Tag : crew

Great American Wheat Harvest and Miss America 2011

Reposted from the Barn Anew Blog

The Barn was buzzing with excitement last week.  We were honored to be hosts to Conrad Weaver of ConjoStudios, LLC, producer of the documentary, “The Great American Wheat Harvest”.  Meeting at the Barn with him from Billings, Montana, were Melody Dobson of Baseline Communications and Jody Lamp of Lamp PR & Marketing.  To get the marketing campaign for the documentary jump started  Teresa Scanlan, 2011 Miss America, was also here to tape a PSA for the film, before she boarded a plane for the Middle East to visit with America’s troops. ”The Great American Wheat Harvest” tells the agricultural story of America’s wheat producers and the combine crews that travel the plains of the Midwest from Texas to the Canadian border.  Their annual cross country trek is a saga which captivated Conrad Weaver’s imagination and thus the impetus to create the film.  The documentary will tell the saga of America’s harvest crews, who cut deep furrows through 10 states, not only with the wide swaths that their combines and harvest machinery have sculptured the prairies with, but also the personal drama of deep human relationships, arduous work, tragedies and joys and celebrations.  It is an American story that all Americans need to know.  After having seen the film, you will definitely have a deeper appreciation for the loaf of bread that you lift from the grocery store shelf and load into your shopping cart.  And you will have a deeper respect for American agriculture!

Written by Cher Maybee of Barn Anew Bed & Breakfast.

Preparations for USCHI Convention

I’m making my final plans for the US Custom Harvesters convention March 1-3 in Grand Island, NE.  I will be there representing the Wheat Harvest Movie and talking with people about the project and what we’re planning on doing with the film.  I’ve printed my Wheat Harvest Business cards, and am working on a banner and other items for the booth.

My goal at convention is to raise awareness about the movie, and raise additional funds so we can begin production in May. My plan is to be in Texas in mid-late May to meet several crews who will begin harvest there. We’ll then be catching up with harvest crews off and on all Summer long, and probably even into the Fall of 2012. Be sure to check back to this blog for updates all throughout the convention, and perhaps even a LIVE video stream from the exhibit hall floor. More about that later.

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the National Association of Wheat Growers open house event. I met a ton of wheat growers and leaders of wheat organizations from all over the USA. It was a great event and it was awesome to meet so many people who are heavily involved in the wheat industry. Senator Baucus from Montana joined the group there and gave a short talk. (See photo).

As you may know the title: Wheat Harvest Movie is our current working title. It’s not the final name of this documentary. I’d love to hear your ideas for a name for our movie. Send me an email or message though this blog or through Facebook.

That’s all for this week… More updates coming next week.

The Wheat Harvest Movie

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Custom Wheat Harvesters to be Featured in Documentary

Original Article provided by Kansas Wheat Commission

Nov 23, 2011

Listen to the audio version here.

Promoting the 2013 feature film, “The Wheat Harvest Movie” are producer Conrad Weaver, custom harvesters Tracy and Jenna Zeorian and Moriah Wagner, movie publicist.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – For most communities throughout the Wheat Belt, harvest represents two weeks of non-stop action, one time a year. Custom crews hired to bring in the crop, however, spend four months battling Mother Nature, weariness, and breakdowns.
The plight of custom harvesting operations will be chronicled in an upcoming documentary entitled, “The Wheat Harvest Movie.” Currently in production by Conjostudios, LLC, it will debut in 2013. The operation owned by Jim and Tracy Zeorian is one of several to be featured in the movie, which according to producer/director Conrad Weaver will “… tell the stories, struggles and pleasure that custom harvesters share in time spent with family and friends harvesting the wheat that feeds the world.”

Several additional custom harvesting operations will be profiled, including JKD Harvesting of Colby; Misener Family Harvesters of Elk City, Oklahoma and Braathen Harvesting, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Tracy Zeorian, who is president of the U.S. Custom Harvesters Association, Inc., says being a custom harvester gets into one’s blood.

I’ve oftentimes said it is more of an addiction than anything. It’s something that you just love. It’s your lifestyle, like a farmer. It keeps you going, because that’s what you’ve been involved with. We’re ready to go as soon as the combine is put away, we’re looking forward to the next spring again,” Tracy says.

