By Harry Siemens – The harvest is in the record books, the combines are back in the sheds, on fields, where ever those owner-operators took them after that momentous day on Saturday, Aug 4 from 2 pm through 2:15 when the dust settled.
The community of Winkler and surrounding area, and I mean community meaning nearly everyone from young to old and every age in between worked hard and gave of themselves, not so much for the harvest but for the cause of helping young children around the world.
There is another community I pay tribute to, and that is the farming and extended agricultural community which I’m, so product to serve. My father instilled in me the desire to first farm, and then become a farm journalist. He also showed me the way to accept what Jesus Christ did for him and what he could do for me.
This combine, event was not a race, but farmers always compete, first with the weather, with the weather elements, with the markets, with the supply company’s, and with each other. At ten minutes before two Saturday, combines running, hearts beating faster, it almost seemed like a race, but it wasn’t. I said farmers compete, but when one is in distress neighbours help neighbours whether putting in the crop, rebuilding a downed building, or harvesting the crop when things aren’t going right for one individual.
Saturday, an estimated 250 million dollars worth of equipment owned and operated by farmers, some who drove hours to get there and leave their own crop sitting in the field came together to show the world they care about others – the one million children that will have an opportunity for a better life.
I had a chance to visit with Philip Robertson, the Guinness adjudicator, and I call him the judge after as he put it, scraped the two or three layers of dust off and settled into his hotel room. I asked him what does the record mean.
“So quite often, people ask me to categorize it as what does it mean as a record, or what does it mean like an event? And in this instance, it was more than just achieving a record. This event had to take incredible coordination and safety measures put in place. Considering you have potentially a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of equipment on a huge field with thousands of people watching it, in a straw field, that if a match had dropped and burned it to flames, you’ve lost a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of equipment. Let alone people’s safety,” Philip told me. “But then you think about what it means as a record, which is an incredible feat of organizing and coordination. And then you think about what it means because what they were trying to achieve was raise lots and lots of funds and donations for Harvest for Kids. So they’re sending kids better opportunities for life in a way that people came together to achieve.”
I sensed here is a man who came to do a job, but goes away with a sense of community, something he had not experienced before, he told. Philip lives in New York but grew up in England.
Winkler area farmer, and combine driver on Saturday called it an awe-inspiring experience. It’s unbelievable when you get all that, 300 combines starting their engines, the rumble, the excitement, the people standing and watching, and then having a good cause to where it’s all going for,” said Froese whose family farms the land harvested on Saturday.
“The land where the project was taking place was land that we farm. We initially seeded the crop to winter wheat last fall and put in the fertilizer, made a couple of applications, and had a lot of winter kill on parts of the field and ended up reseeding some of it to spring wheat this spring.”
And it was a God thing right from the beginning, right?
“No question. It was so dry when we seeded the crop, but it did emerge, and then we had the winter kill. The day was set a year ahead of time when you’re going to have this harvest. So I planted the spring wheat, got a good start, but you know, when you’re planting spring wheat the beginning of May and to have it ready by August 4th, that’s a tall order, but God is good, and he made it all happen.”