Monday, October 20, 2014

The Generation Gap


Soybean harvest is in full swing at Leffler Farms Inc this weekend. Thursday we knocked out 120 acres of bottomland, Friday 98 acres and Saturday we cut 77 acres. Sunday we finished the Gatewood Field and also got The Island cut! Saturday and Sunday the beans were tough and we were only able to run 3.5 mph compared to the previous days of running 4.5 – 5.5 mph. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference but let me tell you it is.

The Generation Gap: 

Leffler Farms Inc is a fourth generation farming operation with three of those generations still living and working on the farm. Life on the farm as I know it is much different than when my Grandpa was my age.

Here are a few examples:
Haying to my Grandpa means throwing square bales onto a trailer by hand.
Haying to me means getting the loader out and picking up big round bales and stacking them in the comfort of an air-conditioned cab.
~ Working ground to my Grandpa means sitting on a tractor without a cab fighting the dust and trying to keep your implement going as straight as possible.
Working ground to me means turning up the radio, setting my GPS to make my tractor go straight and letting it drive itself. This is a great time to catch up on phone calls or returning e-mails. I’ve even heard of people installing DVD players in their four-wheel drive tractors so they can watch movies on long row fields. I haven’t taken it to this extreme (yet).
~ Combining crops to my Grandpa means taking in little strips of crops at a time and harvesting it. Combing crops to me means taking in at least 12 rows of corn and 35 foot swaths of soybeans and wheat, taking in enough grain to utilize a grain cart so the combine never has to stop. Combines now also have yield monitors so we can pull instant figures of what the crops are making instead of having to take them to an elevator to get tested. Talk about instant gratification.
~ Trucking to my Grandpa means taking straight trucks that held around 300 bushels of crops at a time.
Trucking to me means taking 1,000 bushels of crops to the elevator at one time.
~ Shoveling feed-bunks to my Grandpa means picking up a shovel, bundling up and spending countless hours shoveling snow out of the bunks so that the cattle can eat on winter mornings and evenings.
Shoveling feed-bunks to me means getting in the skid-loader with my canister of hot chocolate or coffee, turning up the heat and attaching the bunk-sweeper so that I can drive along the bunks and sweep the snow out with a push of a button. Although I will attest that I have spent countless hours shoveling bunks because the bunk-sweeper has only been on the farm for one year (2013).
 Dinner in the field to my Grandpa means a home-cooked meal by my Grandma or my Great Grandma and eating as a family.
Dinner in the field to me means calling into the Breckenridge Co. CafĂ© in Americus and having someone deliver it to me and eat on the go.  We still occasionally do the old fashion way too and I love those days the most.
~ Going to check cattle to my Grandpa means saddling up a horse and riding pastures and lots.
 Going to check cattle to me means loading up the four-wheeler/Gator and my dog and riding through pastures and lots.
~ Calling someone to my Grandpa means getting on the handheld radio and saying 
KNGD-524-LFI-1 to whoever he may be trying to get a hold of.
Calling someone to me means picking up my iPhone. I can say I miss the days of being on a full time radio system.  My number was 3 in case you were wondering.

As you can see there are many things that are different but there also many things the same:

~ The work hard; play hard mentality will always be a part of Leffler Farms Inc.
 Fencing on hot summer days will always be a must.
~ Listening to our favorite sports team on the radios during harvest instead of being at the game (GO CATS!)
~ Working and moving cattle down road B to the feedlot with a group of our closest friends. These days will always be my favorite. I absolutely love when we have horses out working our cattle.
~ Maintaining and improving the land and homestead is always a must. Whether we are cutting/trimming trees, soil sampling, or making improvements to the feedlot I have learned that no generation on our farm will ever be satisfied. We strive for perfection in all that we encompass.
~ The time spent together is something that we all cherish. It is something that will last an eternity. I can’t ever remember a day where I wasn’t working side by side on the farm with either my Dad or Grandpa right there with me. There is something special to be said about working with family on a daily basis. It takes a special group of people to be able to o that.
~ Farming is always on the brain. Even on family vacations we somehow always managed to accommodate my Dad and stop at an equipment dealership. Another example would be at my sisters and my sporting events you could always find my Dad and Grandpa sitting with another farmer discussing their weekly adventures and comparing farming methods.

The older I get the more I appreciate the “old ways”. I see the value in everything my Grandpa does even if it does take longer or requires more physical labor. Growing up next to different generations on an operation like ours not only taught me the value of hard work but also gave me a greater appreciation of what can be learned from the generations around me.

1962 Combine and Truck
2014 Combine and Semi Truck 

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