Harvest time, this is the most stressful time of year for wheat growers! (And all other grain growers.) We worked the soil for two long years to raise a crop of wheat.
The first year was summer fallowing time to keep out weeds by going over the land with a plow, chisel, disk and whatever machinery it takes to work out weeds and aerate the soil. The time spent driving tractors adds up to long hours with little rest. Hot sun, wind and blowing dust make the hours seem worse.
Harold always kept a look out for arrowheads to bring in while he worked the land. I never did see any arrowheads or relics when I was in the driver’s seat. I am too near- sighted to spot a treasure like that.
When our boys were little we would pack a picnic lunch and fresh cool water to take to the field. Other times farmers preferred to come into the house for a much needed break. We never worked nine to five. It was always more like seven or eight until dark.
Then there is the leveling of the land with a rod weeder. And finally drilling the grain. You have a lot of time and dollars, (fuel, repairs, hours on the tractor and concern) invested in this project before you see any rewards – if you see them, that is.
More than once my husband and I worked the required years to get the crop ready to harvest only to witness sudden dark clouds roll in bringing a bad hail storm which took the crop. It happened the year we were married to begin with. He harvested long days with a small outfit rather than thinking he could afford to hire a commercial harvester after that. The remaining meager grain crop was only good for hog feed. We lived that year on what I could make taking a job teaching kindergartners at the local school. He worked hard with his animals keeping more hogs to farrow out for cash when needed.
Another time we came home from the county fair to find our good looking hybrid sudan crop had been beaten to tiny bits by a hard hitting hail storm. The big stalks were reduced to several inch bits of stem. We came home across fields as the roads were washed out. Creek crossings were no longer a choice. He took out the rake and make windrows of what the machine would pick up and baled what he could. A farmer never gives up, he deals with the circumstances handed him and looks to next year. This is next year country and we always hope for a better tomorrow.
We always felt good to get the golden ripe wheat harvested and the seed grain put in the bin and sold the rest to the local elevator. Then we could consider the crop safe. I always think of the farmers with concern and compassion during harvest time every year.
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that work on climate-smart agricultural policies should take place in the next two years so that Congress has experiences from which to learn before writing the 2023 farm bill.