Blog: The Wheat Sheaf
My First field trip to Lenz’s Farm
Last week I had the awesome opportunity to visit AWC Region 3 Representative Jason Lenz’s farm, along with Megan Hall, AWC’s Marketing and Events Coordinator, to experience a day in the life of a farmer and try seeding for the first time.
It was both of our first trips on a real crop-producing farm. Megan and I were talking the entire drive up about how excited we were to leave our office and become farmers for a day. We successfully arrived to the farm, thanks to detailed instructions from Jason without getting lost on the way.
The first thing we saw were some cows when we made our way up the driveway.
“Look at those calves, they are so cute,” Megan said.
Jason immediately went over and greeted us when we arrived. His friendly smile made me more comfortable to start off my field trip. We loaded up on the two seat side-by-side ATV, managing luckily to fit all three of us.
Jason took us to the south side of the field where his father, uncle and a couple people were sucking up muddy water to change out some new tile drainage to better prepare for this year’s crops. I wondered if it is used for irrigation, then, Jason carefully explained his farm always has good amount of water from rain and they use the tile drainage to move it from their soil.
I was strongly impressed with how hard they all work, and the dynamic collaboration they have when everybody puts 100% effort into one objective. They just get things done!
The chilly and cold weather, registering at 10 degrees Celsius, couldn’t stop them from completing their task.
After they finished, we moved onto seeding Kindersley Malt Barley. With Jason’s father, they drove the trucks closer to the field we were seeding, filling all three tanks of the tractor with treated seed and fertilizer. Both Megan and I climbed up the grain tank one by one to see how it works. I have read about treated seed from school, but I finally got to experience the seed colour change.
We all eventually loaded up into the tractor – a Case 385. I was astonished with the level of technology that is involved. I never imagined farmers could monitor the levels of seed and fertilizer in the grain tank, use GPS to keep them on the right track and customize seeding depth based on different areas in the field.
“You have more screens than I have in my office,” Megan said humorously.
All of us has a good chuckle.
Jason also showed us some numbers he calculated himself to support to his seeding process and he used that information accordingly. That was incredible for me!
After being on the tractor for a while, Jason let us check the depth of the seeds put to the field.
The most fascinating part of the whole trip was that the tractor was the very first vehicle I have ever driven in my life. I don’t even know how to drive a car but I drove a full-size, almost 400 horsepower tractor. Can you believe that?!
Megan was quite excited to try it; she did very well and kept the tractor on track the whole time. She drove three different vehicles within a day – side-by-side ATV, half-ton truck and the tractor.
On the contrary, I was super scared and nervous. Thanks to Megan and Jason’s encouragement; I finally gave driving the tractor a try.
The feeling of touching the steering wheel was unbelievable. I just tried to calm down and hold the steering wheel as tight as I could muster. Jason was confident enough in my abilities actually let me make a turn and drove the second line. He kept encouraging me, saying, “You are doing very well. You are on the right line.”
I was just worried about wasting his seeds.
I can say it was the coolest day in my life! And, I can now proudly tell my parents I drove a vehicle, a big tractor to be exact.
It was raining at the end of the day and we needed to rush back to the farm to make sure the seeds stayed dry.
This trip to Jason’s farm was an amazing opportunity for me to have practical experiences and broaden my knowledge about the agricultural industry. Everything about this day was my first time.
I learned a great deal about treated seed, fertilizer, water systems and seeding processes. Despite having been taught all those topics at school, I finally got to see how it works on a real farm. This authentic knowledge helped me develop professionally and become more passionate about the agricultural industry.
It is only the second week of my internship at Alberta Wheat Commission and I already feel like I am more immersed in agriculture. I am truly grateful for the amazing learning opportunities to further develop in my career.