Memorial Weekend turns Vogts into a farmer

This Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend were different for me. Normally, I would have been practicing my trumpet in shear panic because I would be playing taps at Canton’s Memorial Day service. I didn’t do that this year. I didn’t even play taps because I stayed home in western Kansas.

Instead, I became a farmer.

No, I didn’t wear bib overalls and a straw hat, but I did assist my roommate, Jerod Horchem, in planting a field of milo.

We started off by getting the drill ready and loading bag after bag of seeds into the hopper. We also fixed up hoses and pumped for fertilizer and pesticides. Then we headed for the field.

While Jerod began to make his rounds, I held his father, Gary Horchem, get a sprayer ready to dump chemicals over the newly planted seeds.

Once Gary was also in the field following Jerod, I sat down on the tailgate of Jerod’s truck and began to enjoy the evening. Then Jerod called me from the tractor. He asked if I wanted to ride with him. I don’t know if he heard my answer because I took off at a dead sprint, at least as fast as I run, toward the tractor out in the field.

I climbed aboard, excited like a little kid getting to take part in the family farming.

I even became hopeful I would get to drive the tractor, but I quickly realized even Jerod wasn’t really driving. The GPS system was. It kept the tractor going in a straight path as we wound our way back and forth across the field. The only time he had to touch the steering wheel was when it was time to turn around.

It was pretty sweet.

At the end of the day, though I had actually done very little besides eat the delicious meals Jerod’s mother, Luann Horchem, had made, I still felt pretty important. I knew then I was a farmer.

Maybe next time I’ll even get to turn the tractor around at the edges of the field.

Of course, I did get to ride another tractor of sorts most of Memorial Day. I even got to drive. But sadly, it was not a farming tractor. It was a lawn mowing tractor.

From about noon until 9 p.m. Monday, I mowed. First, I mowed at the house I now live in north of Arnold. Then I mowed the Horchem Farm, not to be confused with the Horchem Ranch where Gary and Luann live.

It took forever, and my allergies hated me for it; however, it helped implant the fact I was a farmer. I mean, I mowed a farm yard, right?

With wheat harvest fast approaching, I have a feeling I will continue to become even more of a farmer, especially since I got quite a bit of practice driving Jerod’s manual-transmission truck during the weekend. I am confident I will learn to not kill the engine and skip gears very soon.

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About toddvogts 819 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at