Many farmers across the state have reached the finish line on the 2022 harvest and congratulations are in order, for this is no easy feat.
For some, harvest is a time of celebration and new beginnings — getting misty-eyed watching children and grandchildren blossom into new roles on the farm, eager for a chance to ride in or operate the combine.
For others, the end of harvest is bittersweet — maybe this is the last harvest as retirement closes in or the first without the help of a beloved family member, and it doesn’t feel quite right to celebrate.
Perhaps this season brings a “good riddance” to some of the challenges that inevitably present themselves while picking corn or cutting beans — countless breakdowns, untimely rain, nights in the cab yearning for those extra few hours of sleep.
Harvest’s end may mean relief for the wives, mothers and grandmothers holding down the fort at home, who can exhale and declare, “We made it.”
No matter the reaction, harvest is the thread of what makes farmers, farmers. Harvest connects agriculturists to the generations that came before, binding families together, or testing patience and breaking them apart. Ultimately, it puts food on the table.
To quote Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer”:
“And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker…Somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what dad does.’ So God made a farmer.”
Here’s to you, Illinois farmers. May your next season be filled with much-needed rest, reflection and time with those you love.