Weekend Warriors

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

Thank God it’s Friday! If you’re looking forward to the weekend, it probably means that you’re planning on a two-day break. It’s a different story for farm kids, though.

When they go home for the weekend, it’s not to relax. This time of year, they go home to work.

During harvest season, which begins as early as August and lasts until November, many students travel home on the weekend, hoping to beat both the clock and the calendar.

“It depends on what the weather is like as to how hard you have to crunch things in,” said freshman Matt Petersen.

Each weekend Petersen goes to his home six miles out of Centerville, and helps with the harvest. But for the first time in his life, he can’t help as much as he wants.

“What bothers me this year is not being home to help with it,” said Petersen.

The entire goal of harvesting is to get as much yield as possible. Now that beans are nearly done, chisel plowing is the Petersen family’s goal. Trying to beat the weather isn’t as much of a priority with plowing, since it can be done even after it snows.

“It’s been almost a blizzard before when we’ve (plowed),” said Petersen.

Fighting the weather is always a concern, though.

“This year some of our beans got hit by frost a little early in the year, so that kind of hurt our yield a little bit,” said junior Andrew Albin.

A native of Granite Falls, Minn., Albin’s family farms cash crops.

“Once we get going on the beans in mid-to-late September, it picks up. Once we start on corn in mid-October, then it really gets going,” said Albin. “Right about now is pretty hectic at home.”

Albin, an agricultural systems technology major, also goes home each weekend.

“I usually leave here as soon as I can – around 3 o’clock – get home, and just jump in whatever I need to, whether it’s the combine or the semi-truck,” said Albin.

He then works until 10 p.m., gets up at 7 a.m. on Saturday, and works the rest of day. The same formula is used on Sunday until Albin heads back to Brookings to attend the 9 p.m. FarmHouse meeting.

School work can be a strain during harvest season, but Albin says he handles it well.

“It’s not really too difficult since I don’t have a job other than going home on the weekends,” said Albin. “I do it all on Wednesdy or Thursday night and if I have anything else, I do it Friday before I go home.”

Both Petersen and Albin enjoy helping with the harvest each weekend. However, farming does have some disadvantages, Albin says. It’s easy to miss out on the college experience when you leave town each weekend.

“This weekend (was especially hard) being Hobo Days, and I’m 21, yet I’m getting out of here,” said Albin. “The way I see it, ‘go home and make money instead of staying here and spending it.'”

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though.

“Once harvest is done, I only go home on the holidays pretty much,” said Albin.