Vogts gets in on harvest


I started the month becoming a farmer by helping roommate Jerod Horchem plant milo. Now, I have ended the month continue my journey into the realm of farming by helping Jerod and his father, Gary, and grandfather, Ron, harvest their wheat crop north of Ransom, Kansas.

They have 900 acres of the crop to harvest, and they are nearing the end. I did my part by basically being in the way.

First, I rode with Jerod in the semi to dump a load of wheat. Then I sat in the field with him and watched Gary and Ron race each other around the field as they both operated combines.

It was like a well-choreographed dance. They never got in the way, though Ron’s combine was bigger and faster than the one Gary was driving. It was especially impressive to watch Ron unload his combine into a grain cart pulled by a tractor driven by a neighbor. They did so without stopping.

Then Ron called Jerod and told him he wanted me to ride with him in the combine, so I ran out into the field and hopped on. The combine had two seats, so I had a great, comfy view of the operation.

As we made our laps around the field, Ron and I discussed farming and how the crop was doing. He said it was doing pretty well, but he said he wished the wheat prices were higher. He also said Jerod was having the best crop out off all of them. See, they each have their own fields, but they all help each other work all of it. It truly is a family operation.

I was fascinated with Ron’s stories of how he had been farming since he was 8 years old and how much change in farming he had seen.

I was also quite taken by how easily yet precisely he navigated the field. He left no bit of wheat unharvested as he deftly made wide swaths.

Ron also explained to me he had planted a mixed wheat — a red and white variety. He said he did this to hedge his bets on the harvest because some years the white crops did well, and some years the red crop did well. I could see the red coloring in the wheat as he dumped it into the grain cart.

I had a blast being a part of the harvest crew, even if my role was minuscule at best. Jerod’s mom, Luann, even fed me a sandwich for helping as little as I did.

My allergies didn’t act up, and I found myself dreaming of owning my own plot of land and reaping a crop of my own. I know very little about farming, but Ron said in all the years he has been farming, it has always been fun. Jerod is always talking about how much he enjoys it as well. If farming brings that kind of joy, why wouldn’t I want a slice of that delicious pie myself?

Sadly, my entry into farming will have to wait, though. I have a lot to learn and lots of college loans to pay off before I can afford starting up my own operation, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

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