Steph: The grand return

StephNEW_thumbnailWeren’t sure you’d see me back this year, were ya? Be careful what you wish for! Turns out the “harvest fever” I always talk about is a lot more of a thing than I ever imagined. That and it’s in my blood, so there is no escaping.

Osowski Ag Service has been family owned and operated for the last four years. In spite of the doubt we had all winter, harvest 2015 will go in the books as the fifth year! This is exactly how Dad likes to operate so you could say he was a little bit relieved when I told him I would once again be a full-time Osowski Ag employee. Dad has been spoiled with the gift of not having to search for hired help these last few years. Our crew for the summer will include Mom and Dad (Bob and Loree), my brother, Brandon, and me. We will be traveling to Hobart, Oklahoma, to begin our two-month journey across the Midwest before we end up back home in Grafton, North Dakota, where wheat harvest will begin shortly after we return.

People around home know we leave every summer, so about the last two weeks of May, the questions start rolling in:

  • “Hey, when are you guys leaving?
  • “How are the crops looking down there?”
  • Or, my personal favorite: “Why haven’t you left yet??”

The last question is always the hardest to answer. Dad will tell us we are leaving one day, that day will come and go, and we will still be in North Dakota. Between the weather reports and reports from our farmers, it is always a severely scrutinized topic at the dinner table.

Since last harvest, a whole lot has happened with Osowski Ag Service! My brother will be finishing up his junior year of high school in a few short days and then we will have a senior in the house. Say what? How can my “little” brother be a senior in high school? Unreal. He was on the starting lineup for the varsity hockey team this season, which made me one proud sister (and I suppose the parents were proud too). My dad has been given the opportunity to start farming a few acres of land so we have all been working together to get the fieldwork done this spring. Mom keeps busy all winter, between her painting/wallpapering business she runs with a friend and her rental properties in town. As for me, I was able to take my gypsy harvest soul to even farther away places! My adventures included the lands of both Australia and Thailand and let me tell you, these will just be the beginning. The travel bug is alive and well and preparing for the next journey as I type this.

We are anticipating leaving for harvest somewhere around the 25th of May (ever the tentative date of departure). Between fieldwork and general maintenance on the combines, we have our hands full this spring. However, it will all be worth it once we hit the road with Hobart, Oklahoma, in our sights!

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Throwback to the glorious days of the ’90s.

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Australia was even better with these two girls by my side. Taken at Whitehaven Beach!

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Sugar cane right before harvest. Can you see me hiding in there?

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The Sydney Opera House is just as stunning as you imagine.

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Brandon enjoying his winter hobby—playing hockey!

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Giving the goalie a little helmet tap for luck.

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Getting some elephant love in Thailand!

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James Bond Island, Thailand. This is where the James Bond movie “Man With The Golden Gun” was filmed back in 1974.

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I almost put a long boat in my pocket to take home with me.

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Harvest 2014, you were good. Let’s try to do even better this year!

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All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Stephanie at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, All Aboard, Crop Updates, High Plains Journal, New Holland, Photos, Sponsors, Stephanie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Z Crew: Let’s hit the road, Jim

headshot2Manley, NE: Ahh…Back in the saddle again! It feels great to have my blogging hat on once again. I’ve definitely missed it! The weather is warming up, the thunderheads are moving in and the wheat down in the southern states is starting to turn. Have the last eight months flown by for you too?

If you’re just now jumping on the All Aboard train, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Taylor Zeorian. I’m daughter number three (of four) for the Zeorian Harvesting crew. This will be my 20th summer on the wheat harvest run.

My family’s story begins all the way back in 1974 when my great-grandma asked my mom (Tracy) if she’d like to go along on the harvest run with her and Great-Grandpa Hancock. A year later she met my dad (Jim) for the first time, a hired man for her grandparent’s crew. They were married in 1982.

In the fall of ’82 Dad spent his entire life savings on a combine and the rest is history! My oldest sister, Jamie, was born in 1985 and Jenna in 1988. Up until 1990, Mom stayed home during the summer with Jamie and Jenna while Dad and Grandpa left to chase the crops. That summer, for the first time as a family, Mom, Dad, Jamie and Jenna packed the trailer, loaded the combine and headed south.

In the fall of 1994, the Zeorian family was blessed with a beautiful baby girl that would complete their lives and fill their hearts full of love. And then in the fall of 1997 my little sister, Callie, was born. And we’ve been on the road every summer since.

Jamie was married in April 2011 to Curt. They have now provided the two most adorable babies in the entire world to our family. My nephew, Eli, turned 2 in April and Nora was born in December 2014. Their family stays home during the summer in eastern Nebraska (where the rest of the family resides in the off season). Jenna had to make the tough decision two years ago to stay home during the summer months. However, she remains working in the ag world for CLAAS of North America.

