All Aboard Harvest | Brian Jones – Jones Harvesting
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Brian Jones – Jones Harvesting

Brian Jones – Jones Harvesting

For 35 years, Jones Harvesting, based near Greenfield, Iowa, has made an annual trek from Oklahoma to North Dakota, harvesting golden fields of wheat for farmers who have become like family to the Jones family.

Brian Jones is a second generation custom harvester, having joined his parents, Glen and Vernelle Jones, his sister Brenda Hamer, her husband Cameron and their four young boys; and his uncle, David Rahn on the crew.

“I enjoy the traveling a lot,” said Brian, who said every place is different, as is every year. One thing remains constant, and that is the families for whom the Jones bring in the crop. “We have a couple of farmers we’ve worked for for 34 years,” he said.

The harvest run is like visiting family members, he added. They attend church, shop the aisles in the local grocery stores, and eat at the same restaurants each year. The Jones family has spent enough time in these communities that they feel like they belong there.

“If you add up the time we’ve spent in those individual stops, it seems like years that we’ve been there,” he said.

The Jones crew makes stops in Thomas, Oklahoma; Minneola and Sublette, Kansas; Big Springs, Nebraska; Onida, South Dakota and Strasburg, North Dakota. Strasburg, Brian points out, is the birthplace of Lawrence Welk. The crew harvests wheat on acreage that traces back to the band leader, he added.

The Joneses run a John Deere and Case combine, plus supporting equipment.

When not harvesting, the Joneses operate a 4th generation farm in Adair County, Iowa, where they raise corn, soybeans and have a cowherd. Brian is active in the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Sublette, Kansas—Wow!  What a difference just a few days can make ... After the heartache Oklahoma dealt us with the rains, mud and challenging fields conditions, Kansas welcomes us with sunny skies, triple-digit temperatures and flat fields.  The weather has turned completely around, and harvesters couldn't be more happy.

sublette done
Ideal harvesting conditions make for a fast-paced harvest here in Sublette.  With the header loaded on the trailer, we are off to the next field.  What a change from Oklahoma.

We started our two stops in Kansas in reverse order from normal, meaning we are currently in the

Thomas, Oklahoma - Wow, what a way to start off the summer.  We survived frequent heavy rains, multiple hail storms, a tornado ... and more muddy fields than you could shake a stick at.  Our endurance paid off in the end, but Oklahoma was kind of a "grin and bear it" start to the season.  Check out the video below for an up-close look at some of the challenges we had to overcome with muddy fields.



The last few days of harvesting the weather finally decided to get on board with summer-like heat and wind.  The ground conditions improved, and

Thomas, Oklahoma–We arrived safely in Thomas, Oklahoma, with the equipment. A long trek we are glad to have behind us.  It took a little longer than expected, as we had to pull over on the side of the road after the engine of one of the semi's suddenly shut off and would not restart.  Narrow roads and wide loads pulled off on the shoulder are not a good combination.  Harvesters dread this type of scenario, as it leaves little room for oncoming traffic to get around our equipment.  We must be very mindful to not create any un-due

Greenfield, Iowa—The magic moment has arrived. It's the day we have been anticipating for months ... the day where all the madness of preparation is over, and the wheels start to turn as our rigs pull out of our driveway and head towards Oklahoma.

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The journey begins. We say our farewells to our farm, friends, and family and head head south for the wheat fields of Oklahoma. It's always a bittersweet moment.

 

The rainy weather mentioned in my previous blog has not improved much. This has led to a lot of delays for nearly every agricultural activity throughout

Greenfield, Iowa - Wheat harvest is just around the corner, but preparations for Summer 2019 started a long time ago.  The winter months gave us time to reevaluate the summer, consider what did and did not go so well, and look for ways to continuously improve our harvesting efforts.  

The difficult agricultural economy that has persisted makes for very tight margins between income and expenses for farmers.  Custom harvesters are finding it challenging to make their businesses profitable, too.  The largest expense for harvesters is the depreciation of the combine’s value as it racks up unusually high hours

Greenfield, Iowa—For some of you this is our first time meeting, and for others we are reconnecting again.  Either way, it’s exciting we are all here to share the 2019 wheat harvest together!

I am Brian G. Jones of Greenfield, Iowa, and I am a fourth generation farmer and a second generation 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.  In 1983 my father Glen Jones and grandpa George Rahn began (unknown to them at the time) a 35+ year

Can it really be over?!? Wheat harvest 2018 was as memorable as they come for Jones Harvesting, for all the right (and wrong) reasons. Watch the summary video below to relive the highs (and lows) of the summer, the most memorable photos, the best footage and catch one more glimpse of the sun setting on amber waves of grain.  Then continue reading on as I share details of the final journey back home, readjusting to life on the farm, gearing up for fall harvest, and the preparations already being made for wheat harvest 2019.



It's amazing how fast time goes

And just like that..the last pass is made, and wheat harvest 2018 is over for Jones Harvesting. Can that be possible? Did we really finish North Dakota in only 7 days? Amazingly, yes. Watch the video bellow to catch the harvesting action from the combine cab and the completion of the last field. Then continue reading on for a detailed account of the final days of harvest 2018 for the crew.



In my last correspondence we were harvesting with our hair on fire and the pace never slowed until the last bushel was cut. North Dakota can have tricky weather

Wow, what a difference a few days can make.  You'll recall the slow progress we had been making in South Dakota because of the green spring wheat ripening so slowly with cooler temperatures.  Well, the weather finally cooperated, the wheat dried down, and South Dakota ended in a flurry of activity. Click to watch the video below for an update live from our final South Dakota field. Then continue reading about the first few busy days of North Dakota harvest.



Finishing South Dakota always feels like such an accomplishment, because we spend so much time here covering so many

Onida, South Dakota - Spring wheat progress has been slow in much of central South Dakota, hampered by unusually cool, cloudy days that just haven't pushed the green spring wheat along nearly as fast as we hoped.  We find a field or two ready to harvest, and as soon as it is cut we play the waiting game again.  I guess this is the perfect example of when "green means stop, not go".  Click on the video below and I'll show you the problem first hand...


Since there hasn't been much harvesting action to share with you I