Farmers are real rock stars this time of year, working long hours in the fields to harvest crops. For me, autumn brings feelings of nostalgia about past harvest seasons. I’m reminded that the wonderful abundance that surrounds me is the result of strenuous fieldwork done through the summer months. I remember those hot, sweaty days when my dad had us pick up rocks from the fields so we could avoid any damage they might cause our combine during harvest. My sister and I used to spend days’ riding the “rock-picker,” which was hitched to the back of the tractor. We jumped off each time we found a rock and hurled it back into the picker’s bucket. Soil stuck to our sweaty faces as we scoped the landscape for more. It’s the kind of work you don’t hear much about. But it’s this kind of difficult task that brings another harvest we can all be thankful for.
We utilize everything on our farm, reducing waste and increasing profits where we can. For example, leftover corn stalks are neatly rolled into round bales for use as bedding for our pigs during the winter months. The pigs just love it because there is always a bit of corn left on the stalk and its fun for them to root around in.
With winter coming early for so many of us, this looks to be a harvest season we won’t soon be forgetting. Snow arrived here in early November; up until now the weather had been pretty cooperative. About 8% of the crops were still standing in the fields when the snow hit. That’s actually pretty good, considering we had a slow growing season to start. Good conditions through harvest season improved our yield, though, and allowed us to maximize our time in the field.
Throughout the years there have been ups and downs, good times and bad times, but there is nothing like the closeness of living and working together with your family on the farm. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to grow up and I am grateful to have a daughter who loves the farm life as well. Each of us within the Niman Ranch network has a unique story but we all share a common thread: that we are grateful for the increase in awareness about and support for the traditional and humane farming methods we still employ on our farms today! Thank you for your support. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!