View From the Cab

A Harvest of Thanks

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Farmers Genny Haun, of Kenton, Ohio, and Kyle Krier, of Claflin, Kansas, are reporting on crop conditions and agricultural topics throughout the 2018 growing season as part of DTN's View From the Cab series. (DTN photos by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- The goal of DTN's View From the Cab series is to follow several farmers through the growing season. But that process invariably shows how farming and living are entwined.

This week we found Genny Haun, of Kenton, Ohio, still struggling to gather the 2018 bounty as weather continued to keep harvesting equipment sidelined. And Kyle Krier, of Claflin, Kansas, can't seem to stop the rain. Krier opined that his fortune could have been made selling snap straps.

Still, both young farmers have had a constant thread of thanks running through their weekly reports. Mud, and being stuck in it, seem small when contrasted to wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters.

"We can only control so much in life," said Krier. "But how we view situations is within our control. Perspective seems to be in bountiful supply these days."

In the spirit of the season, this week Haun and Krier report from their part of the farming world on what they are thankful for:

KYLE KRIER -- CLAFLIN, KANSAS

Family and friends climb to the top of Krier's "thankful" list. The long, drawn-out harvest overlapped the birth of a son this fall. So, the extra arms and help extended during this blessed -- but harried -- time were touching, Krier said. Add a healthy child and mother and any small amount of sustained sleep to his list of blessings.

Krier said he's also thankful for his own good mental and physical health. Yes, this year he has been nursing a knee injury served up during a basketball game. However, even that grievance provides some perspective when he sees others struggling with bigger challenges.

Rainfall has been more than abundant in central Kansas this year. While some of the deluges have complicated nearly every aspect of farming, Krier can't but be astounded and thankful for the yields he saw in soybeans, wheat and milo this year. And nearly every acre of hay gave up five cuttings.

"I'll likely be baling the last little bit of hay we have down on Thanksgiving Day," he noted. "I've already alerted my wife and am grateful that she goes out of her way to understand, even if she doesn't always like it, that we are sometimes forced to make hay while the sun is shining. The forecast for rain makes Thursday look like our only possible day."

Technology -- both present and future -- also makes his list. Things like accurate weather forecasts, being able to instantly access information and dialing in inputs with precision continue to both challenge and change the agricultural landscape, he said.

"When I look at all these startup firms in agriculture, I think we may see solutions coming that we can barely imagine today and they may not be from our traditional suppliers," Krier said.

GENNY HAUN -- KENTON, OHIO

Sloppy conditions and foggy, overcast skies are not what Haun would choose to finish out 2018. Her family's operation, Layman Farms, is still trying to bring in the harvest.

Still, she finds this season a good time to remember that she and her family have "the opportunity, the freedom and the ability to do what we do on a daily basis."

"Agriculture isn't just a career or a way of life for most people I know, it is also a passion," said Haun. "We may not love every minute of every day, but few can say they get to do what they love each and every day."

While harvest weather has been less than desirable, Haun said she is thankful for a break in weather patterns from previous years that resulted in an overall good growing season.

"We keep looking forward. We have harvested corn in January before, and so far, we aren't to that point yet," she said.

She also remains thankful for "our people."

She explained, "The employees that are more like family, the friends and neighbors that check in on each other, and of course, the fact that we are able to successfully operate as a family business."

Haun and her husband, Matt, are exploring some of their own agricultural enterprises, as well as working within the family farm structure. "We are grateful for the support Mom and Dad give us in allowing us to be a part of this growing operation.

"We are thankful for overall healthy, growing kids that we hope may someday want to be a part of this. We are thankful for good health reports, continuous healing when sickness or pain does strike, and the love and support our extended community family gives each other when those hard times arise," she said.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(ES/AG)

Pam Smith