All Aboard Harvest | Brian Jones – Jones Harvesting
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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  were 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 farmer’s doors randomly in the countryside to referrals from locals, one job lead to another that moved us northward one state at a time.  As they say, the rest is history, and the 2022 season marked the 40th anniversary of Jones Harvesting.


Our crew is completely a family operation.  Glen Jones and his wife Vernelle farm in Southwest Iowa with their son (thats me!) Brian Jones and their daughter Brenda and her husband Cameron Hamer.  Brenda and Cameron have 4 young boys, and all 9 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 works together raising corn, soybean, and hay along with running a cow-calf herd.  We also do some customer farming and harvesting locally as well.  With spring planting finished and the cows turned out to pasture, we load up equipment typically early June and head to our first stop in central Oklahoma, followed by two stops is SW Kansas, Western Nebraska, Central South Dakota and Southern North Dakota.  


After harvesting the amber waves of grain on the plains for more than 4 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 our journey together with you as we celebrating our 40th anniversary together.

This time of the year always is filled with lists. Lists of things to start, things to pack, things to finish … the lists are long. This is the final week to check things off our lists before we leave for Oklahoma.

Remember when you were back in middle school? Class seemed to drag on forever, and you struggled to maintain your attention because all you could think about was one thing.....recess. You spent hours sitting in anticipation, counting down the minutes to play time. Recess finally came, but you struggled to enjoy it because you dreaded knowing it was going to end soon.

Greenfield, Iowa—Someone once told me that the best things in life are free, but whoever said that clearly has never prepared a harvest crew to leave for a summer abroad in the Midwest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super exciting to know in a few weeks I’ll be far from home, sitting high up in my combine cab and looking out across golden wheat fields. 

Onida, South Dakota—Where do mushrooms go to get a drink? To the salad bar of course! Did you find that joke a little dull? Don't worry ... it will grow on you (like a fungus). Maybe I'm not the best comedian, but I promise you I'm still a fungi. Okay, enough with the fungus jokes or there won't be mushroom left in this week's update to tell you about the actual "fungus among us" here in South Dakota.


There's been a little hiccup in our spring wheat harvesting, all caused by a fungus you

Agar, South Dakota—When people ask me what I do for a living, sometimes it's hard to explain. It's almost like having a bunch of part-time jobs all at once. Some days I play a mechanic, fixing broken widgets with duct tape and tarp straps. Occasionally I'm an accountant calculating profit margins and running the numbers. And every so often I'm a logistics manager making sure everyone gets to the right place at the right time. But this week I find myself working in a more unusual role, one that not every harvester has much experience

Onida, South Dakota—Everyone can use some good advice from time to time. After 40 years of harvesting, we probably qualify to offer some helpful harvesting pointers. But there is always something more to learn in life, and I recently stumbled across an old saying that seemed worth sharing with you. Benjamin Franklin is well known for saying, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." The crew maybe has not been following the "early to bed" part, but the rest of this age-old proverb rings true this week.


The crew's health

Onida, South Dakota—No matter where I go or what state I am in, I've been noticing a trend while traveling the harvest trail. Maybe everyone's schedule is so busy there's simply no time to take decorations down. Perhaps people are just so enthusiastic they can't help but celebrate all year long. Or maybe it’s just pure laziness. Whatever the reason, everywhere I go this summer I still find Christmas trees wrapped in garland, glinting in the summer sun. Storefronts display fake frosted windowpanes despite the excessive heat advisory just issued, and icicle lights hung from the

Onida, South Dakota—The crew always looks forward to moving to South Dakota, but getting there is always the hard part. It's the longest move of the summer, and our route takes us through the desolate Sandhills of Nebraska. The beautiful scenery is filled with wild flowers, rolling hills and grasslands that seem to stretch on forever in every directions. The famous (or infamous) Oregon Trail cuts across our path as we travel north. If you know where to squint you can still see parallel ruts that scar the hillside.

Those ruts, created by hundreds of thousands of wooden wagon