Mansfield farmers finish harvest

Justin and Sheianne Bowen, their children Raylen and Gus, and Sheianne’s father Monty Black celebrate life on the farm. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)


By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

Norman Tupling, Henry Tupling and Mike Tupling take time for lunch in the field, provided by Norman’s wife Tara. (Provided photo/Tara Tupling)

Wheat harvest has ended for farmers in Douglas County and while the hard part may be over, there is still more work to do. Fall seeding now begins.

For the Blacks and the Tuplings, wheat farming goes back several generations and they treasure their life on the land. Farm families know the value of hard work, dedication to family and making difficult decisions on a daily basis. They all

agree that they do the work, and their faith in God does the rest.

Farming requires rising early “around 5 a.m.,” says Justin Bowen.

Bowen was raised in Connell, farming wheat, potatoes and mint. “I still love this work, early mornings and long hours. It gives me purpose and meaning in my life,” he said.

Bowen’s wife, Sheianne, manages their home and their children Raylen and Gus, and keeps the meals coming regularly to feed the crew. Breakfast, supper and dinner are an important part of the farming schedule. Bowen grew up a farmer’s daughter and said that the farming way of life allowed

her to see her father daily.

“It was a gift to see my dad every day at lunchtime,” she said.

Double loading combines harvest wheat at the Tupling 4T Ranch. (Provided photo/Tara Tupling)

Like so many farm kids, she rode in the tractor with her father, Monty Black, and sometimes with her brother Denver. They spent long hours in the field, according to Bowen.

“Summer was our busiest season, so this was our family vacation,” she added.

The Black family worked hard and taught their children a strong work ethic.

“I learned the value of hard work young, with a fair bit of whining of course,” Bowen said.

Growing up on the farm prepared Bowen her role of a farmer’s wife, a role she cherishes. “I understand the challenges farmers face on a daily basis, I understand that the farm and the work comes first, and I accept the sacrifices we have to make.”

Monty Black descends from four generations of farmers and lives a farmer’s life. He admits it “gets in your blood” and describes dryland wheat farming as an “upside down economy” where the value of the product is underscored by the cost of the equipment for crop production.

Going home at the end of the harvest day on the Tupling 4T Ranch. (Provided photo/Tara Tupling)

“It’s not the most lucrative business to be in. The greatest value comes from my faith, my family and our community ties that are strong and durable,” Black said.

At the Tupling 4T Ranch, Norman Tupling and his wife Tara also rise early to greet the day.

“We have to get going early,” Norman Tupling said. “The combines require attention before we begin cutting and all the daylight hours are necessary.”

Harvest days are hot, long and rewarding “just as I remember them,” Tupling said.

Yearly budgets are typical for farmers, and machinery breakdowns, uncertain weather conditions and land use decisions are expected.

Successful farming boils down to thoughtful decision making and some of those decisions aren’t too popular, according to Tupling.

Balancing lean yearly budgets against family vacations and summertime fun “are generally at cross purposes,” Tupling said. “I can’t just leave my crop and go boating.”

At the end of the day farmers meet their daily challenges with faith, resolve and ingenuity.

“My faith, my family and hard work on the land give me direction,” Tupling notes. “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”