A Salute to the Unsung Harvest Heroes

Harvest is running on all cylinders across the United States. It’s easy for us to highlight the  tremendously important work the farmer does to harvest another crop to feed the general public, but what about those unsung heroes who work behind the scenes (or, wheel) to ensure harvest work goes as it should?

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Today we salute the harvest unsung heroes:

The unsung harvest heroes are the ones blowing out filters, checking oil and greasing every piece of equipment before the race gets started.

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The unsung harvest heroes spend time thinking up meals that can be eaten with one hand, transported effortlessly or used to feed the masses on the tailgate of a farm truck. They’re the ones who prepare meals with hurried love, deliver meals on time and don’t think about feeding themselves until 10:30 PM.

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The unsung harvest heroes take different route home from school every day so the future farmers can see where Grandpa or Dad are working.

The unsung harvest heroes are the fuel truck drivers who work tirelessly to fuel all of the combines, tractors, and semi trucks running the products up and down the road. They still answer their phone when a customer calls from the field at 9:00 PM, and takes off to deliver a load in the middle of a field so not to slow progress.

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The unsung harvest heroes act as a morning motivator when the future farmer presents his best argument for skipping school and riding in the combine all day.

The unsung harvest hero doesn’t understand what all the hype is over a pumpkin spiced latte. And until her town of 2,000 puts a Starbucks next to the parts store or grain elevator, she probably never will.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the ones hauling the grain to the elevator, spending their day wearing a path on the rural route roads, waiting in line, and eating their weight in co-op popcorn.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the people in charge of logistics, making sure that pick-up trucks get from field to field in order to get the farmers home each night if equipment is being left in the field over night.

The unsung harvest heroes are the ones driving the auger cart, positioning it perfectly for the effortless unload so the big wheels can keep on turning.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the “runners” who log 200 miles on their vehicle in a single October day and never leave the county.

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And finally, the unsung harvest heroes are the ones who spend a large amount of time traveling 15 mph with their flashers on, following equipment at night and ensuring everyone – and every piece of equipment – makes it home safely.
We salute you, harvest’s unsung heroes, for working the odd jobs that no one sees but everyone needs.
Keep trucking towards a safe and bountiful harvest 2018.
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Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers: Wehr Farms

Harvest Land is quite fortunate to work with numerous outstanding family farm operations in Indiana and Ohio. Annually we look forward to learning who the State Fair Featured Farmers are, because there is a high probability we work closely with one of two of them.

What an honor to be named an Indiana State Fair Featured Farmer. In its fourth year, this program celebrates and helps put a face on Hoosier agriculture by connecting consumers with farmers. The 17 farm operations selected in 2018 represent all regions of the state, showcasing different agricultural products throughout the 17-day fair, August 3-19.

Visitors to the Indiana State Fair can attend a live chat at the Glass Barn with a Featured Farmer every day of the fair, in addition to many other opportunities to talk with that day’s Featured Farm family and learn about their operation.

On August 19 the Featured Farmer is Wehr Farms from Fayette County. Monica Wehr is a  former FieldTech intern for Harvest Land, and is currently an ACE participant. Monica has been an outstanding asset to our cooperative and we very much appreciate her work ethic and passion for production agriculture.

This week, we invite you to learn more about the Wehr sisters from Fayette County and their drive to manage the family farm despite loss.

Wehr Sisters Take Family Farm Reins and Move Forward

It’s said strength of character is measured by how one reacts to adverse events or actions. It’s about doing what’s right or ethical even when that is the most difficult path to take. For Wehr sisters Monica, 21, and Morgan, 18, a career in farming was always a possibility – a “some day in the future” career aspiration. A year ago, “some day” became today for the Connersville, Indiana, sisters who grew up on the family farm their grandfather founded in 1953 and their father later took over.

“Farming is something I’ve loved since I was little. I was always with my dad and my grandpa even when I probably should have been at home and out of their hair,” says Monica. “I never expected to be running the farm this soon, but everything happens for a reason I guess.”

When their father unexpectedly died in June of 2017, the young sisters found themselves running their family’s farm with the help of their grandmother.

