Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Harvest Safety

Harvest Saftey :  
While southbound on the Americus Road today in my Tractor and Grain Cart, with my Hazard Lights on, in my own lane, like any other normal vehicle on the road. I turned on my left turn signal and began to decelerate to turn into our corn field. Apparently the SUV behind me was in such a hurry he proceeded to swerve around me (missing my front left tire by less than 2 feet) as I was turning across the road to enter our field.  
Sir I hope you got to where you needed to be that extra minute early! 


I know it's not any fun to get stuck behind slow moving machinery but that is just part of living in an Ag Community. Those roads are our hallways, our tractor cabs are our offices, so please be extra cautious and patient when driving near farm equipment, especially during harvest !  
Farming is already a dangerous occupation; don't make it more dangerous for us when we are the ones providing food for your table. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and be sure to wave and smile as you pass a farmer during harvest because it can be stressful and fast paced time for the farming community

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Top 14 Local Area Harvest Quotes

This list is brought to you by texts and snapchat stories received during #Harvest15 

1. "I wish it'd quit raining so we can start wheat harvest"

2. "I wish it'd rain so we could get a break...my golf game is struggling"

3. "How do you miss the grain cart by that much" (grain all over tractor cab)

4. "I packed a lunch...I ate it by 9:30 am" 

5. "I swear he parks those trucks crooked just to make me get out of my AC and straighten them out" 

6. "It's already 90" (9 am) 

7. "Our combine is running circles around the red one and it's got 10 more feet of header. "

8. "Oh so that cover crop field was wheat, interesting!" 

9. "I never know what to do with my hands while using auto steer"

10. "That wheat was so trashy and pink it should have been on the corner"

11.  "I think I've been in every piece of equipment we own today" 

12. "I'm just gonna hook the planter to the back of the combine and speed this process up!" 

13. "Who worked this field! It's rougher than our county roads" 

14. "You gotta get ya a chair when you're unloading grain" (sends pic of lawn chair by grain bin) 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Expense of Harvest

From the outside looking in it appears that farmers just work the ground, plant, spray, harvest, collect a check and do it all again the next season.  

Let's take a minute and figure up what it costs the farmer to harvest just in a relatable concept to non-farmers . 

Diesel is approximately $2.56. 
It takes about 1 gallon of fuel for every acre harvested. 
That's around $1,280 if the farmer harvests 500 acres. 
If it's muddy conditions you can add another 1/3 of the cost. 
This doesn't include the DEF that the new machines take either ! 

Now let's say the farmer has three semi's he is using to haul grain. 
That's a total of 54 tires; which is equivalent to approximately $19,000 in just tires ! 
This doesn't include the combine (4), tractor (4-6), grain cart (2), or the pick ups (4-8) used to haul fuel and necessitates! 
Don't forget these trucks take fuel too! 

The farmer has to put his trust in a lot of variables that can't be controlled. Their inputs are high without a promise in return. Bad weather, disease/toxins in crops and poor commodity prices are just a few that can take a toll on a farmers pocketbook. 

Now let's look at the time investment: 
Most people go to work at 8 am and come home at 5 pm. In farming, everyday is different but long days seem to be a consistent theme. During harvest we are in the field servicing equipment by 7:30 am, dumping trucks from the night before by 8:30 am, gathering supplies and headed to the field by 10:00 am to hopefully start cutting. We get our lunch and dinner on the go by family members (field meals are the best!). These family members are also the people who get a list of instructions on how and when to move what where... See its confusing just reading it, let alone doing it. They are constantly shuffling everyone around to make sure things go smoothly. Typically we are shuting down machines around 10-12 pm (variant on the humidity and weather conditions). Then we do it all again! 

Although this all sounds expensive and time consuming there is a priceless part of the harvest.  It seems that every year we have family, friends, and landlords that will drive by and see an empty "buddy seat" and crawl into the cab with us. These are the moments and memories that can make a stressful job fun and rewarding! Plus it gives them a glimpse into our world. 

So next time you hear a farmer complaining about how dry or wet it is, how low the grain prices are, how expensive fuel, equipment and land prices are take a minute and say Thank You. After all they are the ones putting food on your table.  

At the end of everyday it's just a farmer, his machine, and God.... 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Hunt

There is nothing quite like the stillness in the morning of a pond or river. The only sounds you can here are the water, the leaves wrestling, and squirrels jumping from tree to tree. In the far distance the honks of geese and quacks of ducks can be heard. It's dark you can't see anything but when that sun does decide to rise, wow. It's breathe taking every single time. It's always different, always unique, and always better than the last.
Sunrise from morning Duck Hunt
December 2014.

The waiting might just be my favorite part of the whole hunt. The anticipation, the pumping of adrenaline when the sounds of birds start to fly closer, the excitement when the flapping of wings is right on top of you. There is nothing and I mean nothing like it. Gun loaded and ready to go, you wait for the moment to pull the trigger. Once that moment comes: you take it all in for a brief moment, lock in on the bird and boom the beautiful chaos begins. Your hand shakes as you reload but you dial in and start all over again until there is no more flapping of wings above you.
Then you wait to do it all over again!

Duck Hunt December 2014.

Somedays you get lucky and get to do this routine four times, somedays all you get to do is set up, wait and share the day with friends as you leave empty handed but full of mental images of what could have been.

It seems that every waterfowl hunter stacks up their kills for the day in their own unique way. Some prefer the truck bed photo, many love to take the picture with their hunting dog, and others set the self timer and get the kills with the group that shot them. No matter how the picture is taken the memory of the hunt will forever be tucked away in the back of your mind getting you excited for the next.

Successful pond hunt, December 2014.

The end of the hunt when you begin to take the decoys down, clean up shell casings, and pack everything away for the next time is always great. The jokes of who missed what bird, the could have and would haves, and the I will get them next time begins until all the kills are cleaned. This, this is where the true memories are made, in the conversations and the time spent together.

End of Hunt January 2015.