HAVILAND—Sixth generation farmers, Cletus and Jeana Clark, and their son Denton and wife Kadie Clark wrapped up the 2020 wheat harvest on July 10 for Clark Family Farms in Haviland.
"It was another 4th of July spent in the harvest field," said Jeana Clark. "We are down to the last full quarter of ground then finishing up with more seed wheat."
The 2020 wheat harvest started on June 17 for the Clark family and has been drawn out by rainy days in the beginning and typical machinery breakdowns near the end, but family members are used to spending more than four weeks in the fields for this purpose. Each year there are good parts and bad parts.
"[My] favorite thing about harvest would have to be the togetherness of family. Pulling together to get crops in that we’ve worked so hard to produce," said Jeana Clark. "Even though harvest can be hard, it is always worth it in the end. We get tired, we get cranky, But in the end, the satisfaction of doing our best and reaping the reward of harvest, making sure the bills get paid, is worth it."
Kadie Clark, daughter-in-law of Jeana Clark, is in a position she never thought she would be in. She grew up in California and moved to rural America with her family as a teenager. She never dreamed of marrying into a family that farms, and it has been a learning experience ever since.
"I could give you a thousand examples of times I learned something and it was amazing to me," said Kadie. "The support and community of this area means the world to me, and is what made me realize that this is something I could be a part of permanently."
Kadie’s jobs during harvest include a little bit of everything. She drives the grain cart, delivers invoices, cleans equipment windows, and, in her words, makes sure enough dad jokes are told for the entire farm.
Clark Family Farms in Haviland has been around for over 125 years. In 1883 Cletis Clark’s ancestors settled near Haviland and descendants of the family have been farming in the area ever since. Cletus and his wife Jeana are the fifth generations to till the land that was originally homesteaded in 1883. That makes Denton and his wife Kadie the sixth generation. Cletus, Jeana, and Denton work full-time on the farm throughout the year. Kadie is a teacher at Liberty Middle School in Pratt when school is in session.
Skyland Grain Marketing Director Matt Overturf said wheat quality was good in the Southcentral Kansas, despite early predictions that untimely weather events may have taken a toll.
"We had an active harvest week and came out with good yields and even better quality," he said. "The yields are all over the place and the quality is surprisingly good considering the hot dry weather we have been experiencing."
Overturf said there was still plenty of wheat in supply and not a lot of export demand, so wheat prices were down, and not going up in the farmer’s favor anytime soon.
But for Clark Family Farms, the outlook on planting and harvesting wheat never changes much. It’s been a good family enterprise for six generations, likely it will carry on for a few more generations.