Friday, July 24, 2015

You like to eat right? Learn a bit about your food!

My Dad and brother started combining the wheat recently so I knew I had to get the kids up for combine rides... or maybe it was me wanting one most of all.

I spent a lot of time riding in the combine when I was little, I think I like it more now than ever.  Maybe it just has a lot to do with getting to spend some quality time with my Dad.
My Dad grows food for you :)

When I was little I had to sit on the floor of the combine, but now they are bigger and have buddy seats. Enough room for my Dad, me and one small cowgirl!  His dog had the floor occupied anyway. Can you see the top of Roscoe's head in the picture below?
The wheat is combined, unloaded in to truck and the truck either takes it into town or empties it into a grain bin for storage.

How about some wheat facts?
  • Montana ranks third in the nation for wheat production
  • 80% of Montana wheat is exported.
  • A family of four could live ten years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat. 
  • Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.
  • Wheat is a member of the grass family that produces a dry, one-seeded fruit commonly called a kernel.
  • More than 17,000 years ago, humans gathered the seeds of plants and ate them. After rubbing off the husks, early people simply chewed the kernels raw, parched or simmered.
  • The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”
  • If all of Montana's wheat stayed in the US, every man, woman and child would have to eat 8 loaves of bread a day to consume it all.
  • More foods are made with wheat than any other grain the whole world over
  • It was introduced in the US as a hobby crop in 1777
  • Montana is the only place that has commercial production of five of the six major classes of wheat grown in the U.S. – Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard White (HW), Durum, Soft White (SW), and the one we do not grow – Soft Red Winter (SRW). (In the U.S., wheat varieties are classified either as “winter” or “spring” depending on the season each is planted.
  •  There is no genetically-modified wheat in commercial production in the U.S. but researchers are looking at ways to breed wheats better able to withstand pests and drought and produce more with less pesticides on smaller parcels of land to feed ever-increasing populations. 
  •  The wheat and barley industry in Montana is second only to cattle as the top agricultural revenue source for Montana
  •  Never refrigerate bagels or any bread product. Bread products go stale up to 6 times faster in the refrigerator. Leave these products at room temperature or freeze them.

Farming.. especially dryland farming like my family does is a bit of a crap shoot every year.  Farmers are very dependent on the weather, too hot, too cold, too dry, too much rain, rain at the wrong times, hail that can knock a field flat and once you get past all that  they are dependent on the markets.  The price of fertilizer, fuel, weed control, machinery up keep, and taxes all cuts into the profit.

I get a paycheck every two weeks  Like clockwork.  Farmers get one once a year.  or if like my Dad you also are a rancher twice a year (also dependent on a million factors).  Let that sink in.  One or two paychecks a year.  All the hard work and hours spent in the fields.  There is no 40 hour workweek.

When I worked for my Dad in the summers we had 60 hours workweeks.  10 hour days from Monday to Saturday. Funny but sometimes those days went by way faster than my 8 hour ones now.  Haying, planting, calving and harvest all mean even longer days.

What is your favorite wheat product?  Me.. I love cake!


  1. My dad grew up on a farm and he glamorizes that life. He loved it. I think farmers today have it tough! But it still has to be rewarding. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Christy, this post is FANTASTIC! You have so many good points, and well said! This is exactly what farmers need! Where did you get the info for your bullet-point facts?

  3. I loved harvest season when I was a kid. Except for all the grasshoppers everywhere when we would take lunch out to the men in the field!

  4. I've seen a lot of wheat fields in our recent travels. My favorites have been the ones on rolling hills. I found and bought some Wheat Montana bread on a recent shopping trip and saw many of their sandwich stores on this trip.


Because I love hearing from you all!