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Brian takes a cow selfie! Calving season occupies much of March through May on the farm in Iowa. 

Greenfield, Iowa—For some of you this is our first time meeting and for others we are reconnecting again. Either way, it’s exciting we are all here to share the 2019 wheat harvest together! I am Brian G. Jones of Greenfield, Iowa, and I am a fourth generation farmer and a second generation wheat harvester. I was born and raised on a family farm about 50 miles southwest of Des Moines in the rolling hills of Iowa.

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All the equipment is loaded as we prepared to travel to our next stop. 

In 1983, my father, Glen Jones, and grandpa, George Rahn, began a 35-plus year legacy of wheat harvesting across the Midwest for our family. During the tough financial times for farmers in the 1980s they were looking for additional income to keep financially viable during the farm crisis. Combines were big investments. They were inspired by George’s brother, who ran a custom harvesting crew, to load up their own equipment and head to Oklahoma. As they say, the rest is history. Today we are preparing for our 37th wheat harvest season.

Our crew is completely a family operation. Glen Jones and his wife Vernelle farm in southwest Iowa with their son, Brian, their daughter, Brenda, and her husband, Cameron Hamer. Brenda and Cameron have four young boys, and all nine of us spend the summer harvesting together. My grandfather, George, recently retired from the wheat run after 27 years. His son, David, now operates the Rahn family farm near Butterfield, Minnesota. David joins us with his equipment each summer, continuing the Jones-Rahn harvesting legacy.

Back in Iowa, the Jones and Hamer families work together raising corn, soybeans, and hay, as well as running a cow-calf herd. We also do some custom farming and harvesting locally. With spring planting finished and the cows turned out to pasture, we load up equipment typically in early June and head to our first stop in central Oklahoma, followed by two stops in southwest Kansas, western Nebraska, central South Dakota and southern North Dakota.

Last year’s harvest proved to be challenging for farmers and harvesters alike, with uncooperative weather causing heartache in nearly every state. I’m happy to report this year is looking much more promising. The anticipation of watching the sun set on amber waves of grain makes us eager to wrap up our hectic preparations at home and head down the family’s traditional wheat harvest trail. Three months on the road. Five states. Thousands of acres.

I’m excited to share this year’s adventures with updates through blog posts and videos from the combine cab and field. You’ll get a front-row seat, in real time, to the unique lifestyle of a customer harvester and the opportunity to interact with myself and the other correspondents. Some adventures are best shared, and we all share a unique connection to the land. After all, that is why we are here—for the love of the harvest. Are you ready? The 2019 All Aboard Wheat Harvest experience is about to begin.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Brian can be reached at brian@allaboardharvest.com.

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