Brian Jones – Jones Harvesting

My name is Brian Jones of Greenfield, Iowa, and I am a second-generation farmer and wheat harvester. I was born and raised on a family farm about 50 miles southwest of Des Moines in the rolling hills of southwest Iowa. During the tough financial times for farmers in the 1980s, my father, Glen Jones, and grandpa, George Rahn, began looking for additional income to keep financially viable during the farm crisis.

With combines being such expensive investments, we were inspired by George’s brother, who ran a custom harvesting crew, to load up our own equipment and head to Oklahoma. From knocking on farmers’ doors randomly in the countryside to referrals from locals, one job led to another that moved us northward one state at a time. As they say, the rest is history, and 2024 will be the 42nd anniversary of Jones Harvesting.

Our crew is completely a family operation. My father and mother, Vernelle, farm in southwest Iowa with me, my sister, Brenda, and her husband, Cameron Hamer. Brenda and Cameron have four young boys, and all nine of us spend the summer working together harvesting. David Rahn now operates the Rahn family farm near Butterfield, Minnesota. David joins us with his equipment each summer, continuing the Jones-Rahn Harvesting legacy.

Back in Iowa, the Jones and Hamer families work together raising corn, soybeans and hay along with running a cow-calf herd. We also do some customer farming and harvesting locally. With spring planting finished and the cows turned out to pasture, we load up equipment, typically in early June, and head to our first stop in central Oklahoma, followed by two stops in southwest Kansas, western Nebraska, central South Dakota and southern North Dakota.

After harvesting the amber waves of grain on the plains for more than four decades, it’s hard to not look back and consider all that has changed over the years. Yet one thing has remained the same, our love for the harvest. It’s been quite the adventure, and we look forward to sharing the untold stories of the Great American Wheat Harvest. If you’ve always wanted to virtually and vicariously live the life of a harvester, grab your reading glasses and prepare to get lost in the stories of harvest straight from the field. They’re guaranteed to be filled with plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you guessing. It’s bound to be a real page turner!

Minneola, Kansas — Last week's heavy rains threw a wrench in our harvest plans, and they foiled our attempt to finish in the Sublette area before the wheat was ready in Minneola. Suddenly all our acres were ready at once, and it left us feeling a little overwhelmed. Being in two places at the same time may be impossible, but we took the opportunity to exercise a can-do attitude here in Kansas.

The weather has kept us on our toes, ever-changing during our time spent here. Some days have been cloudy and cool with highs in

Sublette, Kansas — No two years are ever the same, but the stark contrast between harvest this year and last year borders on ironic. We blitzed Oklahoma, cutting straight through without a break and working more consecutive days in the first week than we did at any point during all of 2023. Any rain showers we did receive only resulted in a delay of hours, not days. Last year's downpours have been replaced by wind-driven dust.

Our move to Kansas was hampered by the hot, windy weather and road construction. Sustained winds of over 30 mph and

Thomas, Oklahoma — I don't know about you, but I'm always up for a little adventure. For some, that means jumping out of a plane, while others get their adrenaline rush dangling off the side of a mountain cliff. Those are probably a little too extreme for me, but the past week has been a non-stop adventure. I'm pretty sure wheat harvesting doesn't qualify as an extreme sport, and yet the crew has felt like we've been pushed to the extremes, living life on the edge.

Getting a deer antler in a combine

Thomas, Oklahoma — With school out across the country, students are enjoying time away from the classroom and taking a break from learning. It's summertime, filled with swimming, slushies and sleeping in. But out here on the harvest trail, life has enrolled us in summer school, and there have been plenty of teachable moments. This week has tested our resolve a few times, so let's review what we've learned and hand out some grades.

The unsettled weather earlier in the week earned a D, bringing high humidity and storms to much of Oklahoma. The wheat is

Thomas, OK - The crew has spent the last week packing and preparing for harvest, but this year it's been hard to focus. Three days after the EF4 tornado devastated our hometown of Greenfield, Iowa another round of severe weather produced a derecho that pummeled the area. Downed trees and power lines meant we had to divert some packing time to cleaning up around the farm. Time that I should have spent washing equipment was eaten up by phone calls settling the insurance claim on Vernelle's totaled car. Glen and Cameron spent time helping their churches coordinate relief

Greenfield, Iowa — Anyone who works on a farm knows firsthand there is never a dull moment. No matter the season, it's always a whirlwind of activity on a farm. Our fall harvest of corn and soybeans saw yields that defied the severity of the drought conditions here in Iowa nearly all year. We had great harvest weather and amazingly even set some yield records on our farm. Winter was not as forgiving, and in January we endured one of the worst blizzards in recent memory. Ridiculous winds created drifting I've never experienced, and prolonged windchills of

Greenfield, Iowa — Read any good books lately?  Nothing is more entertaining than a good story, one that draws you in from the very beginning. You flip from one page to the next, and you just can’t put it down until you know how it ends.

If you are reading this, then you’re at the beginning of another great story that’s just started to be written…the untold stories of the 2024 great American wheat harvest. I’m Brian G. Jones of Greenfield, Iowa, and I am a fourth-generation farmer and second-generation wheat harvester. I was born and

The past week has been a blur, filled with finishing our last field in South Dakota, cleaning and loading machines, and then making that arduous drive with all the equipment back to Minnesota and Iowa. True to the theme of the 2023 harvest, we had difficulties right to the final fields.