Changing of the Guard

In the last couple weeks, a single Harvest Land ag center has had two life-long farm couples pull their wagons across the scales for the last time. No illness has caused this finality, no financial defeat impedes, they’re simply ready to enjoy this later chapter of life doing other things.

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It was an honor, that they would choose to come in for a photo during their last load. 

 

What a realization of seeing these farewell photos on social media brought; there is a true changing of the guard amongst families in agriculture. Those in their late sixties, early seventies are choosing to put the combine away one last time and not worry about the spring.

They’re selling what’s in the bin and renting the storage to someone else.

They’re cleaning up equipment so it can go on to the next steward.

They’re closing the books on a record year.

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But…

They’ll still wake before dawn and check the markets while the coffee brews.

They’ll still talk about the weather at every opportunity.

They’ll still stand in awe of new machinery at a farm show or neighbor’s shop.

They’ll still prefer the smell of freshly cut hay or the inside of the milking parlor to any cologne in a bottle.

They’ll still think the next generation doesn’t know how good they have it.

They’ll still worry about safety and say a silent prayer when they hear the local volunteer fire department race through the township on an October day.

They’ll still drive around in the spring and summer scouting crops.

They’ll still wear their Harvest Land hats and jackets they’ve acquired over the years, and they’ll regularly check the rain gauge we gave them during the soggy spring of 2017.

They’ll still subscribe to Farm World, Progressive Farmer and other publications that clutter the station beside the recliner so they’re still in the know.

They’ll still proudly call themselves a life-long farmer.

We have no doubt there are others out there calling the 2018 harvest their last as they enjoy retirement, perhaps they did not post farewell photos taken at the ag center to Facebook.

And we’ll miss them.

Their insight.

Their years of experience.

Their optimism gained from years gone by.

Their tired hands that have known the struggle.

Their passion for the work and the appreciation of the industry.

But we wish them the best, and we thank them for their years of business and partnership with Harvest Land Co-op. There is always a spot for you to visit with us at the ag center counter.

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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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