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Costly Mistakes Made by Amateur Farm Hands

Updated on March 20, 2015
"Seed Gold," what Kansas wheat farmers love to grow for wheat is very important to our lives
"Seed Gold," what Kansas wheat farmers love to grow for wheat is very important to our lives

What harm can a farm hand do?

While wheat is probably the most-lucrative crop in our country, there can be consequences of growing and harvesting wheat. Some consequences are serious.

These mishaps, although sad, are not of a master plan by a competing wheat farmer down the road to damage your crop so much that you will go bankrupt, they are of one thing: Your judgment. That same judgment that has served you since you took over the huge wheat farm from your dad who is now living an easy life on one of his houseboats docked in San Diego. Yes, "that" judgment. And now it has let you down.

Birds-eye view of a farmer harvesting wheat
Birds-eye view of a farmer harvesting wheat
Collecting the wheat crop is a yearly-event
Collecting the wheat crop is a yearly-event
Inspecting the wheat crop
Inspecting the wheat crop
Harvesting wheat from the farmer's viewpoint
Harvesting wheat from the farmer's viewpoint

"Jack," please come back

Although I speak in a dark scenario, it might happen this fall when you start your annual wheat harvest that last yeat took you almost two weeks--working 18-hour days, taking off only on Sunday, to get it on the trucks and headed to market. And if it had not been for "Jack," the neighborhood guy who specializes in odd jobs and helping people like you, last year's wheat crop would have been lost.

But, (and the domino might be shaking back and forth ready to fall), this year, "Jack," has left your community for a long overdue vacation he has earned by doing purely hard manual work. Yes, that "Jack" is a very rare young man of 22. Most of his friends are interns at hospitals or have passed their bar exams on their way to a life of wealth and pleasure. But "Jack," was always a worker. And will always be worker. In the span of nine years, "Jack" saved enough to afford this posh vacation in Wichita with all of the trimmings and you cannot even tell from the balance that he has spent one red cent.

"Jack": A fine American

What a worker and thrifty young man people say of "Jack." Lord how you pray that he will come back from his two-week vacation after your wheat harvest is completed for you need him badly.

But that is the future. And now is now. You are "up against it," for you are now going to be wearing a new saddle besides the saddle of getting your massive wheat farm to market. You have to hire a replacement for good ol' "Jack," for you know all about the

Costly Mistakes Made by Amateur Farm Hands

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Wheat production in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Wheat is produced in almost every state in the United States, and is the principal cereal grain grown in the country.[1] The type and quantity vary between regions. The United States is ranked third in production volume of wheat, with almost 58 million tons produced in the 2012-2013 growing season, behind only China and India (the combined production of all European Union nations is larger than China)[2] The United States ranks first in crop export volume; almost 50% of total wheat produced is exported.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture defines eight official classes of wheat: durum wheat, hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, soft red winter wheat, hard white wheat, soft white wheat, unclassed wheat, and mixed wheat.[3] Winter wheat accounts for 70 to 80 percent of total production in the U.S., with the largest amounts produced in Kansas (10.8 million tons) and North Dakota (9.8 million tons). The U.S. hard red spring wheat crop is exported to over 70 countries each year to the extent of 55%. Of the total wheat produced in the country, 50% is exported, valued at US$9 billion.[4]

Wheat-farming family
Wheat-farming family
Tom "Eb" Lester, starred on CBS' "Green Acres." Do not hire a hired hand like this
Tom "Eb" Lester, starred on CBS' "Green Acres." Do not hire a hired hand like this
Wheat farming in the old days
Wheat farming in the old days
Two huge trucks deliver an upgraded John Deere wheat combine
Two huge trucks deliver an upgraded John Deere wheat combine
Wheat: A very valuable commodity
Wheat: A very valuable commodity
What farming: a hands-on occupation
What farming: a hands-on occupation
It takes a lot of equipment to grow wheat
It takes a lot of equipment to grow wheat
Two generations of wheat farmers
Two generations of wheat farmers
Older model wheat combine
Older model wheat combine
Threshing chafe from the wheat
Threshing chafe from the wheat
"Eb" confused at the term, "work"
"Eb" confused at the term, "work"

Foolish mistake such as . . .