 

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“With our grandpa and dad both gone, there was no other option for us than to continue our family legacy,” says Morgan. Their resiliency is apparent in their day-to-day management of the hay farm and cow-calf operation that includes three bulls and 50 head of Angus and Angus-Charolais cross cattle.

All cattle are bred and raised on the farm until calves reach about 500 pounds. They are then sold as feeder cattle to a neighboring farmer. “We turn the bulls out July 4 and have calves starting the second week of April. We have about 50 calves born each year,” says Monica.

“When we wean calves, we use some supplemental feed to add more nutrients to their diet,” she says. “We graze nine months out of the year. The cows are never contained. They roam the pasture at will.” She points out “Our cows have a pretty good life. Our cattle are never mistreated. Calves get to roam with their moms in the pasture, and they are fed the high-quality hay we produce.”

The sisters also farm 185 acres of alfalfa and orchard grass with the help of Mitchell Pohlar, Monica’s fiancée, who was raised on his family’s nearby farm and now spends his days working at the Wehr’s farm.

They feed some of the hay to their cattle and sell the rest to area farmers.  “We’ve had the same three hay buyers for the past four years. They know the quality of our hay, and they come back for more every year,” says Monica.

The Wehr sisters continue their formal studies as well.  Monica is a student at Wilmington College in Ohio and Morgan graduates from high school in 2018 and is headed to Oklahoma State University this fall where she plans to major in agricultural education, where her hands-on learning will no doubt be beneficial.

“We grew up farming, accompanying our dad and grandpa to the crop fields and to the pastures for a great education,” says Monica.

As they triumph over adversity, Morgan reflects on the example set for them.  “Dad, grandma and grandpa set us up for success. Grandma has spent many hard hours out on the tractor, too, over the years.”

 

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Source: Indiana State Fair

Christmas Morning: The Original Lesson in Patience

Farm kids can learn patience many different ways: soggy planting seasons, bad fences, or rogue hydraulic hoses.

But patience may be an even earlier lesson for those with livestock: halter breaking calves, meticulous diets for lambs or a holstein with an annoying switch.

However, perhaps the greatest lesson in patience comes the morning of December 25th.

It is on Christmas morning that livestock kids have to march past the twinkling glory of the the Christmas tree, surrounded by shiny wrapped gifts which are seeping with enough curiosity to kill a cat. They have to contain the anticipation and excitement, moving past it to find their Carhartts on their way to the bitter cold to tend stock.

Livestock kids have to take care of the cattle, hogs, sheep, horses or dogs, before they enjoy Christmas morning for themselves. They’ll pay close attention while feeding, watering and bedding all species at the quickest pace known to mankind.

The original lesson in patience comes early for farm kids who bypass the presents to take care of the livestock, then return to the house to open new gloves, a show stick and work boots under the tree. And they love it, all the same.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Farm

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Farm

If only for a half day

The engines are all shut down

The combine is quiet and put away

No one is on a parts run to town

 

This Thursday is a special one

Whether from the boulevard or rural route

We’ll take a day to gather ‘round

And recall what Thanksgiving is about

 

It isn’t standing in a drawn-out line

To claim the next great deal

Or panicking about the oyster dressing

Trying to create the perfect meal

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Thanksgiving is about slowing down

And finding gratitude in your heart

It’s about looking around at the ones you love

And thanking God for today, another start

 

It opens a season of giving to others

Giving to those who may be without

Donating food, coat, hat and gloves

That’s what Thanksgiving is about

 

Though the morning may be hectic,

With mixing, filling, pouring and baking

Take a few minutes to watch the parade with the kids

and think of the old-fashioned memories you’re making

 

When the meal is over and dining room cleared

family searches the farmhouse for somewhere to sit

Farmwives find themselves thankful for Tupperware

and enough un-cracked, matching lids that fit

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For days on end it will be strung out

Green beans and cranberries for every meal

By Friday the youngest declares he hates turkey

And Farm Mom wonders how she’ll deal

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Far past Thursday let the enthusiasm carry on

Showing daily gratitude for life’s many gifts

You may be surprised how things turn around

And how many spirits a heart of gratitude can lift

 

This Thanksgiving pause and give thanks

For good health, warm home and life on the farm

Though the markets, weather and expense may wear us down

For this livelihood many would give their right arm

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