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

Laura Haffner – High Plains Harvesting

For Laura Haffner, there is not a better way to see the Great Plains.She and her husband, Ryan, have High Plains Harvesting based in Park, Kansas. The couple, along with their two young children and a crew of about a dozen, travel from Texas to the Canadian border to harvest wheat, canola and peas.

They return to Kansas at the end of summer to harvest corn, soybeans and grain sorghum. They family runs five late John Deere-model combines, along with their other supporting equipment.

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 that business, which has become High Plains Harvesting. This season will mark their seventh as owners.

This is Laura’s fourth year writing for All Aboard Wheat Harvest.
“I enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people,” Laura said. “I like to see harvest through my children’s eyes. They think it is a grand vacation because we make it that way for them.” Whether it is trips to the field or finding the interesting things that make a harvest stop unique, there is no shortage of things to do.

“As a result of our opportunity to extensively travel the Great Plains, I can tell the children are already expanding their worldview, love for travel, learning and adventure.”

Central Kansas: While we were in south central Kansas, we had the opportunity to host another group from Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. This time, it was the young men who came to see the team. They made the trip to Kansas all the way from their Edmond, Oklahoma, campus.

One of the neat things about this group was that some of them had an idea of what they’d experience on their outing. They had visited Jim and Tracy Zeorian last summer so already had the harvest bug. This opened up a level comfort and questions which benefitted all, even those

South central Kansas: Well, that escalated quickly. We have finished south central Kansas and northern Oklahoma and are on to southeastern Colorado and western Kansas. When the post was written, we had not had a single rain day since we started in Texas and these hot winds and high temperatures have caused the wheat to continue to ripen at a rapid pace.

It's funny to think, at this time last year, we were still cutting away in Oklahoma and things weren’t ready in Kansas. Seasons can fluctuate greatly year to year.

One of the things to note about south central Kansas was

West central Oklahoma: To all Oklahoma readers, sorry about the title.  The song has been in my head all week and I just couldn’t help myself. I’m guessing you get about as tired of hear references to the musical as we Kansans do about Dorothy, Toto, and tornados! 

So how is Ohhhklahoma going? Sorry, last time.  Really. 

Well, someone is missing their 20 inch aluminum wheel in southern Oklahoma. How do we know? We found it. With our header. When cutting near the road. Our team member was doing the best he could in thick straw and good wheat. It just

Northern Texas—I’m writing while listening to the rain patter on the roof of the camper. It's my first rain of the season while out on the road. Listening to the rain after the crew has finished the southern most stop is a satisfying feeling. Our crew starts in northern Texas and plans to end the summer wheat run just shy of the Canadian border. If all goes to plan, we will have harvested in seven states prior to returning to Kansas for fall crop.

Harvest was a mixed bag here this year. The yields ranged from abandoned (zero) to 50 bushels

West central Oklahoma—“Wow, this is really cool!” That was just one of the exclamations made by the young women of the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, of Madill, Oklahoma. When the comment was made, she was watching the combine unload, piling a mound of golden grain into the cart.

Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children has been one of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest sponsors the past several seasons. The relationship between the two entities has afforded us the opportunity to host field visits for multiple groups of young people over the years. It is something I have started to anticipate and

Home: I just came in from working outside to type my final post. It is 93 degrees in northwest Kansas today. It is hot, but not the same kind of hot felt in June or July. I think just a little hint of fall may be in the air or maybe my mind is playing tricks on me since we just entered September. Either way, summer is rapidly coming to an end.

In a handful of days, the first group will return to headquarters from the north. There will be a few days of maintenance and conversions to prepare the machines

Kansas, North Dakota, Montana—The light is at the end of the summer harvest run tunnel. The crew has finished up in southern Montana and are en route to or have started their last job respectively. This is the time of the year that the crew does a big split with one group finishing the season up in northern Montana and the other in North Dakota. The crew in North Dakota kicked off with canola harvest and initial yields are currently 40 plus bushels an acre.

Southern Montana finished on a positive note with spring wheat yields coming in around 50 to

Southern Montana—Another day, another wheat field. However, it's not "just" another wheat field to us! It's our farmer’s wheat field. That wheat field is a farm’s chance at income for that season and an important time for the operation. Despite cutting many acres throughout the season, its important not to get complacent. We need to continue to harvest each field like they are our own because there is no such thing as “just another” wheat field. Each one is important to customer and to us! We value each opportunity to serve.

Our first farm in southern Montana resulted in yields 50

Northeastern Colorado—The other night, we were greeted by an unusual sight.

We see a vast variety of campers and motor homes on our travels, but I’ve never seen one pulled by a tractor nor a camper as special as this! Ivan Stolzfus is driving this “Johnabilt” across America to raise awareness for wounded warriors. He told me he is a retired farmer who was looking to give back in thanks for our freedoms. He blogs about his travels and there is a tracker on the site so you can follow along with Ivan’s progress. If you would like to learn more

South central Montana—Where has the summer gone? I don’t know how it can already be the last day of July. I can still remember the anticipation of the season like it was yesterday, but here we are and school is just around the corner!

I recently met up with half of the crew as they were passing through northeast Colorado on their way to Montana. They needed to stop for a part and a quick rest. It typically takes two days to get to Montana from our headquarters with wide loads.

We have crew members that are experiencing their first season on