This October, I got a chance to go to Floyd, Iowa and meet Maurice and Pam Johnson, a fifth-generation husband and wife farm team. I rode with them and their sons, Ben and Andy, while they were bringing in the corn harvest.
I went to a field they call Kupers 80, climbed in the cab of the combine with Maurice, and talked with him while we did what he usually does in the cab – listen to the radio. We listened to the Midday Farm Report on the local country station.
In the cab of Pam’s tractor, it was a steady diet of public radio. We listened to “Science Friday” with Ira Flatow, which Pam likes because it keeps her mind stimulated and “makes her brain sparkle.” Pam is an avid reader who always carries a book with her during the harvest. She’ll take it out if there’s a delay due to equipment failure or a long backup at their grain elevator in Osage, Iowa. She was reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pallon, but there wasn’t any time to stop and read the days I rode with her. The weather was good, and they kept on harvesting until well after midnight, under the stars of the prairie sky.