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Background Information

Employment History

Board Member

U.S. Custom Harvesters , Inc.

Web References (27 Total References)

U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. [cached]

Front Row L to R: Jon Orr, Tracy Zeorian, Kent Braathen

Kent Braathen PRESIDENT: 1225 Russet Circle Grand Forks, ND 58201 Cell: 218/779-9650 Email:

Kent Braathen, President, ... [cached]

Kent Braathen, President, U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

Kent Braathen, President, ... [cached]

Kent Braathen, President, U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc.

Making The Cut | Performance Stories | MacDon [cached]

Much of America's Wheat Crop is Cut by Professional Custom Harvesters like Kent Braathen.

Among this group of agricultural "guns-for-hire" you will find the President of the U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. (USCHI), Kent Braathen*.
A second-generation custom harvester himself, Braathen has been cutting since 1971 when he started helping his dad with local contracts near the family's grain farm at Starkweather, North Dakota.
"I grew up doing this," said Braathen who adds that the lifestyle is definitely not for everybody.
Braathen now runs his business out of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and partners with Scott Brown from Devils Lake, North Dakota, says that the wheat harvest will take him from Vernon, Texas, all the way back to Kenmare, North Dakota, in the fall.
But for Braathen, who's in it primarily because he loves to drive the equipment says, "It's like being a kid and getting to play with the big toys everyday! Those hardships and challenges just make the whole experience more of an adventure.
"You can get addicted to it; the chance to go harvest different areas and different crops. You make a game out of it to see how many acres you can do each year, and if you can do more than last year."
Over his more than four decades of cutting, Braathen says that he has seen a lot of changes in harvesting, and one of the biggest is the increasing size of the farms he cuts for.
Braathen says that this is having a significant impact on custom harvesters.
Braathen, who had four South Africans on his crew in 2014, says that USCHI is working on two fronts to help custom harvesters acquire the foreign workers they need.
Braathen says that he not only invests about a month every year training his new hires, he must also ensure that his equipment is as easy to operate as possible.
And being able to take a bigger cut will only become more important says Braathen, as more and more of the harvest seems to depend on fewer and fewer people.
"The demand for custom harvesting is not going away. There will always be a need to get the crop off in a timely manner, and with less farmers to do it our services will only become more important."
*At the time this story was written, Kent was President of USCHI, now John Orr is the new President of USCHI.

USCHI President, Kent ... [cached]

USCHI President, Kent Braathen of Grand Forks, N.D. "We're a strong organization with deep roots and need a bigger agricultural voice in Washington, D.C., on labor and other issues that directly affect our livelihoods as we harvest the crops that feed the world."

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