By Brian Buethe, President, CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development
July 2021 Newsletter Article
As a young man growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska, making hay was an important part of my summer routine. Sometimes I hated it and sometimes I loved it. At this point in my life, I look back on that activity and am glad I had the experience for several reasons.
For those of you that have baled hay, you know what I am talking about. To clarify my experience, I’m talking about standing on a hay wagon, with my bale hook in hand, being towed by a 3020 John Deere tractor and 24T square baler. When I was incredibly young, it was like a game for me. I was not working. Rather, I was on a ride watching an extraordinarily strong man (my father) and his brother (my uncle) load wagon after wagon with heavy square bales of alfalfa or prairie hay. Then later in the day, they would neatly stack all those same bales into one of the barns on our family’s farm.
Later, when I was a little older, they would let me drive tractor. While that felt like a lot of responsibility at the time, even then I knew that the real work was on that hay wagon. Finally, by the time I was a teenager, I was strong enough and eager to prove myself, manhandling bales. At first, it was hard, but the more I did it, I learned the proper techniques and, of course, became much stronger. By the end of my baling years, I loved it. It was once again a game to me. How high could we stack the hayrack, without it tipping over (which it sometimes did)? I would compete against others, but mostly myself.
Those years behind the square baler taught me many lessons, some of which I believe are relevant to the community of Grimes today. There is an old saying you may have heard that says “Make hay while the sun shines.” For those non-farmers out there, it means make the most of a favorable situation while it lasts. By the time the farmer or rancher is baling hay, a lot of work has been done to get the point of harvesting the crop. They had to have the land, plant the crop, cut the hay, windrow the hay, and ascertain all of the equipment to achieve those steps. They invested time and money and then prayed for rain, which did not always come.
As most can see, Grimes has been “making hay”. Several quality developments are underway as the community continues to grow and prosper. Like that crop of fine, leafy, perfectly dried alfalfa, the good things that are happening in Grimes today have required significant work and investment by many different people and entities. I believe that the sun will continue to shine on our community for years to come, but at some point, there will be inclement weather. So, for the time being, let us continue to work, invest, and pray, to that future generations can continue to reap great things for the good of our town.