t stop by in person to say goodbye. Instead they text farewells. The pantry of the house trailer is a little bare; some items were unavailable from our grocery store. The family said goodbye to Grandma Jones at the Care Center over the phone while we stood outside a window, hands pressed against the glass in lieu of hugs. Everything we did seemed affected by COVID—everything, except wheat harvest.  Not even a pandemic can put it on hold.

There is nothing more exciting that seeing a new combine delivered from the factory! Like so many other activities, COVID-19 did not allow for us to visit the factory and watch our machine on the assembly line. It seems a shame that something so clean gets dirty after five minutes of use.


With some pre-move equipment shuffling, everything managed to get packed and loaded without too much effort. It’s a long drive to Oklahoma, and everyone has to readjust to pulling wide loads and long trailers. If leaving is the worst part, then the start of the journey may just be the best. We spend two nights on the roadside, sleeping with a few boxes still piled on the beds, and a floor cluttered with belongings not in their final summer storage spot. The drive to Oklahoma goes really well, with only one flat tire and a plugged fuel filter causing a minor delay.

Life on the road for three days means no showers and road-side meals. Finding parking for everyone is always a challenge. We take advantage of a nice truck stop for a make-shift picnic amongst 18-wheelers.


We arrive in Oklahoma right on time. Only a few wheat samples have been brought to the elevator yet. It’s hot and windy, so we know it won’t be long before we get started. We unload equipment and check one final time that the machines are ready to go. The next morning we head out to check some fields to see where we might be able to start. We are surprised to find a field ready to go. We are one of the first crews to get started in the area. It’s always a big relief to harvest those first few bushels and see that the combines are working and adjusted correctly.  


It’s always a great relief to arrive safely in Oklahoma. Moving wide loads such long distances takes a lot of planning, and safety is always a top priority. With the long move behind us, now the real work begins.

Of course, our first day of harvest is cut short by a 10% chance of rain. That small chance turns into a powerful line of storms that sweeps across the area. To be honest, we don’t really care. We are exhausted and go to bed early. Everyone is sleeping a little better knowing our hard work has paid off.


While most of the time we don’t get too excited for rain, we all needed to catch our breath and get a good night’s sleep. The storm wasn’t severe, and we started harvesting again the following afternoon.

We only get a few tenths of rain, and a week of hot and dry weather is in the forecast. Wheat harvest 2020 is officially under way for Jones Harvesting, and everyone is eager to settle into the summer routine. The wheat looks to be better than expected here, so be sure to check back soon and find out how the Oklahoma harvest progresses. Take care!


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Agri-Pro, Gleaner, BASF, and High Plains Journal.  Join the conversation by leaving a comment, or Brian can be reached at brian@allaboardharvest.com

#AAWH20 | #harvest20 | #wheat


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