The crisp fall walks to the barn for morning chores are like no other. The changing color of the trees and falling autumn leaves rustle underneath my chore boots. I look out across the dried rows of crops in the fields and see the passing equipment on the road. As I walk, the calm hum of the corn dryer cuts through the silence of the morning. All these sights and sounds together can only mean one thing.
Harvest season has begun.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Fall brings cool weather and beautiful sceneries. Each year, fall brings the return to another school year. As I have been settling into my year at school, I have also started my travels as Princess Kay. The Le Sueur County and Blue Earth County Breakfast on the Farm held fun activities for everyone. I started the morning off with a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast. Throughout the morning, I enjoyed informing families about all things dairy as they completed their agriculture scavenger hunt around the farm. I was able to share many stories of growing up on my family’s farm and my wonderful state fair experience as Princess Kay. My next event was Heidelberg Community Day. I was able to visit with event goers, hand out coloring books and stickers, and even hand out the car show trophies at the end of the day.
Harvest is a bustling season on the dairy farm. Not only are there the awaiting daily chores in the barn that need to be completed, but the work in the fields to harvest our crops at the end of the growing season. It seems as though the work ahead will never be finished. The dedication farmers put into their cows and crops all year-round cannot be compared. There are countless long hours spent in the combine, tractor or barn to accomplish everything. Though it seems as though the work may never be done, it becomes possible with the help of those around us. Friends, family and neighbors join together to complete harvest and make memories while doing so. The bonds formed between those around us during the fall season creates a sense of community that is, without a doubt, felt by the community. Though we know all farmers are surrounded by their own work, they never shy away from helping others, proving once again that farmers pride themselves by selflessly giving their time to others.
I look forward to bringing together two highly anticipated traditions of the harvest season: brown paper bag lunches and late-night rides in the combine with Dad.
For me, there has always been something special about receiving a brown paper bag lunch with my name and a smiley face on it from Mom during harvest. Even though harvest lunches most likely consist of a sloppy joe sandwich, chips and a homemade oatmeal fudge bar, it always tastes so much better coming out of that brown paper bag. When I was little, Mom would make me a bag lunch and send me out to the field with Dad to have a combine picnic. As I rode in the combine, eating my lunch, I waited for the sun to set and the lights of the combine to come on. As we drove, country music was on the radio, muffled by the sound of the hopper filling as the lights led our path down the rows of crops. This combination will always make for a perfect night. Even now, over a decade later, bag lunches and late-night rides with Dad in the combine will unfailingly be my favorite thing to look forward to as the leaves and crops turn leading toward the season of harvest.
As the work in the fields begin, I wish everyone a safe and bountiful harvest ahead. It is safe to say we all have something memorable to enjoy about the harvest season.
Princess Kay of the Milky Way Rachel Rynda serves as the Minnesota dairy community’s goodwill ambassador. Rachel grew up in Montgomery, Minnesota, on her family’s dairy farm. She attends University of Wisconsin-River Falls, studying agriculture business with a minor in dairy science, with plans to assist future farmers with their finances. In her free time, she enjoys participating in sports and singing in church with her dad.
Princess Kay is active doing school visits, representing dairy farmers at the Fuel Up To Play 60 activities in conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings, and sharing the importance of dairy farming and dairy foods at appearances across Minnesota.