Farm Bureau Insight: The Harvest Zone

Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer and rancher

Every year around this time, the world around me has the potential to quickly turn into a continuous swirl that would be perfect for a TV series.

In cinematic effect, I imagine my story would begin with a black and white tight shot of my eyes opening wide from slumber and darting back and forth in a semi-confused state.

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The background music at the start of my episode would consist of an odd pattern of guitar plinks and orchestral bursts, and over this hair-raising musical selection would include a Rod Serling-like narration:

“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance. Of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into … the ‘Harvest Zone.’”

Harvest crews are making their way through wheat fields in my part of the world right now. As a farming family, this begins the busy season of not only harvesting wheat from the fields while racing the summer storms, but also finishing up the planting of our fall crops, and beginning the long, hot summer days of irrigation. Sprinkle in a variety of summer activities for our kids like Vacation Bible School, baseball games and swim lessons, and you have a swirling vortex of days that leave people like me asking at times, “What day is it?”

It’s during this time of the year I have to intentionally look at my calendar every morning to identify which kid has a baseball game that evening, if I have a scheduled Zoom call at some point during the day, or if my newspaper column is due. In reality, I also have to look at my calendar to know what the actual day is.

It’s during this part of the year where I intentionally set two alerts on all of my calendar entries. One alert is set for “1 day before” and the second for “1 hour before” to help remind me of daily events.

And it’s during this part of the year while conducting my daily morning calendar review, I will also routinely set alarms on my phone to go off approximately 30-minutes prior to any calendar entries that demand me to be at a certain place at a certain time.

While it seems excessive, all of this helps me to avoid wandering through a timeless dimension exacerbated by the hustle of wheat harvest and other continuously flowing summer farm and family tasks and appointments that can easily blend into one big summer blur if not contained.

To know what day it is and to be aware of what time it is helps me stay as grounded and focused as possible. These are the steps I take to keep moving forward and not overlook important tasks needing my attention.

Whether it’s getting my kids to their games on time, delivering seed to a field at the right time, or consistently delivering our harvest crew their meals twice daily at mealtime, it’s just one of the ways I try to maintain awareness of real time while living in the “Harvest Zone.”

“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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