What is in a number?

By: 
Dan Misener Treasurer, U.S. Custom Harvesters Elk City, OK

What is in a number? 2, 1969, 31, 365, 7 billion: These are just numbers right? I disagree. They all have significant importance to me as an individual. 

Number two for example: I am a second generation U.S. custom harvester. What is a custom harvester? We are individual business owners who load up our lives in a camper along with our combines, semis, tractor and grain carts and move to Texas in early May to start harvesting wheat. We cut in one location for about two weeks before we load up and move north about 200 miles and do it all over again. We do this from the first week of May through the end of August. My late father, Ron Misener, started the family operation in 1969. When he passed away, the business stayed in the family and I took over operations.

I am a board member of an organization called U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., an organization, founded 31 years ago. We are a member-based organization of about 370 harvesters. Each one of us follows the harvest trail from the southern part of the U.S. to the northern part.

Our organization consists of some numbers as well: 

  • 925 combine harvesters and 215 forage harvesters, Worth $363,500,000 
  • 4,925 employees hired to help harvest 
  • $64,025,000 spent in hired labor 
  • 7,550,000 acres harvested each year by our membership 
  • 25,875,000 gallons of fuel consumed by harvesting equipment 
  • 92,000 tires on the ground

Why do we spend this much time, effort and money? Because it is what we do. It is who we are. It is who I am and what I do. I am excited to be involved in agriculture. It is our contribution to help feed 7 billion people each year. Over the next 40 years, we have to increase our production to feed the 9 billion people living on this world in 2050. 

A number is just a number, until you see the significance of it. It is amazing what we are capable of doing in this great country. Getting our story out there is our job. To help cultivate the people who are unaware of the time, effort, talent and heart that goes into producing that loaf of bread, that piece of meat, that apple. It is not just a job; it is a lifestyle. 

I am proud of where I came from, what we are doing, and where we have the potential of going. God bless America.