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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I found this forum, or the old version of it when searching Google. I came across some folks who were wondering what became of the "custom harvester, who was in National Geographic" (back in August 1972).

Well, I think I can help! My name is Mikel Louder, son of Max Louder. If you've read the article, you'd remember me as a 5 year old "Lilliputian Drill Sargent" as described by writer Noel Grove.

The article "North with the Wheat Cutters" followed my dad/Max (harvest crew and family) on our annual harvest path from Texas to Montana. Writer Noel Grove and photographer Jim Sugar (from National Geographic) traveled with us in 1971 harvest season.

When the article came out in August of '72, we had moved to Pasco Washington and Max/dad started harvesting on irrigated farms in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and California.

Max/dad went on to run combines for another 20 plus years out west, retiring from the harvest run in 1995. He helped his former customers find custom cutters in 1996 & 1997 and officially retired in 1997.

He passed away at the age of 82 in July of 2007 and was posthumously inducted into the Custom Harvesters Hall of Fame in March 2008. U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. - Hall of Fame

My mother and I traveled to Texas and accepted on his behalf. The ceremony was attended by family, friends, former crew and a former customer (farmer).

It was rather ironic that the ceremony was in Wichita Falls (Texas), as for 20 plus years, dad had started his annual harvest run just down the road in Munday Texas. Kenneth Baker, who's father was one of my dad's customers in Munday for many years attended the ceremony as well.

If you'd like to see photos, read more about Max/dad , his accomplishments after National Geographic, and his 50 years as a Custom Harvester, please visit the tribute page on my website at: ML Harvesting - A Tribute to Max Louder

Of course if you have questions, feel free to ask. Although I was very young back during the National Geographic years, my mother is still living and she can answer questions that I can't. and I can cover the questions after we moved west and I was old enough to work for my dad.

Sincerely,

Mikel M. Louder
MML Photo
Mikel M. Louder Photography, Freelance Commercial Photographer
 

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Would that have been the same article that was in the Readers Digest about that time, I may even have a copy of that ?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
jdboy, I don't know about an article in Readers Digest? It's not the same one as National Geographic, to the best of my knowledge.

Years later (1980) they did make the movie "Amber Waves" (starring Dennis Weaver, Kurt Russell and Mare Winningham). The story was loosely based on "North with the Wheat Cutters", although you likely wouldn't know it from the movie.

As Noel Grove told me, "He couldn't watch Amber Waves, as they "Hollywoodized" the National Geographic story".
 

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Reader's Digest

jdboy - the Reader's Digest article highlighted Abe Neufeld Harvesting out of Inman, KS.The article was printed in September, 1980. Abe's son, Keith, is carrying on the family business these days.
 

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amber waves was filmed around here we all had a good laugh when they were shovelling grain around in the back of a truck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Was that Bernard Kretchmar of Medford, Okla. that is running the combines in the picture with 10 combines ?
Yes, the first 5 combines belonged to my dad (Max Louder). The second 5 belonged to Bernie.

We didn't typically harvest in one field/circle like that. Just did it that day for the picture. It was taken in 1978 at SimTag Farms between Boardman and Arlington Oregon.

Mikel
 

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Discussion Starter #11
RE: Article from National Geographic

Anyway i could get a copy of the article from National Geographic? Thanks in advance.
It's been out of print for YEARS!! I know some people are finding the magazine at garage sales and on ebay. I'd suggest searching the web/internet.

Hope that helps.

Mikel M. Louder
 

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I was hired by Max Louder in September or October of 1965 in Cut Bank, Montana. I was visiting relatives there and my car broke down. Max was kind enough to hire me so that I could make enough money to return home to Chicago. Very fond memories of Max and his wife.
 
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