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Jorgensen gearing up for harvest season


Tanner Jorgensen comes from a long line of farmers on both sides of his family. From left to right: Tanner's grandparents, Wayne and Arletta Herman; Tanner; and his parents, Jandy and Tom Jorgensen.

DAGMAR, Mont. – Life on the family farm in northeastern Montana usually clips right along for Tanner Jorgensen. However, there is a distinct difference between the busyness of everyday farm life and the busyness of harvest preparations. And right now, Tanner is in the thick of harvest preparations.

“Things have been getting busy around here. We are hauling grain, spraying fungicide, and we pulled the combine out a week ago and just got done going through it,” Tanner said during a phone update on July 19.

He estimated that they would have headers down in their pea crop by Aug. 1.

“The plan is to start with peas. After a couple weeks of harvesting peas we will roll into canola and then we will jump into the durum,” he said.

Needless to say, now is the beginning of a marathon race through harvest. It is a demanding time of year, but it’s also an exciting time of year. The end of the growing season is upon Montana producers, so it is literally time for them to reap what they have sown.

Tanner is feeling thankful as he turns towards harvest. After battling a crippling drought in 2020 and again in 2021, it is heartwarming to look out across his fields and see healthy crop stands.

“It is an added cost, but usually when we have to spray fungicide it is sign we have a good crop coming,” he pointed out.

In 2019, the Jorgensens saw record yields in their fields. They had to spray some fungicide that year, too. Tanner doesn’t think yields this year will surpass those of 2019, but they are looking healthy and will certainly be better then last year’s, and that’s what counts.

The Jorgensens will run two combines all through harvest. With three different crops to walk through, it takes a bit of orchestration. They have two sets of headers for each combine: a flex header with a draper belt they use on the peas and canola, and then a stripper header they use for the durum. The concaves in the combine must be changed after pea harvest and before canola harvest, as well.

“Changing between crops gets to be a bit of a process, but you get used to it after a while and learn how to make it quick and easy,” Tanner said with his trademark chuckle.

As excitement mounts for harvest to begin, Tanner and his family will remain busy getting bins cleaned out and machinery ready.

Temperatures are a bit warm out, which Tanner laments is hard for a northerner such as himself to cope with, but the heat is helping the crops mature and pop.

All in all, things are good in northeast Montana and Tanner is counting his blessings. Having the opportunity to steward family land right alongside his mom and dad is both humbling yet empowering, but ultimately it is what feeds Tanner’s soul.

“I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t farming, I really don’t,” he reflected.

Harvest is close and life is good in Dagmar, Mont.

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