  • Forgetting to get out of the way of an oncoming wheat combine that when it hits you, well, there is nothing left.
  • Trying to impress your wheat farmer boss by climbing into the cab of one of these "monster" wheat combines and after an hour of erratic driving, you have single handedly destroyed over five acres of valuable wheat.
  • Putting the wrong fuel into the wheat combines and none of them will start. Thanks to this unknowing farm hand, four multi-million-dollar farming machines are sitting idle until each get a new engine installed. Oh, the cost of those engines will run your wheat farmer boss in the area of 12 million dollars and this doesn't include shipping, taxes, and labor.
  • Over-sleeping and having your butt chewed to a frazzle because an older farm hand, your wheat farmer boss' dad, had to do his job and yours too. But the over-sleeping was not on purpose. This was a bad habit you picked up in the 10th grade in high school. Sad that you never graduated.
  • While on your lunch break, you take a special eye to your wheat farmer boss' pretty 18-year-old single daughter. (Not a pun. Okay?) She has blond hair, tanned legs and a smile that would stop a freight train. You and her get friendly fast. In a few days, you are dating her. The baby, yours, is due next May. Your wheat farmer boss who will be called "gramps," is not happy. At all. He is already putting money aside for your one-way bus ticket.
  • One day, before all of the wheat farmer's crew arrives, you are already in the fields. You got up extra-early to try to make-up all of your stupid mistakes you have made and the wheat farmer who is also an early-riser, sees you working in one of the fields and mounts his ATV and rides up to talk to you. "Dub,' what are you doing out this early?" he asks. "Oh, sir. I thought I would rid the wheat fields of these nasty weeds. You know how they can just take over a field,"you reply. "Dub,' what weeds?" your wheat farmer boss asks. "These,sir. I have already cleared about an acre all by myself," you say while pointing at your work. "Idiot! Those are wheat stalks that we are going to harvest today." he snaps. "Ohh, I knew that weeds were either green or yellow. Haw, haw." you laugh and walk back to your place in the barn where you are staying until the end of the harvest. You look back to see a strange sight: Your wheat farmer boss looking straight into Heaven saying some things that you cannot hear.
  • One morning your wheat farmer boss orders you to round-up the calves that were just born for branding time. He says he will check on you in an hour or two. The job is child's play for any child can do it. All you were to do is get inside the fenced area and bring the calves into a group and pet them and even feed them so they will not run off. So far. So good. But, uh, oh! Nature calls and you have to head to the barn to let your kidneys act. When you return, no calves in sight. Over 75 calves gone! Uh, oh! You notice the gate open. You never thought of locking the gate when you entered the fenced area. Boy, will your wheat farmer boss be excited.
  • A week passes and somehow by the grace of God, you are not fired. But on the upcoming Monday, you are missing. The ranch foreman, "Joe," a retired Marine, finds you in the bathroom of the bunkhouse, which is forbidden for you to go, washing your hands with gasoline over and over. After laughing at you, "Joe" asks, "What are ya' doing, screw-up?" "Washing my hands, sir?" you answer. "Why? It's not lunch time!" he replies. "I know. I heard one of the farm hands over that way call me a "green hand" and I remember painting the tool shed yesterday and thought that some of the paint might still be on my hands." "Joe," usually a talkative gent, just stares at you for half an hour silent as a rock.
  • In the wheat fields the next week, your wheat farmer boss tells you that he needs you to simply stand in the truck bed and keep the wheat coming in from the combine from spilling over onto the ground. Probably THE most-simple of all the wheat harvesting jobs. Instead you climb into the truck bed and after a half-hour, you are swiftly covered up with wheat so fast and deep that no one can hear you calling for help for the noise made by the combines.
  • But your wheat farmer boss is not a hasty man. Although he is planning to fire you soon for all of your blunders, he decides to give you some slack. He tells you to work with "Slim," a retired professional bull rider, who breaks the horses the other hands have captured on the wheat farmer's massive amount of acreage. You naturally misunderstand the term "break," and "Slim," takes a lunch break leaving you with five gorgeous horses to "break" before he returns. In an hour "Slim" returns only to see you sitting on the five injured horses smiling like you have really done something big. "What did you do?" "Slim" growls. "I broke these horse's backs like I was told. It was tough, but I got a huge piece of lumber out of the barn and by cracky, that did the job." Another $40,000 up in smoke.
  • The "straw or wheat that broke the camel's back" was . . . one day around noon, your presence in the wheat field angers your wheat farmer boss and he sends you to the "Main House," as he calls it. A three-story, specially- designed mansion he had built for him and his gorgeous wife he met in France one year whle he was on vacation there. You knock on the door. "Jenny," his gorgeous wife answers and immediately likes you. She talks about those bruises all over your head and face. You laugh and say it was "work-related." Turns out, your wheat farmer boss has neglected her for months and she is enjoying some young male attention. Time goes on. You are sent back to the "Main House" a few more times in the weeks to come.
  • "Jenny" runs off from your wheat farmer boss taking you with her with everything in every bank account her soon-to- be "ex" has.

Riding down the long Kansas road (in one of her BMW's) from now-her "Main House," you laugh. "Jenny" laughs.

"Funny how things can turn out for a clumsy farm hand," you say while checking your appearance.

" Isn't fantasy fun?"

"Yeah. It beats reality any day."

— Me, Ken Avery


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Jennifer,

      Nice to meet you. Thanks so much for the interesting comment. I loved it. And the line about picking clods and rotten potatoes off he belt.

      Which brings me to this observation: Life can be thought of as a potato conveyor belt. It has its clods and rotten members that must be dealt with or kiss the "belt of life" goodbye.

      Thank you for the idea.

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 

      3 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Fun hub.

      I have never worked a wheat harvest, but did help on potato harvests several years. They, too, are 2+ weeks of long days. (I only worked 10 - 12 hours a day, but I'm sure the farmer was working longer.)

      Never made any of these blunders, I'm glad to say. Good thing they didn't give me any responsibilities other than "picking clods" and rotten potatoes off the belt.


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