Looking back at harvest, does a farmer need extra help to get the crop out?

December 14, 2022

Answer: A farmer’s support system includes family, employees, and agribusiness people who assist with all aspects of the grain harvest.

As I look back upon this crop year, I cannot help but reflect upon the things that made it successful. There are many things that are out of a farmer’s control – weather, commodity markets, and world politics have a large role to play in the success of farming. One factor that can be overlooked in the larger scheme of things is acknowledging the people around us that make us successful.

Employees – I have been fortunate throughout the years to have many competent, dedicated people help our farm strive for its full potential. This year we had two full-time employees and one part-time employee who work throughout the year to make day-to-day operations run smoothly and efficiently. Competent, dependable employees are greatly valued and are not easily replaced.

Family – Another major contributor to a successful season on the farm is family. My dad, who is technically retired, still works with the operation closely and is available whenever called on to operate equipment and facilitate logistics. My wife plays a support role between working full-time, moving the kids around, and her master’s classes, to still bring dinner to the field when we run long hours. My two sons both run equipment when they are available from school or sports. My mom has brought us food and moved us between fields. My uncle, brother, cousin, and family friends have all ran equipment and helped this year and in past seasons.

Agribusinesses – Beyond our operation there is a litany of people and businesses that work to support our operation. Parts and service men from the equipment dealerships work long hours to repair equipment that is down and get us the parts we need to keep going. Our grain bin and dryer dealers make service calls and work to make sure we can keep taking grain in or finish up projects before the season starts. The local grain elevators stay open late on nights and weekends in order for us to have a place to take our crops.

Ag service providers spend their days and nights spreading lime and fertilizer on our fields to prepare us for next year. Tire providers come to our field on the crappiest of days to fix a tire so that we can finish our work. There are crop scouts pulling soil samples, marketing advisors helping make decisions, bankers providing funding, seed salesmen harvesting plots for data, equipment salesmen filling in-season needs, all working for us.

We depend on an intricate web of people and businesses to harvest food for the world. Without this support network there is no way that we, as farmers, could do our jobs.

I am proud to talk about the people that make my job possible and look forward to another season next year. I am thankful and feel blessed to be associated with such fine people and the sacrifices that all of their families make in order for them to be available to support us. I know that this story is not unique to our farm family but is shared almost universally in agriculture.

MIKE SCHWEITZER – SIXTH GENERATION GRAIN FARMER, ESMOND

The Schweitzers – Amy, Mike, Eli, and Warren farm in rural Esmond. They grow corn, soybeans, sweet corn, and peas and raise 4-H animals.

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