About the time we feel like we’re getting our feet under us, we realize it’s almost the end of the year. What feels like a short few weeks ago actually turns out to be months, and we realize just how busy it’s been around Gold Dust and Walker Farms.
While we constantly talk about how busy it is around our sheds and farm, the reality is that it is always busy! Regardless of the time of year, there’s always something going on. However, when summer turns into fall, and we’re in the midst of harvest, shipping, organizing labor and doing whatever it takes to get potatoes to our customers, our campus feels more like a beehive than a farm.
Looking back at this harvest, we started digging chipping potatoes on August 15th. But potato harvest wasn’t the only thing going on in the fields – we were cutting alfalfa hay and grain. In the sheds, our crews were getting the potato processing plant ready for our annual Open House Field Day as well as shipping season, which started in August as well. As for the offices, our staff was coordinating loads, running expanded payrolls, recruiting labor, getting organized for the Open House Field Day and providing support to the farm and shed crews. And all of this is just the beginning of harvest!
As August rolled into September, potato harvest and grain harvest rolled on and we were getting our fourth cutting of hay. Our packing shed was running at full tilt, as were our offices.
While there was plenty of action on our campus and in our fields, there was also quite a bit going on in the community. The Tulelake Butte Valley Fair took place from the 7th through the 10th. Along with the regular fair activities, a member of our hay crew, Kelly Cole, participated in the Dash for Cash hay squeeze competition while our agronomist, Jennifer White, thrashed around in the Destruction Derby. The fair also gave Gold Dust an opportunity to support local FFA and 4H
kids at the auction. Speaking of fairs, we also participated in the first annual Ag Career Fair at Klamath Community College. All of that combined made for a busy September!
When October arrived – you guessed – more potato harvest! With grain harvest over and our swathers and balers finally put away, it was now time to start fall farming. Meanwhile, back at the shed trucks lined up waiting to get loaded while our office staff started working on inventory, preparing for the Leadership Dinner and basically doing whatever it takes so we can keep farming and shipping potatoes. We also participated in the Klamath Basin Potato Festival in Merrill, and this year instead of being in the parade we handed out hot chocolate, hot apple cider and small bags of potato chips to anyone who braved the cold rain to watch the tractors, marching bands and floats make their way down the main drag. In years past we’ve had potato harvest wrapped up before the Potato Festival, but this year we weren’t out of the fields until the 25th.
And now we’re deep into November. We just had our annual Leadership Dinner on the 10th which gave our partners an opportunity to share how our businesses have been doing and brainstorm with our employees with what can help Gold Dust and Walker Farms to continue succeeding. At the dinner we also recognized one of our long-term employees, Salvador Vera. Salvador has been with Gold Dust and Walker Farms for 20 years. In that 20 years, he has become an integral part of our businesses, helping with everything from laying out pipe in the spring to helping with harvest and keeping the shed running. As a thank you, Weston presented Salvador with a watch.
Looking back at the last four months, the thing that stands out to us isn’t how much we’ve accomplished or how busy it’s been. What stands out is how many people, working together, can get so much accomplished. Not only does it take an extraordinary number of people to keep our farm and shed running, it takes extraordinary people. We’ve been blessed with loyal, hard-working employees who work as a team. In the offices, the shed or out in the fields, our crews pull together everyday to help make Gold Dust and Walker Farms successful.
With that said, thank you to everyone for putting in the dedication it takes to make us successful. As we’ve said before, the modern farm is more than just a guy on a tractor – it’s a small army of dedicated people in the office, fields, and in our case, packing sheds that make it so we can keep doing what we do. Thank you.