The Zeorian crew hails from Manley, Nebraska. Since 2009, its annual harvest campaign (along with that of three other crews) has been chronicled in a popular feature called, “All Aboard Harvest,” in the High Plains Journal newspaper. The All Aboard Harvest series has generated global interest in the custom harvesting business and the people who own and operate these custom harvest crews.

“I think the people that have found the HPJ series have enjoyed the stories they hear from the correspondents. It comes from the heart. People see that and realize how important we are in the link between the farmer and the market,” Tracy says.

The Zeorian crew has a rich history. About 60 years ago, Tracy’s grandfather and his brother founded their own custom operation. Tracy became a part of that crew as a 12-year-old girl, who wanted to help her grandmother keep the crew’s living quarters clean. Tracy’s grandfather invited her out to the field one day, and “…when grandpa taught me how to run the combine, I was hooked,” she recalled.

Tracy met her husband on the crew in 1975. He was a hired man, who eventually bought a combine of his own. In 1990, Jim and Tracy to took off on their own; now they run one combine and a truck, making stops in five states. Youngest daughter Taylor works in the family’s camper-trailer, cleaning, preparing meals and performing chores. Tracy drives a truck and Jim runs the combine. Older daughters Jenna and Jamie have also worked in the family business. Jim and Tracy’s youngest daughter is Callie.

“We get along very well. Everyone works together; no one job is more important than the other. We’re a team and we pull together. And once the job is done we load up, hit the road and start all over again,” Tracy said.

Taylor, Jenna and Jamie represent the fourth generation of Zeorians to make the harvest run. Tracy is involved in the U.S. Custom Harvesters Association, Inc., in part to ensure the industry’s future.

“There is another generation of harvesters that and that excites the heck out of me, because it will continue, just like farming,” she said. “I just hope the rules and regulations don’t discourage the young people.”

For more about the Jenna Zeorian’s All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog and photos, click on this link to the High Plains Journal project.

To view the trailer for the upcoming film, “The Wheat Harvest Movie,” click here.

Update on the Wheat Harvest Movie

Jim Zeorian checks condition of wheat

If you’re wondering whether the Wheat Harvest Movie project is still on…the answer is a huge YES!!   We’ve shot our initial footage this summer (read about our harvest adventures on the blog site: http://www.greatamericanwheatharvest.com/blog/ ) and are now working on raising the rest of the funds we need to make this movie happen.

Our plan moving forward is as follows:

1. Finish working on an updated movie trailer that we can use for promotions and fund-raising.

2. Raise the funds we need from companies that support the harvest: John Deere, New Holland, AGCO, Kansas Farm Bureau, and others. We’re also working on writing for grants from foundations and other organizations. We’re so glad the US Custom Harvesters organization has come on board as our primary sponsor! Without them, we couldn’t have even begun working on this!!

3. Next spring (2012) we begin full production on the film, following the harvest start to finish. We’ll begin by attending the USCHI convention in Grand Island, NE in March.  We’ll then connect with our harvest crews at their home bases to film harvest preparations and  follow them on their harvest run.

4. We’ll wrap up production in the Fall of 2012, begin editing, and have a finished product ready for national broadcast and distribution early in 2013. We hope to be able to have a premier at the same time as the 2013 USCHI convention; we’ll keep you posted on this.

Thanks for your interest, and please pass this information on to everyone who may be interested!

Conrad Weaver
Producer/Director, The Wheat Harvest Movie

PS: follow the Wheat Harvest Movie on Twitter: @wheat_harvest

A Message from the President of USCHI

USCHIA Message from the President of the U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

Hello! As president of U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., I want to thank you for your interest in “The Wheat Harvest Movie”! Nearly two years ago Conrad Weaver, President of ConjoStudios, LLC contacted me regarding his dream to produce a documentary following the annual wheat harvest. It’s our goal as an organization to make this dream a reality!

U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. is the only voice in America representing and promoting the custom harvesting industry. Our membership consists of 370 individual custom harvesting businesses and 170 industry support businesses. The organization works for the members by providing a positive voice when rules and regulations need challenged or created in Washington, D.C. We work to enhance the relationship between the custom harvesters, their clients (the American producer), service providers to the industry, and to the general public.

