Retired Nebraska Farmer Editor Don McCabe recalls it was a cool, foggy day in October 1977 when equipment dealers and farmers began preparing for what was soon to become the Husker Harvest Days site on the southwest corner of the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, west of Grand Island. The first official HHD show would take place a year later in October 1978.
Accounting for the site preparation in 1977, this year will be the 40th anniversary of Husker Harvest Days. To commemorate this milestone, those of us at Nebraska Farmer and Husker Harvest Days are compiling photos of machinery from 1978 to include in a special 40th anniversary HHD show program. With enough participation from those willing to supply equipment, we'll also be kicking off each field demonstration with original machinery from 1978, as well as showcasing 1978 machinery along the Avenue of Flags at the visitor's entrance.
IRON OF DAYS GONE BY: This Vermeer tractor-mounted, four-row corn harvesting unit was one of the machines in the field at the first official Husker Harvest Days in 1978. This unit came in four-row or six-row units and featured optional ear corn or shelled corn harvesting units, which were mounted on the tractor's three-point hitch.
We know a lot of farmers out there love their old iron. We're asking you, our readers, to help us celebrate this occasion by sending us any photos you’ll share with us for publication in this year's show program.
Ideally, we'd like to receive any photos in a digital jpeg format. Of course, we realize this won't always be possible — most of your old photos will likely be in prints or slides. So, we're asking you to choose a quality photo or two of 1978 machinery or from your experience at HHD, and mail them to us. Also, don't send us originals; send copies. We won't be able to return these photos. Please include your name, address and approximate year when the photos were taken, and we'll be sure to give you credit. By sending us photos, you'll be giving us permission to use them in print and on the web at NebraskaFarmer.com.
Digital photos can be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected]. Prints or slides can be mailed to Nebraska Farmer, 4131 Pioneer Woods Drive, Suite 103, Lincoln, NE 68506. The deadline for photo submissions is July 1.
Meanwhile, HHD and the Nebraska Antique Farming Association (NAFA) are asking any farmers, machinery manufacturers or antique collectors who have functioning 1978 equipment and are interested in showcasing their machinery, either in field demonstrations or along the Avenue of Flags, to get in touch with us. This isn't just limited to iron — advertising banners, brochures or any other literature are also welcome.
The goal, says Howard Raymond, who is on the founding board of directors of the Nebraska Antique Farming Association, is to give people a sense of what agriculture was like in 1978 — and how far agriculture has advanced in technology and efficiency since.
Raymond, who is 62, came to Nebraska in the spring 1979 after moving from the family dairy in Pennsylvania. Now, he ranches near Wellfleet, and is an avid collector of antique Case IH tractors, including several Farmall F-20s from the 1930s.
"Our vision is to recreate on a small scale what it would have looked like in '78," says Raymond. "We thought we were pretty efficient in '78; we thought we were modern farmers. We think we're modern now, but we haven't seen anything yet. We're sitting on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to huge advancements. We can't imagine what we'll be doing in the next 40 years."
Any owners of 1978 machinery interested in participating can contact Raymond at [email protected].