Custom Harvesters: A Special Breed

Gleaner S77

Gleaner S77 combining wheat near Milesville, SD

We all have our place in harvest, from the South African man here in the United States who supports his family back home, to the consumer who might not always think of the hard work put in by so many people to make the toast they eat every morning. To make the custom harvest run happen, many people must play their role and every now and then, we take the time to show our appreciation.

Nelson Farms (my dad’s crew) just finished up harvest in Pierre, SD on Friday, August 5. It’s been a longstanding tradition with my family to have an appreciation supper for our farmers and crew at Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Pierre. This year, we were glad to have the AGCO Parts Tech Van crew join us at Cattleman’s. The crew from the tech van does a lot for the harvesters and it isn’t often they see how much they are appreciated. Hopefully, one of the best steaks in the country will be a reminder that we depend on and appreciate the work they do for us.

Nelson Farms Appreciation Supper

Fifteen people gathered at Cattleman's Steakhouse as a thank you for playing their role in harvest.

I look forward to the time at Cattleman’s every year, not only for the amazing steak, but also to see everyone relax and enjoy the company. The stop in Pierre lasts two to three weeks and consists of the most wheat acres our combines will harvest in one place throughout the year. The crew runs hard, and by the time the last acre is harvested, everyone is ready to be done.

While my time on harvest isn’t over yet, I couldn’t help but feel the relief of harvest in Pierre being completed. In years past, the end of Pierre’s harvest marked the end of my time with the crew. Every person differs on the feelings they have when harvest is over, but for me, it’s relief mixed with an unquenchable hunger, one that keeps me coming back year after year. That hunger reminds me that I’m a harvester, whether I’m running the tractor and grain cart or tagging along with the tech van crew on service calls. There is a passion that goes along with harvest. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than looking over a field of golden wheat stubble and knowing that you’ve done your part in feeding the world.

We all play our roles, but it takes a special breed to gamble on the harvest run. Custom harvesters drive thousands of miles, hauling machines that cost more than many houses, just to harvest a crop that may or may not be there when they arrive. Harvesters battle weather, breakdowns, fuel costs, lost family time, uncomfortable camper beds, and lots of fast food lunches, but they keep doing it year after year. And that’s something we should all be thankful for.

How do you show your appreciation to your customers, employees and service technicians?

The AGCO Parts Tech Van crew in Billings, MT shows off their Gleaner gear from Ag World Equipment.

Speaking of appreciation, the AGCO Parts Tech Van crew would like to thank James Cook from Ag World Equipment in Kinistino, Saskatchewan, Canada for our awesome Gleaner Super Series t-shirts. I delivered them to the tech van crew in Billings, MT on Saturday, and they were very excited to show them off.

The tech van located in Pierre moved to Bismarck, ND on Monday, August 8 and will be located at the Butler Machinery Company throughout the rest of wheat harvest.

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