Contributed by: Michelle Dvoracek
This past fall during harvest season, I had the opportunity to ride in not just one, but three different combines. Since I started college, I haven’t made it back every year to do this, but thanks to a class project I’m working on, combine rides were a bit more of a priority. Despite the rush of trying to get as much done as quickly as possible and the loud noise from the roaring machine, the whole experience seems to relax me for some reason. It makes for some good thinking time. Here are some of the things I thought about:
- Some people do not understand how important combine rides are. The farmer is not doing this for fun. He or she is doing this because it is necessary to sustain the world.
- Combines are huge, intricate machines. They can do some amazing things, but if one little thing goes wrong, your whole day could be ruined.
- If you want to go watch wildlife, go ride in a combine. Several animals find shelter in the field when there is a crop growing on it, and as the stocks come down, the critters come out. My list that I saw this year include: deer, raccoons, several species of birds, too many rabbits to count, and even a beautiful red fox.
- Farmers are amazing people. They work day after day year-round to prepare for these few weeks. Then they sit in the combine for hours and manage to keep their sanity, and when they’re done, they start preparing for next year.
- Plants are also pretty amazing. They braved the elements all summer long and are now being used to sustain the world.
- No matter what aspect of the agricultural industry we are a part of, we need farmers. Pork producers need crops to feed to the pigs and we, as consumers, also need food and fuels like ethanol. Producers of all kinds need to work together.
The busy harvest season can be very stressful, but there is also something relaxing about it. It indicates that another year is coming to a close and that the holidays are just around the corner. Perhaps the next time you drive past a combine picking away in the field, you will think about things like this too. You don’t even have to be riding in the cab.