Fall harvest rooted in family tradition

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Kendal Peterson, junior in agricultural economics, is a fifth-generation farmer from Assaria, Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Jade Comstock | DLC Photography)

For some Kansas State students, family gatherings tend to be centered around food and feed in the fields, not on the table.

Will Moreland, sophomore in agricultural technology management, said his dad started their family farm with just 400 acres in 1988, and now they harvest more than 1,000 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans.

“Working with family is something I would not trade for anything,” Moreland said. “It’s something I love going home for as much as I can.”

Moreland said it is quite common for him to go home to South Haven, Kansas every weekend to help his family during fall harvest.

“There is no obligation from my family to always have to go home, but it is just really appreciated by family when I go and help,” Moreland said. “And I love where I’m from, so I love going back.”

In the future, Moreland hopes to form a partnership with his older and younger brothers, with the goal of taking over the next generation of the farm.

As a young woman in agriculture who also grew up on a farm, Jackie Newland, senior in agricultural communications and journalism, said the hard work and genuine personalities she was exposed to while growing up on a farm has shaped her into who she is today.

“We start every day at 6:30 a.m. with coffee and the news and are out the door, ready to work by 7:30,” Newland said. “And we knew not to expect our dad to be home till 11 p.m. or sometimes even later during the busy harvest times.”

Corn harvest typically starts in early August, but with heavy rain this season in Newland’s hometown of Neodesha, Kansas, her family did not begin their harvesting until late August.

“We hope to catch up and be done by the end of the month,” Newland said. “Everyone is always helping, and thankfully my two older brothers have been able to help my dad a lot this season.”

Moreland said farming is a huge commitment, but when growing up on a family farm you appreciate all the work and do not complain.

“Growing up, my brothers and I were either in school or on a tractor,” Moreland said. “Farming is just what we do.”

Having a passion for the agricultural industry makes the workload seem less grueling, Newland said.

“Farmers realize you have to make a lot of personal sacrifices for the good of the farm,” Newland said. “But you do it because you love it; everyone gathers around the love of the farm. And then you pass it on to the next generation by getting younger kids involved in showing livestock and being involved with 4-H and FFA.”

Kendal Peterson, a fifth-generation farmer from Assaria, Kansas, and junior in agricultural economics, said his family settled in the 1800s with the first generation of their family farm.

“I started helping feed the cattle when I was about 10 years old, and was working summers full time by the time I was in junior high,” Peterson said. “It was really an exciting time, knowing I was finally getting to help my dad and two older brothers.”

Peterson, the youngest of the famed Peterson Farm Bros, said some of his favorite memories on the farm come from fall harvest, while the K-State football team was playing.

“We were working, so my brothers and I couldn’t watch,” Peterson said. “But we’d listen on the radios of our tractors and talk to each other through our handheld radios. It was always exciting when we yelled touchdown in the field.”

The Peterson family harvests corn untraditionally compared to most Kansas farmers, Peterson said.

“We actually harvest our corn for silage by August, rather than waiting until August to start,” Peterson said. “It’s an earlier rush than what is typical. I mean, I was spending the last two hours before I moved back to Manhattan for the new school year harvesting the last part of the field.”

Now, being here in Manhattan, Peterson said he will not spend too much time being back at the farm.

“I think that’s the hardest part of being in school, while my brothers have already graduated,” Peterson said. “The farm doesn’t stop growing when you’re not there. I wish I could be there helping my family.”

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Kaitlyn Alanis
Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!