All Aboard Harvest | Laura Haffner – High Plains Harvesting
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Laura Haffner – High Plains Harvesting

Laura Haffner always loved agriculture and rural living, but never dreamed she would be living out that passion through traveling the backroads of the the Great Plains with a harvest crew.  But, here she is!

She and her husband, Ryan, own and operate High Plains Harvesting based in Park, Kansas. The couple, along with their children and team, travel from Texas to the Canadian border to harvest wheat, canola and other small grains. They return to Kansas at the end of summer to harvest corn, soybeans, grain sorghum and the occasional sunflower and pinto beans.

Ryan’s harvesting experience started as a young child with his family. He was hooked and continued harvesting summers throughout his teens and early twenties with a local crew. He later took over a business, which has become High Plains Harvesting. This season will mark their eleventh as owners.

This is Laura’s eighth year writing for All Aboard Wheat Harvest

“Harvesting is a good but challenging way of life,” Laura said.  “It has afforded me the opportunity to meet some amazing people and visit incredible places. The tough times have grown my faith in ways I never thought possible.  With the current drought, it looks like the latter will once again be put to the test.”  

The Haffner’s children have an expanded worldview as the result of their travels and meeting people from all over the US and the world.  Their children, who affectionately go by Little Man and Lady A in the blog, are ready to hit the road for another season.  Lady A says she likes, “driving the equipment and helping in the kitchen.”  Little Man is excited to “see new places and do new things!”  In the children’s eyes, harvest is a grand adventure and the Haffners work hard to take advantage of many lessons that are available along the trail to help teach their children about life.  

Ryan and Laura appreciate the chance to share their journey with you and Laura looks forward to interacting with the readership throughout the season.

Oklahoma—The heat wave continues and was the gift that kept on giving yesterday for Father's Day. Temperatures have been hovering near 100 degrees. The faucet in the sky has turned off and the winds have picked up.  Wheat is ripening at a very rapid pace northward. Harvest is moving full speed ahead and we're doing our best to keep up.

The heat and winds have allowed us to roll though the acres. After initially waiting out the rain for days and days, I think it's safe to say, the crew are truly "harvesters" now. They're experiencing long days and are starting

Northern Oklahoma—The boys are back in town.

You may recall I recently toured All Aboard Wheat Harvest’s sponsor, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s Edmond campus, the Boys Ranch Town. It was wonderful to be able to see the facilities and really get a feel for what opportunities are available to youth at the site. It really helped further my connection to the program and prepare for their upcoming visit.

On Saturday, June 11, we had the privilege of hosting two youth from the Boys Ranch Town, David and Blaze, with their sponsor, BJ, ranch operations manager at the campus.

Blaze, BJ, David and

Northern Oklahoma-Cheers to being back in the field.

Wow! Who would have thought the weather would have turned out like it has considering how terribly droughty it has been. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised because, more often than not, harvest has brought heavy rains to the run. However, these storms often yielded more than what was forecasted.

We had been out of the field for over a week. That’s enough time to allow your mind to think through all the possible scenarios of delay complications as you watch days tick by. Dwelling too long can lead to an unhealthy place mentally, if

Edmond, Oklahoma–Those who have been part of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest Family for awhile may remember that Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children has helped sponsor the blog for several years. As part of their relationship with the program, they bring youth from their campuses to the harvest field. We and some of the other blog crews show them the ropes but usually end up learning just as much from them as they do us.

Recently, I reached out to Bo Blakey, executive director at the Boys Ranch Town in Edmond, to start the conversation about hosting students this season. I

Texas: It was a quick in and out stop for Texas this year, a far cry from the time we normally put in through this region.

What was the culprit for the change? Drought.

The drought is widespread through the country this year and affects much of the western midwest and western United States. Unfortunately, our harvest trail follows much of the affected area. I have included a picture from the University of Nebraska’s drought monitor below. I hope that diagram will help paint a picture of just how serious the problem is in places.

UNL's drought monitor. (Photo Source

In our region

Northwest Kansas: The first moving day of the season is one to behold. Actually, they all are, but the first is a little extra.

There is something about sound of motors firing up and the smell of diesel in the morning. I’m convinced that even after our final season is behind us, whenever that may be, I will be instantly transported back to harvest in my mind when I hear those sounds and smells in a parking lot somewhere!

Moving day can be one of mixed emotions. For some, the excitement is super high. The thought of hitting the open road drives

Kansas–Sometimes I feel like I live on two different worlds. Both are very real, but so very different. My worlds are that of home and on the road.

On the road, my time is governed by the crops, weather, sun and moon. At home, my time follows a more orderly calendar around deadlines, bell schedules, and generally neat and tidy-ish start and stop times.

On the road we will have three meals a day, at some point during the day. At home, breakfast is before school, lunch is during school hours, and supper is after school, between activities.

On the road, my bed

Northwest Kansas–It is 7:18 p.m. on Monday, May 2. The temperature is 40 degrees with a wind chill of 30. NOAA tells me the wind is blowing out of the north at 22 miles per hour with gusts up to 30. Wind has been abundant these last few months. Humidity is at a rare 89%, and we just enjoyed the most beautiful rain. Rain makes our world go round, but has been in very short supply. In fact, our whole lives revolve around the weather because we are custom harvesters.

Hi everyone. It’s great to be back and chatting with you

Northwest Kansas—The summer wheat run is complete. There's always a feeling of relief when the last team member pulls in the yard with the final piece of equipment from the summer run. The crew immediately switched out and converted equipment for the fall season. Corn harvest has been underway for several weeks now.

What a run it was. This year was marked with many twists and turns and unexpected challenges caused by weather. I would rehash all those adventures, but I thought I would do a little something different this year.

I've said before that one of the best things about harvest

Nebraska—This season I've had a theme and pleasure of introducing other crews and industry professionals to the readership. I hope you've enjoyed learning about them. This will be my final crew highlight for the summer run with the exception of my final post of the season which will have a different twist as well.

Meet Briggs Harvesting.

On the day we met, he emerged from his truck with a bounce in his step and twinkle in his eye. I got the sense that I may need to be on my toes with this one and I was right. Justin Briggs, of Briggs