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Wheat People - Part 7

Marion elevator, 1998

Celebrating Kansas Harvest

To Market, To Market

"Our Co-Op employees really go that extra mile during harvest. . . . They put in long hours, almost working around the clock at times, trucking out during the night and moving grain around."
--Marge Summervill, Marion, 1998

Harvest is the most important time of the year for rural residents. It means a paycheck for everyone--farmers, custom cutters, and local businesses.

The local grain elevator becomes Grand Central Station during harvest. People, trucks, and wheat constantly move in and out.

Elevator offices bustle with people sampling and testing grain while long lines of trucks form outdoors. Some drivers climb out of their trucks to get the latest news and catch a cool breeze.

What happens to wheat at an elevator?

Duane Reif, Great Bend Cooperative at Boyd, 1998

First, the loaded truck drives onto a large platform scale outside the elevator office.

There a worker records its weight. A probe is plunged into the load to take a sample of grain.

Duane Reif empties a probe full of grain at a truck at the Great Bend Cooperative, Boyd, 1998 (top, left).


Workers unload a semi-truck  filled with grain at the Mulvane elevator, 1998.Next, the trucker drives to the elevator and dumps wheat through floor grates into a pit.

At the same time, workers in the office test the wheat sample for moisture content (wheat spoils if it's too wet) and test weight (good kernels are plump and heavy). If these factors are unacceptable, the elevator passes on a dock, or price cut, to the farmer.

Workers at the Mulvane elevator shoveling wheat from a grain truck, 1998 (center, left).


Betty Wallace and Dana Parsons visit with a local farmer in the  Cargill elevator office at Cleveland, 1998.Finally, the truck returns to the platform to be weighed again.

The trucker gets a ticket listing the number of bushels and the test information, and quickly drives off to return to the field.

A local farmer visits with Betty Wallace and Dana Parsons inside the Cargill elevator office at Cleveland, 1998.




Wheat People: Celebrating Kansas Harvest is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Wheat History - Corn used to be "King" in Kansas
  2. Gearing Up - Getting ready for harvest
  3. On the Run - Everybody moves quickly
  4. Family - Coming together in the fields
  5. Fast Food - Meals are a social event
  6. Nature - June is a stormy month
  7. To Market, To Market - The local grain elevator
  8. The Season's End - Harvest festivals
  9. Business or Way of Life? - Farming is both

Contact us at kshs.kansasmuseum@ks.gov