HURON, S.D. — Like many farmers, a typical harvest day for John Voss consists of long hours spent in the combine focusing on one goal – getting his crops out before the weather turns and makes it impossible.
“Harvest days are hectic,” says the third generation Andover farmer. “We don’t have much spare time during harvest because we are working with small windows in the weather. I spend most of my days out in the combine, from early morning to late in the evening.”
Working with time constraints in mind gives Voss little time to stop. So, when SDFU members visited Voss in his field the other day with a pre-made lunch, it made his day.
“Getting a lunch from Farmers Union makes me feel appreciated for the work I’m doing,” Voss explains. “My lunches during harvest are normally cold sandwiches eaten on the go. It was nice to have a different lunch for a change.”
Making sure producers feel appreciated and get a complimentary lunch during harvest is the goal of South Dakota Farmers Union Harvest Lunch Program, explains Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director.
“It’s one way SDFU can say ‘thank you’ to South Dakota family farmers for what they do to feed the rest of us and care for the land,” Hofhenke says. “These people are the workforce behind our state’s No. 1 industry.”
Each harvest season, Hofhenke and other Farmers Union staff set out and visit cooperative elevators handing out hundreds of lunches to farmers as they pull through to unload grain.
“We make sure to stop into fields if we see someone out combining,” Hofhenke says. “We don’t want anyone to be forgotten.”
Bill Timm, General Manager of Wheat Growers cooperative in Wolsey, shares Farmers Union’s goal in recognizing farmers’ hard work.
“It’s something we can do that we know they appreciate,” Timm says. “It is like another silent ‘thank you’ to our farmers during one of their busiest times of year.”
Like the farmers they work with, Timm recognizes the impact changing weather patterns have on the harvest process and the bushels they are getting from their crops.
“Harvest has been a little later this year, but it’s going good,” Timm says. “Most farmers are surprised with the bushels they are getting because of the amount of rain we got.”
To learn more about South Dakota Farmers Union, visit www.sdfu.org.
— Christina Dexter, Legislative Specialist, South Dakota Farmers Union
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