Roland Harvesting is owned and operated by my parents, Alan and Loretta Roland. My dad has been harvesting since 1978, making this his 34th year of harvest. We run a family-based operation that my older sister, Ashley (age 25), me (22), and Brandon (19), were raised in and continue to help out with. We grew up on a farm near Hemingford, Neb., where our parents still reside, farm, and operate Roland Harvesting.
This year our crew consists of my dad, Brandon, James (my cousin), me, and two hired helpers, Greg and Danny. As in previous years Dad and Brandon will mostly be running the combines. James and I will be “drifters” switching between the combines, grain cart and trucks as need be. Greg and Danny will primarily be truck drivers. However, since we have a smaller business everyone is cross-trained and capable of performing the many different duties of harvest. As we all know, harvest always has unexpected surprises so having our entire crew able to “float” around to wherever need be gives us an advantage.
It has been a hectic week trying to gather our crew. James, Brandon, and I just finished up our college finals at the University of Wyoming last week. Brandon survived his first year of college is looking forwarding to returning next year to pursue his degree in Agriculture Communications. James and I will both be seniors this fall, which unfortunately means this is our last “real summer.” I have truly mixed feelings about the idea of that but I’m sure you will hear much more about that topic later this summer.
Once again, we will be heading south to Texas and gradually work our way north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and back to Hemingford as we follow the wheat harvest. In August, we will travel to Wyoming and Idaho to harvest malting barley for Coors and Anheuser Busch. The season will finish in the late fall with corn, bean, and sunflower harvest in the Panhandle of Nebraska.
Altus, Okla., is usually our first stop and we typically start harvest there around May 25. Our customers around the Altus area informed us the first wheat field was cut on May 5.
Between the usual chaos of preparing for harvest and planting summer crops, this unusual aspect of early harvest added some unexpected stress for our family this year. However, when it comes to harvest we are used to adjusting plans and being flexible.
From left to right: Danny, James, Dad, Brandon and me.