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Brad Nelson

In Tales of a Hay Hauler, Brad Nelson shares his unique perspective of the forage industry through his hay-hauling experiences, skillfully woven through storytelling and humor.

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Many years ago, I noticed a sign in a mechanic’s office which was visible to customers. ‘Shop rate, $25 per hour. If you watch, $35 per hour. If you help, $50 per hour. Box jobs, full shop rate plus $10. No whining.’

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Anybody out there remember Germade? It’s a breakfast cereal made from wheat, just a bit coarser than Cream-of-Wheat. Growing up, it was preferred to oatmeal, which we sometimes had. It came home from the store in bags – cloth and finally paper.

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The summer I turned 10, Dad sold the farm, bought a small motel, and I became a city kid. Accustomed to dealing with milk cows morning and night, tractors, hay balers, combines and irrigation ditches, I was out of my element.

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We did get loaded before we got “darked on.” By the time we made it to the Hill City, Idaho scale, we were being snowed on. After we loaded, I retrieved the pot of chili from the cab of the truck and the propane camp stove.

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When hauling bulk potatoes out of potato sheds in the winter in southern Idaho, one thing you never wanted to do is pass the last café en route to loading unless you had just eaten. Too many ifs and maybes.

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‘Finish the job’ heart

It was the summer my brother Neal was my main hay bale-throwing helper. He was the only one of us to whom football was important. (This good-sized kid, almost as big as me, was infuriated he was not quite big enough for a serious college football career.)

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