This is the first harvest from my very own farm. I’ve looked forward to this moment for years, since I first dedicated myself to farming for the people. It’s taken struggle, patience, enduring indignities, and help from friends to make this happen. I lost some of my crop this year to wild animals and unusual weather, but what feels most disappointing is the crop wastage incurred by the grain harvester dismissing my concerns.

20% of my grain is scattered in the field. How’d this happen? The person who harvested showed up with a combine he’s never used before and said I’d be his guinea pig. I needed to harvest and already exhausted other possibilities. I suggested he set the combine at the most conservative settings. He elided my comment by saying that he set the combine for wheat and it should be fine.

It wasn’t. An acre later, some 500 lbs of red fife lay strewn across the ground. I kneeled in the dirt to count my precious seed. I had so looked forward to celebrating this day, but I can’t help but feel crushed. It’s not only the loss of grains that I had promised to a baker friend, nor the damper on my farm’s growth, but feeling disrespected and losing my crop when it could have been avoided.