Autumn is signified to me by many things: the changing of the leaves from green to shades of orange and red; the sun starts coming out a little later (making it a bit more difficult for some of us to get out of bed – not me of course, but some); and (something I have come to appreciate) the caravan of combines combing the fields of rural Nebraska.
I was asked to write about the harvest, which I don’t know too much about, but I did know who to ask. So I visited my grandparents farm just east of Fremont, NE. As I drove down the gravel roads through clouds of dust with my camera and list of questions, I thought I knew what answers I was going to get and exactly what I was going to learn. I was both wrong and right, as usual. (I will most likely never admit to that again, so take note.)
After I arrived, I sat down at the kitchen table with my grandparents, and they told me how farming has changed. Their first tractor cost $1,700 and fuel could be purchased for 30 cents a gallon! They told me that, once upon a time, both weeds and crops were picked by hand. I, of course, teased them for that – a lot of horse and buggy jokes ensued, followed by a few about running water. But, all jokes aside, I am proud of where my grandparents started and where they are now.
So, I was there to ask questions and take some pictures, but then my grandpa asked if I wanted to combine with him. Of course I did – I hadn’t been in a combine since I was eight!
|Grandpa's $1,700 tractor|
As we made our way up and down the rows, I could see why my grandfather enjoys farming so much. You can look right behind you and see what you have accomplished. You can see the corn as it flows from the combine to the truck, then look back out at the field and see what’s left.
On the way down row two, my grandfather said, “Grandma asks me when I am going to stop farming.” My grandfather is 76-years-young (he looks, maybe, a day older than 60). “And I told her, why would I quit now when farming is becoming easier?” Smart guy. Then he showed me all the buttons on his combine and told me that GPS could run the combine for him, if he wanted it to.
By the end of the day, I did, in fact, learn something I already knew – that farming has become easier. But I also learned something I didn’t exactly know – the joys of farming and the pride a grower deserves to feel about what he can accomplish on the land he owns. Those are the same reasons I am proud to work at Valley®. We provide products like BaseStation and TrackNET™, which make the grueling and time-consuming tasks of farming just a little bit easier, a little bit more manageable, and a lot more precise, while instilling pride in every grower who calls farming his occupation.
As for my grandfather, well, he’s probably never going to quit farming. Sorry grandma.