Soon, custom harvest crews will descend upon Texas to begin a four- to five-month trek of moving north across The Wheat Belt, harvesting the wheat that feeds this nation and many others.
Tracy Zeorian, president of the Hutchinson-based U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. Tracy and her husband, Jim, own Zeorian Harvesting and Trucking, located in Manley, Neb. A family-run operation featuring one combine and supporting equipment, the Zeorians have documented their last four harvests in the “All Aboard Wheat Harvest” project, sponsored by the High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection and a great insight into the life of custom harvesters.
All Aboard Harvest has given the unsung heroes of harvest an audience and an appreciation to the trials and tribulations of custom harvesters. In an interesting twist of fate, it has also given life to a film treatment called “The Wheat Harvest Movie,” which chronicles the spirit of custom harvesters, but also is a fascinating look into the process of getting food from the wheat field to the kitchen table.
In a visit to the Kansas Wheat office over the winter, Conrad Weaver, executive producer/director of The Wheat Harvest Movie, said the story of wheat harvest is compelling, exciting and needs to be told. Four custom harvesting crews are featured in the movie, which will, “…tell of their struggles and pleasures, successes and failures, joys and sorrows and the sheer pleasure they share in time sent with family and friends harvesting the wheat that feeds the world,” he says.
The four crews are Zeorian Harvesting, Manley, Nebraska; JKD Inc., Colby, Kansas; Dan Misener, Elk City, Oklahoma and Kent Braathen, Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Preliminary video shooting and research began last summer. This year, Weaver and his crew at the Conjo Studios production company will follow wheat harvest progress over the entire season, from pre-trip planning to completion of the harvest this fall.
The film is expected to be premiered at the 30th Anniversary meeting of the USCHI, in Kansas City next March; Weaver hopes it will air on RFD-TV, too. In addition, the work will be submitted to film festivals around the country and eventually, will be released on DVD. Financial support for the film comes from USCHI, but Weaver is seeking additional support. For more, log onto the Web site: www.wheatharvestmovie.com