26 May Christy: Welcome back to the harvest trail
Harvest hasn’t always been apart of my life. I grew up right outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and made the move to Lake Park, Iowa, in 2006. It was there in Lake Park that I met my husband, Paul, in 2008. I knew nothing about custom harvesting and after visiting him on the 2009 wheat run, I was introduced to a whole new world. It was remarkable to me how hard his family worked. All the places they traveled to, and all the people they knew–many times feeling like at each stop it was their hometown. I remember thinking to myself on the long trips home: I simply don’t want to go home.
Gary, Paul’s father, started Paplow Harvesting & Trucking in 1991 with the help of a couple local farmers. Today Gary and Paul run nine late model Case IH 8250 combines, five Case IH tractors pulling grain carts, and 15 Peterbilt semis with Wilson hopper bottoms. A typical season starts in Wichita Falls, Texas, and moves through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. We harvest everything from winter and spring wheat, canola, milo, durum, mustard, lentils, and field peas during the summer, to soybeans and corn in the fall.
I joined Paplow Harvesting & Trucking in 2010 helping Paul’s mother, Rhonada, cook crew meals, wash laundry, clean campers, run for parts, and occasionally run grain cart when needed. As the years progress, my responsibilities have grown. There are so many facets to our operation that require constant attention and sometimes the guys just don’t have the time. That’s where they count on Rhonada and I to fill in the gaps.
Paul and I share a 7-year-old daughter, Zoey. She comes along each year on the harvest, and hasn’t known any other way of life. She loves harvest. So much so, that as soon we pull the camper out of the shed, it has become a tradition to spend a couple nights in there–even though we’re still home.
This season we have a new addition to our crew, our dog Penny. She did arrive during fall harvest last year, but this will be her first time on the road with us, as I stay around home in the fall so Zoey can go to school.
One of the most compelling parts of harvest, in my opinion, is watching our usually younger crew grow up on harvest. The harvest experience teaches these kids so much about our industry and a large skill set to carry through all their future endeavors. What’s even better is the friendships that continue on after sharing a season of bunking in campers, working some impressive hours, and all those other things in their off time that they think we don’t know about.
Writing for All Aboard Wheat Harvest is an opportunity I am really excited to take on for the second year. I hope you’ll enjoy following our crew as we hopefully have a safe and prosperous season on the 2022 wheat run.
Christy Paplow can be reached at email@example.com.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.