The Northern Neck’s farming heritage

Rawleigh Simmons drives the tractor while Stan Mitchell and Alan Welch load the cut wheat to ready for threshing.

by Jackie Nunnery

For generations, farmers have harvested small grain this time of year.

Threshing, the process of separating grain from the husks and straw, was a labor-intensive process before the threshing machine came along. Because they were expensive, most farmers did not own one, so threshing crews would travel from farm to farm throughout the Northern Neck to help harvest the grain.

Eventually, they were replaced by combines, so named because…