Callie and I are the daughters who remain to support the small harvest crew composed of Mom and Dad. Our operation consists of one combine and two trucks. We don’t hire any outside help because Dad’s stubborn and knows we can do it on our own. Mom and Dad make up the combine and truck drivers. They switch jobs on occasion. As the support crew, our daily activities involve cooking, cleaning and fighting. On occasion I help Dad load the combine for moving days, pull the header or trailer house and make parts runs to nearby towns, if need be.

We look forward to heading south to western Oklahoma within the next couple weeks. According to a Miami, Oklahoma, news source, a year after the worst wheat crop in 50 years the 2015 crop looks to more than double the bushels produced in 2014. Having adequate moisture and temperatures remaining under 80 degrees play the most important roles in the crop’s bushel count. As long as the weather doesn’t drastically stir up 110 degree days, Oklahoma is looking to have a promising crop. In regard to the crop in the western (or the Panhandle) part of the state, it won’t come in as strong as it normally would but we hope to have a promising first stop on this leg of the All Aboard Harvest train.

 

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Funnily enough, the photo above was supposed to be used as our 2014 Christmas card photograph. But life happened and a Zeorian Christmas card was never sent out!
(Left to Right: Curt, Jamie [and Nora], Callie, Jim, Tracy and Eli, Taylor, [Taylor’s boyfriend] Colten, Jenna, [Jenna’s boyfriend] Mat.

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And then a few weeks later…ta-da! Nora was born on Dec. 5, 2014. Eli wasn’t sure what to think of his new competition. Now, Eli and Nora are best friends.

Easter 2015: The whole Zeorian Crew posed for a photo following Easter church services.
(Top Row/Left to Right): Colten, Taylor, Callie, Jenna, Mat (Bottom Row): Jim, Tracy, Nora, Jamie, Eli, Curt

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2014, 2015, All Aboard, Crop Updates, High Plains Journal, Jenna, New Holland, Photos, Sponsors, Syngenta, Z Crew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Laura Haffner: The new crew

LH Blog PhotoHigh Plains Harvesting is excited to be entering our fourth year of harvesting and our first year as a member of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest family!  While this may only be our fourth year in business, my husband, Ryan, has been around agriculture his entire life. He grew up on a farm and later got his feet wet harvesting for his uncle, who had a custom cutting crew. At age 14, Ryan left home for the first time with a crew and harvested in Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. During his school years he did farm work and worked summers for Ochs Harvesting. He continued to travel with them during the remaining summers of his high school and college years. To say harvest was his passion is an understatement. Although Ryan eventually left harvesting to seek year-round employment following college, he didn’t stray too far from his roots. He followed the harvest in both the United States and abroad with a harvest manufacturer and currently works for a planting and tillage manufacturer.  In 2012, we had the opportunity to purchase the crew from the Ochs—Dan, Deb, and Shane—the family friends Ryan had spent so many years harvesting for. Since we don’t share their last name, we opted to change it to High Plains Harvesting to celebrate the area of the Plains Ryan and I both come from.

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Ryan’s early harvesting career with Ochs Harvesting in Sheridan County, Kansas, circa 2001.  (Photo by Ryan Haffner)

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Trying to beat a storm near Sterling, Colorado, circa 2001.  (Photo by Ryan Haffner.)

In regard to my custom harvesting pedigree, well, there isn’t one. I had virtually no personal experience in the custom harvesting world until we purchased the business. I was surrounded by agriculture in the rural communities in which I grew up, learned tidbits of the technical side of raising crops from my agronomist father, spent summers in a tractor mowing ditches for the county, and was a member of 4-H. All of these things sparked an interest and passion for agriculture and as a result I attended Kansas State University where I received a degree in education and minor in agronomy. During and post college I had a several jobs in the agriculture industry before returning to teaching; however, not in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself owning and traveling with a harvest crew. Not that anything was wrong with custom harvesting, it just wasn’t on my life radar! Two years into our harvest adventure, I decided to take a sabbatical from my own career to raise our family full time and help with the crew and our farm/ranch as time allowed. This summer, for the first time, I’ll be on the road full time and will help with meals, payroll, paying the bills, and may even be called into the field on occasion to operate something! We joke that Ryan married me for my CDL and God “made” me marry him because He knew I needed to beef up my faith as it take a lot of that, along with blood, sweat, and tears to survive in this business. We’re thankful to be a part of such an important part of agriculture and take great pride in helping to feed the world.

#3  in Nebraska 2014High Plains Harvesting cutting wheat north of Sidney, Nebraska, in 2014.  (Photo by Laura Haffner.)

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Using the stripper header near Harper, Kansas, in 2013. (Photo by Ryan Haffner.)

