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Harvest Has Its Perils For Young Farmers

Life is always a bit hectic during fall. But this harvest is a good bit different than last year's.

Last year [as fairly new newlyweds], we spent a lot of time together – mainly in the combine cab. This year, we're hardly seeing each other, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Mike: Time is a quality and quantity issue this fall. We don’t get to see a lot of each other.

Last year, Sheilah would bring me meals to the field, and I'd help her study. This fall, she has class or clinical every day for most of the day. When she doesn’t have class, she stays at the school to study. When she comes home, she studies. On weekends, she's still working one day a week at the cave.

Harvest started off smooth for me. Then things got rocky. One whole week I never made it home before 3 a.m. because the dryer wasn’t working right.

Sheilah: I had a hard time getting Mike to understand that the clothes dryer couldn't be used as a corn dryer.

Even time to eat together is hard to come by. With my class schedule being what it is, we don’t get a chance to eat together very much.

Going out to the field for a quick bite is pretty much impossible. My clinical days are Monday and Tuesday, so Mike always makes breakfast on those days and we eat together. When one of us has time to cook, we make lots so we have left overs.

I eat the majority of my meals at the Penn State cafeteria. Mike eats a lot of stuff from the local gas station. We were stopping at Subway way too much. The man working there knew what we wanted when we walked in.

Mike: To look at our vehicles, you'd think we live in them – which isn't far from the truth. That's where Sheilah keeps all of her books for the day or week plus all her clinical stuff.

I never knew you could have so many books for one class. With all the water, snacks and clothes, her book bag must weigh more than a wet load of corn.

Sheilah: We get our mail from a Post Office box. We both drive by it on the way home at night. But this fall, getting the mail is usually an afterthought and neglected a good bit – until it's time to pay bills or I'm waiting for a check.

Mike: We've stopped counting what day or month it is. For me, its: How many acres are there to go?

For Sheilah, its: How many days until Christmas break or how many days until she gets a break from studying? Our kitchen count-down board gets updated about once a week. But the numbers are more of a "guesstimate" than an actuality. One thing's for sure though. We'll get through it – together!

Mike Reskovac is president of Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association. The Reskovacs farm near Uniontown, Pa.
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