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Erica Jennen says harvest is an intense period when her husband, Matt, is busy almost all of the time, but that she is able to bring the kids out to the field often where they can ride along with dad on the extra seat in the big S680 combine cab. Photo taken Oct. 25, 2017, Fergus Falls, Minn. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)

Fergus Falls' dad is busy in the combine, but family can ride along

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Matt Jennen farms west of Fergus Falls, Minn., and was nearly done with three-quarters of his corn crop on Oct. 30., after finishing with turtle beans in mid-September and soybeans in mid-October.

The Jennens had been harvesting corn since on Oct. 15 and felt fortunate because some farmers only a few miles away had been fighting more mud.

The Jennens' corn was averaging about 20 percent moisture, which is just about ideal for harvest, and storage at 14.5 to 15 percent with a little drying.

"Conditions are perfect here," he said. Matt farms with his general partner and brother, Brent, and their father, Tom, who farms separately. The Jennens planted more corn than soybeans this year, but otherwise kept their rotation the same as previous years.

"Yields have been pretty darned good," Jennen acknowledged, making the rounds with a John Deere S680 combine. The machine moves 473 horsepower and has a 400-bushel grain tank that can empty into a grain cart in less than two minutes. He said they wouldn't likely beat the record-high yields in 2016 but would be "pretty respectable."

This year's soybean yields also didn't beat 2016. The Jennens had some issues with white mold this year, but Matt describes yields as average to above-average.

Matt, 33, holds a degree in agricultural economics from North Dakota State University. Brent, 32, has a degree in ag systems management, also from NDSU. Each is married and has four young children.

Matt's wife, Erica, who grew up in Fergus Falls, Minn., and trained as a nurse at NDSU, showed up in the field with their girls — Ailie, 7, Emme, 4, Grace, 3, and Sylvie, 15 months.

Erica said Matt is busy through harvest, but never far away.

"We can come out and see him anytime," she said. "That's a luxury of a farmer's wife."

She and her sister-in-law, Tiffany, take turns bringing lunch to the field, and she and all four of her young children can fit into the combine cab.

"We've got a buddy seat and room for all of us," she said. "It's actually a time we've learned to love through the years. It has its challenges, being home all day with four girls, but but you look forward to it and always make it through just great. You look forward to seeing the seasons change and you learn to enjoy seeing the crop come off."

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