Written by Holden Asmus
Across the Midwest, combines are firing up and harvesting the crop we have worked so hard to grow. Harvest time is a time of long hours, tailgate dinners, and cab time with your family. When I was a child, I used to spend hours in the cab of our IH 1466 tractor with my father. I would play with my toy combine (An IH2388 to be exact) harvesting my “field,” composed of loose kernels of corn or soybeans and a little bit of mud and dirt. My father Harlan, would be running back and forth between the bins and the combine, which was driven by my grandpa Harvey.
It was my favorite when my grandpa would ask if I would like to ride with him. Riding in the very combine that I played with in the cab was a dream come true. From time to time, grandpa would even let me “drive” while he hummed a tune as we worked our way down the rows. There never seemed to be a bad day for my grandpa during harvest.
As the years passed, it appeared my grandpa Harvey started to lose his seemingly perfect harvesting skills. He would skip rows, weave in and out of line, and every now and then miss the grain cart. I remember the first time I experienced his decreased accuracy and stared at him in wonder, because we needed to get the corn in the bin. In his calm demeanor, I remember him laughing it off. He would look at me and say, “Remember Holden, always leave some for the pheasants.” I’m sure at the time, he didn’t want to show his frustration in front of his grandson, but I would like to think that he meant to feed the birds. After all, they had winter to prepare for.
After he got sick, there was a time that he was unable to help out during harvest. I could tell how much it bothered him. After all, he spent his whole life working that ground, and now he had to sit out and watch. Finally, one afternoon he was able to come out and ride in the combine. I remember we were in the Nelson field, which is directly west of the office. It was one of the few times that I was in the combine, and I got to take grandpa for a ride. Teaching him how to run the combine again was a memory I will never forget. And of course, he had to leave some for the pheasants.
Now entering the 10th harvest since he passed, things are a little different. Farming is much faster paced, we work more ground, our equipment is much larger, and every bushel counts. With the advanced GPS and other guidance technology, it is rare that rows are missed or ran over. That being said, there is plenty of grain for everyone. That is why I always like to leave some for the pheasants, and for my grandpa Harvey.
In Loving Memory of Harvey Asmus, 1928-2006
Holden Asmus is the 3rd generation at Asmus Farm Supply and H&H Farms. He grew up on the family farm in Rake, IA where he spent his time watching both the farm and AFS grow. Holden began with AFS after graduating from Iowa State University in May of 2014 as a chemistry sales agronomist. He is also very active in the community as the assistant high school football coach, volunteer firefighter and treasurer of his church.