Harvest celebrates remarkable nature of industry
Dust is in the air, and that’s a good thing if you’re combining soybeans. As the harvest crews roll through fields, gathering the late season beans and corn, families do all they can to help collect the crops before the inevitable change of seasons.
Since crops started being cultivated, gathering in the harvest is a time for celebrating. Many in cities are far removed from the process and don’t experience the process of planting in the spring, nurturing the plants through the summer and gathering in the resulting crops in the fall. We are so blessed!
Our grandparents struggled to raise what was needed to feed families and maybe a little more. By 1960, each farmer produced enough to feed 26 people. Now each American farmer feeds an estimated 155 people, with crops grown here and delivered to many worldwide.
According to livinghistoryfarm.org, in 1836, Hiram Moore built and patented the first successful combine. His combination reaper, harvester, and threshing machine was 17 feet long, 15 feet wide, and needed 20 horses to pull it and a small army of farm hands to guide the horses and operate the machine.
Harvesting equipment has changed so much through the years. My dad farmed land between Aberdeen and Groton that was homesteaded by my grandparents. I remember taking lunch to dad in the field. When he stopped to take a break, the stress was evident in the creases on his face, caked with dust from the crops. That was before manufacturers started putting cabs on combines. Eventually that comfort feature was added to keep operators out of the sun, dust and wind. Now cabs are decked out with computer monitors to show yields. An extra seat allows a rider to experience riding through the fields, out of the elements.
In the years before he died, it always thrilled my dad to watch the combines chew through the crops on his land. Even though a renter operated the machines, the pride in being part of the process remained. He appreciated the great crop that was grown on his fertile land and claimed by his ancestors for the family.
As harvest progresses, the result comes from the work of the producer supported by wives, sons, daughters, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. The many hands available in extended families help with running for parts, moving vehicles, cooking meals and figuring out pricing strategies.
Viewing soybeans and corn from the road is much different than following the rows across the fields in the combine. Riding in the ‘bankers’ seat, I rode with Dale as the sun crept to the horizon last week. On the quarter of land, there are patches where the kochia weed has outwitted the sprayer, lowlands where no crops grow because of a heavy spring rain and a surprising flush of birds. Dust from the air reel threw debris from the bean plants in the air, obscuring the view for a moment but clearing to reveal an awesome image of ag life.
Exceptional farm family
Most in agriculture are down-to-earth and modest about accomplishments, but sometimes there are special people who need to be given a pat on the back. In conjunction with the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, the Farm Forum is looking to recognize one of the families in this area as the 2014 Farm Family of the Year. The award honors a farm family who best represents farming and ranching and the spirit of agriculture in northeastern South Dakota.
Forms are available at farmforum.net or at the Aberdeen Chamber office on Aberdeen’s Main Street. The deadline for this year’s applications is Nov. 6.
The award will be presented during the Aberdeen Area Chamber Ag Appreciation Banquet on Nov. 14, at the Dakota Event Center.
The questions aren’t hard. Those filling out the form are asked: What year did your farming operation begin? What type of operation did it start out as? Was it owned, rented and how was it managed, etc.? Describe your operation (crops, livestock and other enterprises). List goals established, such as to increase yields by 15 percent by using different types of seed, making more efficient use of the land, or increased weight gains in livestock, etc.
Many, many families will fit the criteria whether they grow crops, work with livestock or pursue other ag-related ventures. An application needs to be turned in for a winner to be chosen. If you have a family you’d like to nominate, you can let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm Family of the Year forms
In conjunction with the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, the Farm Forum is looking to recognize one of the families in this area as the 2014 Farm Family of the Year. Forms are available at farmforum.net or at the Aberdeen Chamber office on Aberdeen’s Main Street. The Deadline for this year’s application is Nov. 6.