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Write Field: First Year Out

David Kragnes' latest poem for Sugarbeet Grower reflects on his first year of retirement.

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David Kragnes tries to put things in perspective after his first growing season in retirement.
Emily Beal / Agweek file photo
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My first year of retirement’s over,
The harvest is rolling along,
I think by the time this is printed,
That lady might break into song.

The year was so late getting started,
In June expectations were low,
May never warmed nor quit raining,
Crops started out really slow.

But July could not have been nicer,
Then August kept up the good trends,
As if Mother Nature felt guilty,
And wanted to make some amends.

Harvesting wheat in September,
Often times doesn’t go well,
It usually means you’ll have stories,
Of troubles, next winter to tell.

But sunshine and temps unexpected,
Let harvest proceed at a pace,
That left time to hook up a topper,
Put plastic and end gates in place.

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Now with just dust in the beet fields,
And beans mostly all in the bin,
There will be lots of corn harvest,
And next year field prep will begin.

“So how is retirement going?”
My friends often ask of my wife.
“How has David been doing,
The first year of the rest of his life?”

It must be nice in the morning,
He has no particular task,
Leaving the day to accomplish,
Most anything that you should ask.

She says, last spring he seemed happy,
To not face the seasonal stress,
Of trying to wait with the patience,
That’s needed to not make a mess.

But summer passed and the sunshine,
Dried up the stress of the spring,
I think he started to wonder,
Just what the harvest would bring.

And harvest will stir up emotions,
Excitement and dust in the air,
He gets to see who farmed wisely,
And were July rain clouds unfair.

So what does he think of retirement,
Now that the first year is done?
I fear he’s forgotten the painful,
And misses the parts that were fun.

David Kragnes lives near Felton, Minnesota, and has retired from farming. He is a former board member and chairman of American Crystal Sugar Company, he currently serves on the CoBank Board of Directors.

Related Topics: SUGARBEETS
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