"You must get bored sitting in the combine all day."
I hear that often during harvest. A typical farmer may spend several hundred hours in the combine each year.
Focusing on the combining task itself is a full time job. Other than that, I also spend time on the phone with grain buyers and truckers to coordinate the day. Harvest is a good time to strategize for next year, but also to have important conversations:
1. The sales call
Harvest is a popular time for seed sales calls. I still do not understand how we are urged to buy seed before we even start the combine in the current year, but that is a story for another day. Seed is a big expense per acre, and it is important to learn about the varieties that will perform best on our farm.
2. The landowner
Harvest is a great time to catch up with landowners and keep them connected to the land. My family has farmed for Mary Frances and Suzanne's families for more than 40 years. They ride with me during harvest and we talk yields, prices, fertilizer, and our plan for the future. I also learn more about the history of their land and how the previous generation farmed. I keep non local landowners updated through texts, pictures, and phone calls.
I have a newer landowner who rode with me all afternoon during soybean harvest. I consider Jim my quasi business consultant and friend. We talked world markets, land prices in Paraguay, and alternative crops. He always makes me think about the way I approach the business of farming.
Dad did the usual first harvest pass of the year with me. My sister rode a few rounds. I cannot forget about my nephews, Henry and Max. Henry is a bright and tech-savvy six-year-old. He likes the information provided on the monitors. Max is a loveable but mischievous three-year-old. Henry's first grade career plans include being an engineer like his dad and a farmer like his grandpa. I tell the boys to pay attention to the farm work so they can help me in the future. Am I starting too early? I don't think so.
What conversations do you have in the combine cab?
The opinions of Maria Cox are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.