We’re anxious to begin cutting. We run John Deere combines and tractors with all the supporting equipment. We also run Shelbourne stripper headers, draper headers, and eight- and twelve-row corn heads for the summer and fall harvest runs.

We know this venture wouldn’t be possible without so many people. Mark, our foreman, is our right hand man and has nearly 20 years of harvesting experience. He has been with us since the start (and was with the Ochs crew as well). Our crew members will all play very important roles taking care of day-to-day operations. We are thankful for our customers, as they are why we’re in this business, to help them bring in their harvest. We also appreciate our family and friends who put up with our somewhat unconventional lifestyle!

We look forward to sharing our harvest story with you!

Crew 5-15-15 #1 (1 of 1)High Plains Harvesting – May 15, 2015 (Photo by Laura Haffner.)

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Emma: Good morning, All Aboard!

emmaWelcome back avid All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers and all who are new to this way of life! I am so glad to return for the 2015 harvest season. I cannot wait to make you a part of my family, crossing the United States in a combine, harvesting grain that feeds the world. I am an #AGvocate for agriculture, and if you aren’t already, I hope to change your mind by the end of the summer season. Everyone needs a doctor, lawyer, and policeman once in their life and a preacher once a week, but every day, three times a day, we need a farmer! I am so happy I am able to contribute to such an important part of this world.

A little refresher course in case you are new to this wonderful world. My name is Emma Misener. I am 27 years old, working with my family to help feed the world. I started on the floor of the combine with my crayons and paper, started driving at 10 years old, then began to train hired men to do the same at 15. I grew up on the farm, I work on the farm, and I am never leaving the farm. Every summer Mom, brother Dan and I pack up the camper, load the combines and head for the wheat field. We travel from farm to farm, harvesting different wheat acres from Oklahoma to North Dakota. When the summer ends, we make our way back south harvesting corn and soybeans until November. My dad, Ron Misener, started Misener Family Harvesters back in the 70s when he returned home from serving our country in Vietnam. He met the farmer’s daughter, my mom, Kristy, and the rest became history. He too was an AGvocate for agriculture and was an avid member of the U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.. God called him home in December 2010, but we are determined to continue his legacy. Some people think we’re crazy, others fascinated, but to us, it’s just a way of life. We wouldn’t have it any other way. I truly believe if you have a ‘”job” you love, you won’t work a day in your life. Harvesting is not without its hardships, trials, tribulations, or the constant worry of making ends meet, but as a family we lean on God and each other to make it through no matter what life may throw at us. I believe if we follow God’s plan for our life and work as hard as we can, we can’t be anything but happy.17168409704_60da2ab078_o

I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say and hope to answer as many questions as possible this year on AAWH. Thank you for following Misener Family Harvesters and other harvest bloggers. I’ll see you down the dusty trail!

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.

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Megan: Another Season in the Books

Although AAWH is wrapping up for another year, the harvest season for the Roland’s is far from over. The crew is currently stuck in North Dakota trying to finish up our final wheat stop. Intermittent rain showers have made this an uphill battle and it looks like the end is still a long ways off. Brandon, Jose, and Eric will leave tomorrow to return to Laramie, Wyo. On Sept. 3rd they will start their senior year of college at the University of Wyoming. All three are majoring in different areas of agriculture, making harvest an important cornerstone for their future. Mom, Dad, and Jake will knock out the rest of our work in North Dakota, then return home to begin planting winter wheat. Fall crops, including sunflowers, millet, and corn, will be ready shortly thereafter. Fall harvest around home can often drag on until November or December, and by then Mom and Dad will be ready for a nice, long break!

This weekend Ashley, Kurt, and I were able to reunite with the family in North Dakota. We had a successful day of cutting with the 3 of us kids operating the 3 combines. Even though Ashley and I are no longer on the road full-time, we are able to hop into the combines, tractors, or trucks and pick up where we left off. Having the opportunity to work side by side with my parents, brother, and sister is an extremely rewarding experience. The radio chatter made the day fly by and it felt like old times again.

An enormous thank you to High Plains Journal and New Holland for their wonderful sponsorship of AAWH 2014! In addition, we would like to offer a special thank you to New Holland’s Harvest Support. They are an a valuable asset to us as custom harvesters and New Holland as a corporation. As always, a heartfelt thank you is also deserved by our faithful customers who keep Roland Harvesting going year after year! And not to get all sappy, but lastly I want to recognize my parents – Alan and Loretta – who have built Roland Harvesting into the successful business that it is today. Our family has embraced all the challenges, triumphs, and hardships that have come our way over the years. Without all their hard work Roland Harvesting wouldn’t have the legacy and pride it has today.

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Roland Harvesting represents New Holland at its finest.

Cutting at dusk
After a long day in the field there is nothing more peaceful than a gorgeous view like this. 

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2014, All Aboard, High Plains Journal, Megan, New Holland | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments