Kara Anderson, 22, guides a 14-ton combine through a sea of wheat on a farm once owned by her great-great-grandfather. Harry Winslow, more fondly remembered as Yankee Brown, started farming on this land between Sperling and Morris, in 1907. Today his descendants — Joe Anderson, his wife Pat, and kids Kaylie, 27, Riley, 25, Kara, 22, Cheyenne, 16, and Tessa, 15 — farm the land 109 years later. During harvest, Kara and her family do whatever it takes to get the crop off the field, maneuvering massive, tank-like, machines into the night, leaving only billows of dust and chaff in their wake.
"I’m proud to work with my family and carry on our farm to the sixth generation," Kara says, as she monitors the depth of the large spinning blade that slices through the wheat miraculously separating it from the head. "Harvest is my favourite time of year and I’m honoured that my dad and brother trust me with this task during the harvest season."
Kaylie, the oldest sibling, has worked on the farm since she was eight. She now works full time as a paramedic, but like the rest of the family, she loves to help out during harvest and takes her holidays in the fall just to drive the wheat cart. The combine empties the wheat into the cart while it keeps moving through the field. The cart is then loaded onto waiting trucks and delivered to holding bins until it can be sold.
Riley works full time on the farm, driving the loaded trucks to the bins and overseeing all of its operations throughout the year. He says farming is in his blood and plans to eventually take over for his family and move it into the next generation. At age 25, he is very young in this aging industry.
The Anderson’s youngest two daughters, Cheyenne and Tessa, work closer to home by managing the yard and feeding the crew. Both love their roles and say they will always help out on the farm during harvest even if they have different careers.
"It’s very grounding," says Kara, humbly. "There is weight to what you do." Eighty per cent of agricultural commodities produced by Canadian farmers are exported. Some of the exports go to countries that can’t grow enough food to feed themselves. She is very proud they can make a difference on a world level. "It’s also really cool to be going about your day and think how proud your great-great-grandparents would feel about their work continuing on in their grandkids. It’s not something that you can just up and walk away from," Kara says.