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Christy: Fall challenges

Throughout the harvest season, we face a large array of challenges. Besides the wet weather conditions all over this fall, we have had one other major challenge in the last week that is serious enough to have us park a couple machines, a cart, and some trucks. This challenge is help.

At the beginning of the season, we started out with a well-rounded crew. And many of the awesome individuals who started the year, will finish the year. Yet, sometimes situations arise where we unfortunately either have to let someone go, or circumstances at home call a person back. We didn’t have too much trouble keeping help this summer, but this fall crewmembers are dropping like flies. It can unintentionally put us in a really complicated bind. And that bind is where we find ourselves right now, on the cusp of the end of the season. We have an obligation to our customers, and it’s really too late to hire new employees for the small amount of time we would be able to offer employment.

Our crew in Wichita Falls, Texas. Minus a few kids who hadn't graduated from High School yet and made it down.

Our crew in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the start of the season. A few people are missing who hadn’t graduated from high school yet and made it down to us. (Photo by Christy Paplow.)

But what people do not realize, is once one person is needed back home, it can cause a ripple effect. If one person wants to go home, sometimes others feel they’ve been away from home long enough, and being home sounds really good. Not to say we don’t completely understand for some that it’s what is best for them at this time. It’s crucial as an employer to deliver on our promise to our customers, just as it’s crucial for an employee to complete their commitment not only to their employer, but also because it’s an achievement for the employee. I think this parallels with all employers right now.

Having a completed harvest run on a person’s application is a valuable asset. It’s an excellent reference. Anyone who completes a season on harvest, gains experience for future jobs, especially anything ag related. My hope is that our current employment climate changes for the better.

As for now, we’ll hold it together and meet our customers’ needs, if a little short handed. We’re lucky enough to have a crew member from a few years ago available for a couple weeks this fall. He’s out in South Dakota helping our crew there, and has helped us the last couple of years. We also really appreciate our extended family that has been spending their weekends filling in where they can. A couple of our farmers have even lent us some drivers and trucks to get things done. It’s true what they say: it takes a village. And we are grateful for our village.

In South Dakota, we are still plugging away at corn acres by Roscoe, Watertown, and Elkton. Work by Fulda, Minnesota, is getting closer to an end. A little farther south in Iowa we are covering ground by Hartley and Sanborn. Sanborn’s corn is looking really nice averaging around 230 bushels an acre at about 16% moisture. After two inches of rain last week, we will hopefully get going again by Round Lake, Minnesota, here next week.

Christy Paplow can be reached at christy@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Fall Harvest is brought to you by Pivot Bio, Western Equipment, John Deere, Unverferth Manufacturing and US Custom Harvesters.

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