PARK — It's not often you'll find a couple guys from Holland waiting to cut grain sorghum — in Kansas or anywhere for that matter.
You see, they don't grow grain sorghum in Holland.
But half a world away, Wouter Ter Braak and Thomas Kool were doing just that, fueling up two massive John Deere combines and waiting for word that moisture levels in a field of grain sorghum outside the Gove County community of Park had dropped to acceptable levels.
Ter Braak and Kool are from Holland, in the United States to work for Hoxie farmer and custom cutter Shane Ochs, who frequently has hired some of his harvest crew from South Africa. While Kool is in the United States on a Holland visa, he originally hails from Brazil.
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When they're not on the road, they've been staying in Hoxie, where Ochs' harvesting and farming operation is based.
The idea is to give the Hollanders experience with the ways of custom cutting in the United States, as well as let them see the world.
"We are leaving the 30th of November," Ter Braak, 23, said, occasionally stumbling on his use of English. "We have been here six months."
A week ago, Ter Braak was taking a turn running the John Deere tractor, pulling a grain cart. He's operated combines along the way as well.
During his six months, he's traveled to Texas to cut wheat and headed back north to cut corn and grain sorghum in Kansas.
"It's a real nice experience," he said. "I like it really."
Back home in Rietmolen, Netherlands, Ter Braak hails from a farming family.
"My dad's got a farm," he said. "We are milking 80 cows."
They also raise poultry, about 12,000 of them for eggs.
Ter Braak actually works off the farm back home, driving a truck hauling manure. But it is apparently a tightly regulated practice in Holland, allowed only several months a year.
"If you are driving manure in December, you get a really big ticket," he said.
The differences don't stop there.
"Lots of manure from chickens go to Germany," he said.
There, he noted, the regulations aren't so tight.
"Farming in Holland is very different than in America," Ter Braak said. "Everything is small."
Holland, he said, is about half the size of Kansas, but has a population of about 17 million.
Farm fields in the United States are much bigger than in Holland, where fields might be 50 to 60 acres.
"In Holland, we've got a lot more trees," he said. "It's a nice place to go. I love Holland."
One of the big crops in Holland is potatoes.
"Not a lot of wheat," Ter Braak said. "No milo."
There's not much alfalfa either, mainly because it's too cold for the crop to grow.
Instead, they cut and bale grass, sometimes as often as five times a year.
During the time he has been in the United States, Ter Braak and the others have visited Hays.
"Hays is a nice town," he said. "And nice girls."
Yet, it's been difficult being away from home.
"Sometimes, it's hard because you miss your family," Ter Braak said.
But he's enjoyed the chance to go abroad, and he's been happy working for Ochs.
"He's very kind," he said.
The feeling is mutual.
"These guys are a treat," Ochs said, "these guys who come from Holland."