The custom harvesting industry has been around for more than 60 years with its beginnings dating back to World War II. Custom harvesters provide a vital link between the producer’s investment and the market. They provide the service of harvesting grain in a timely and efficient manner – sometimes trying to beat that storm cloud brewing on the horizon.

It’s the desire of U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. to help the “The Wheat Harvest Movie” make a connection between the agricultural world and the American public. We feel if consumers were more aware of where their food comes from, they will protect this valuable resource rather than pushing it out of business. If Americans forget where food comes from and have to begin importing food due to the rules and regulations that are pushing Ag industries out of business, it will be too late. Education is a tremendous tool to gain knowledge and this documentary
project is such a tool!

I would like to encourage you to jump on board and support this important documentary! Currently there is an effort in the agriculture world to tell the story of food production from start to finish, so the timing for the “Wheat Harvest Movie” is perfect! Your contribution – whether large or small – will benefit this important story which NEEDS to be told. Please help us make this dream a reality!


Tracy Zeorian, President
U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

With the Zeorian Crew in Limon, CO

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We’ve spent the past few days in Limon, CO with Jim Zeorian Harvesting. They have been more than gracious to us, and we’ve been able to shoot some really spectacular video: cutting wheat at sunset, unloading at the grain elevator and on the farm, riding in the combine and truck! Jim and Tracy and their two daughters run the operation here. Jim drives the truck, Tracy drives the combine, and the girls provide support from the trailer house at the campground. They have another day or two of cutting wheat here in Limon, then they will load up their equipment and head north to Jordan, MT.

We, on the other hand, will be wrapping up production for this trip and taking a break before connecting with harvest crews a little later this year as they finish up the wheat harvest for this year.  We’ll continue to provide updates and document our progress as the Wheat Harvest Movie begins to take shape.

If you would like to support this project, please visit our web site: www.wheatharvestmovie.com  You can make a donation and you can also order a Wheat Harvest Movie T-shirt.

Thanks for your support and continued interest in our project.

Conrad W.

Limon, CO

After a couple of days sightseeing and some much needed R & R we packed up the RV and headed south to Limon, CO where the Zeorian Harvesting crew has been for the past week. We arrived at the farm where they were cutting wheat just in time for a spectacular sunset and some great “beauty shots”. I’ll upload a few more pictures in a little while.

Conrad W.

Wrapping up in Gregory

We’re wrapping up in Gregory, SD and heading north toward Onida, SD connecting with several crews who are/or will be cutting wheat Thursday or Friday. The wheat has not been ready here in Gregory, but we did spend an awesome 2 1/2 days with the Misener family.

Laken will be posting more details about our stay in Gregory on Thursday.


Conrad W.

Arriving in Gregory, SD

Today we arrived in Gregory, South Dakota! You can look down the road and see for miles and the closest Walmart is 110 miles away, you really have to travel to get somewhere! We started off the day in Grand Island, Nebraska. Dad driving and everyone else asleep. We stopped at a Walmart to get some food then we headed down the road but went back to the Walmart to make and eat lunch. Sandwiches for everybody! After filling up our stomachs we headed to get an unbalanced tire, well…balanced. Dad met some pretty neat people while mom and I took the dog to a park where we swung on the swings and went on the teeter totter.

After all of that, we got loaded up on the RV once again and we’re off.  We went through a little town named Spencer and my brother got a picture next to the sign because his name is Spencer. Spence said that he felt appreciated because the town was named after him.  We kept moving along and stopped every once in a while to take a picture (of course).  We played cards and slept all the while poor old Dad was behind the wheel of the ferocious RV.  The dog was the queen of the RV always taking the front seat with the most air conditioning.

Finally after a long day of sitting around in the RV we arrived in Gregory, South Dakota.  We ate at a little diner named Ranch House. The food was excellent and we met some very nice people. After that we went back to the farm and set up camp. Dad and I went out to the wheat fields to shoot some B-Roll and take pictures. Mom and I went on a nice walk while Dad met the farmer and his wife (Tom and Lois).

We have enjoyed ourselves a lot today.  We look forward to the days ahead of shooting the Wheat Harvest Movie! Be sure to check back daily for our updates.

Laken W.