October 09, 2019

Making Memories, A Harvest Tradition

No matter what each season brings, you’ll always remember it. Think about the harvest that came with the highest yield, or the harvest with the worst flooding you’ve ever seen, or how about the harvest your firstborn child came into the world?

You can picture it vividly: the variety you grew, the combine you were using, maybe you can even remember what hat you were wearing. It might be the hat you’re wearing right now.

Whatever the case may be, it’s ingrained into your memory for better or worse.

And that’s exactly the case for Oklahoma wheat farmer Kevin Thomason.

“I started farming 18 years ago because I enjoy watching my work turn into something. I like having my own business and I like the lifestyle. My wife, Angela, and kids, Lauren and Dayton, pitch in wherever they can,” said Kevin.

Kevin’s love of farming was passed down from his father, Bill, who he still farms with today. “One of the first real memories I have of wheat harvest was my dad teaching me to drive the L2 Gleaner when I was 7 or 8 years old,” said Kevin. “While I was cutting, with no warning, he just jumped out leaving me alone. I was confused but just kept cutting. I started laughing when I saw him on the next round trying to hide behind a terrace. When I made it to the truck to dump, nothing was said. I cut the rest of the day and loved it.”

Kevin has a bank full of harvest memories, but one of his favorites doesn’t have anything to do with high yield or winning a contest. It’s when he finds himself in the midst of harvest, eating with his family in the field.

“One of my favorite memories of harvest is more of a generality. We have always shut down to eat supper. We are always short on help and try to cut way too much with only one machine, but either my wife or my mother will bring supper to the field and we will shut the combine down. It may be for just a few minutes, but it has always been my favorite part of the day,” said Kevin.

Even after a tough season this year, Kevin knows this one will also be one he remembers for years to come, not only because of all the challenges thrown his way but also because of how he never gave up.

“This past year has been the most challenging. We had record flooding last October during wheat drilling, only to be beaten by an even bigger flood through the spring/early summer,” said Kevin. “It seemed like we would never get the wheat cut.  I put over 300 road miles on the combine just trying to find dry ground. We got through it by being persistent (stubborn), and not giving up.”

Even though each harvest differs from the previous, the lesson Kevin learns each year seems to be the same.

“I try not to dwell on mistakes because they have already happened and there are no redos. It seems there are no two years the same, but as a rule, if I work a little harder at it and try not to cut corners, each year goes a little smoother than the last.”

Share with us your harvest memories on WestBred® wheat’s Facebook or Twitter, or by emailing the.tiller@westbred.com.