Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Harvest 2019

It is the start of December and most have switched over to Christmas mode, which is evident in the number of Christmas trees up and all the various twinkling house decorations. For most farmers in our neighborhood however there has been no switching out of harvest season. The combines are still rolling, daily dinners are still being made, and a full farmer is a happy farmer even if it is just a snack. The toolboxes have been restocked and stuffed to accommodate chains. This year a chain is the farmers new best friend. The fields are a little muddier than usual. More times than most care to admit, a chain is needed to help a spinning load of grain get to solid ground on the way to the gate. There are often big ruts in the field once it has been harvested and muddy tracks on the road showing which direction the equipment headed when it left the field.

Harvest 2019 is one we won't soon forget. The weather has made it a challenge all year long. Not only that but I think it is time to refill our toolboxes with those most important tools to get us through the rest of this extra long, stressful harvest season. I mentioned these earlier this fall but they are worth repeating. Patience. On some harvest days our patience can run pretty thin. Especially if that day consists of getting the chain out numerous times before noon because someone is stuck in the field again. Passion. This fall weather has made us question our passion for farming but it only takes a minute to realize there is nowhere else we’d rather be. Faith. Our faith reminds us that we will get through this, the end is in sight. 2019 is one to remember and one that truly tested our patience, passion, and faith. We might need to restock those inside of our toolbox for the years to come because we used so much of each of those tools this year.

My older brothers have been home for the past 10 days on their fall break from college. Brad has spent quite a few of those days in the combine. Todd has been a great help in the semi hauling grain. They’ve both been “broke to lead” with a chain. They have tested dad’s patience this fall more than a couple of teenage girls that just started dating. The teaching moments have been plenty and we have all learned a lot! Let’s hope that the next few weeks the weather will be in our favor, the chain stays in the toolbox, and harvest gets rolling along. I am certain that for farmers this year, seeing an end to harvest 2019 will shine brighter than any of the neighborhood Christmas lights! 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Sunday, November 24, 2019


While the weather outside might remind some of us of Christmas because of all the snow, it is actually only November and November is known for Thanksgiving. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of food. A day full of feasting over delicious food. My mouth begins to water just thinking about it. Even though the weather outside is holding farmers back once again and the rush to get harvest done is still going, there is no denying that Thanksgiving is coming.

This year's harvest is the first one that I have officially been 16 and when I am not in school I am on lunch duty. Lunch delivery is my specialty. Grandma is famous for making lunches, I simply deliver them to the field. One thing I have noticed about lunch duty is that even though farmers might be in a hurry to get crops out, farmers are in just as big of a hurry to find their lunch. As soon as the vehicle with lunch pulls into the field, all the tractors, combines, and semis rush to the vehicle to get their meal. Most would think that since it is late in the year, farmers would not be worried about lunch so much. However, whenever I pull in the gate with lunch I often question which wagon is more important. The lunch wagon or the grain wagon? The most important thing about harvest season is to keep the stressed farmers happy. When you have a hungry farmer, you will have a cranky farmer. I can assure you from my personal experience that nobody wants that! We are very thankful for the Thanksgiving feasts we have at the end of November and the feasts we receive all harvest long, made by grandma and delivered out to the field.

All in all, even with the rush to get crops out this year there will always be time for lunch. A full farmer is a happy farmer. I want to thank all the wonderful people behind the scenes that help keep these farmers going all fall as you are the real heroes. I hope everyone continues to have a safe and successful fall and a yummy Thanksgiving meal. 

~Kesley Holdgrafer

National Convention

Two weeks ago I was given an amazing opportunity through the Northeast FFA chapter to attend the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis. For those who do not know, FFA is an extracurricular organization for students interested in agriculture and leadership. The official name of the group is the National FFA Organization. Some might know it just as FFA, which used to stand for Future Farmers of America. This was changed in 1988 because the FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners, and more. Not only are we future farmers, we are future biologist, future chemist, future veterinarians, and future entrepreneurs.

The National FFA Convention and Expo is a four-day event held in Indianapolis every October. This is a premier gathering during which all FFA competitive events and programs are recognized nationally. This year almost 70,000 people attended the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo. While there, FFA members could participate in leadership workshops, visit the career show, and listen to several amazing public speakers. From a student standpoint, I believe that National Convention is something all FFA members should attend. I had the chance to meet people from almost every state. I got to meet back up with old friends I meet at other conferences including the Washington Leadership Conference I attended this past summer. I also had the chance to talk with industry leaders and universities across the country about future careers and educational opportunities. I even ran into one of the representatives from the University of Tennessee that we worked with this past summer while at the ARSBC Conference.

All in all, FFA is an amazing organization that I am proud to be a part of. It is not everyday you go out to make hundreds of new lifelong friends from all over the United States!

~Kesley Holdgrafer


It’s officially November. Which means the leaves have changed, the Halloween costumes are put away, the temperatures have dropped, and harvest 2019 is still a work in progress. Every farmer is busy in the field with hopes of at least getting the crops out by Christmas. This tends to lead to all hands on deck and means everyone has a specific role to play in order for things to sail smoothly. Whether you are the one in the field or at home on the farm you have a certain role to play.

This past week my younger brother Luke and I were at home while everyone else was in the field. We got informed that there were three loads of feeder cattle on their way to our house and we were in charge. In other words, as my older brothers like to call it, “We were the monkeys in charge of the bananas.” We had to sort the cattle into the right yards along with counting them as they came off the trailer. To some, this might sound like a simple task as counting is a skill learned in preschool. However, this basic skill escalates quickly into an Olympic sport because some groups of calves come off the trailer at rocket speed. Even though it was a little harder than anticipated it was not that bad and we got along just fine.

All in all, everyone has an important job come harvest season. Whether you are the one in the combine or even around the farm helping out, the people in the background are what keeps everything going smoothly. I hope you all have a good November and if you happen to get the monkey, keep an accurate count of the bananas!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer