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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Moldovan follows U.S. harvest

  • Six months of work in the U.S. supports Ion Vatamanu for a year.
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  • Ion Vatamanu looks like any other harvest crew truck driver as he drives his truck from the wheat field to the grain elevator and back again for another load of wheat.
    While his harvest crew, Haraseth Brothers Harvesting, is based in Nekoma, N.D., Vatamanu lives much further away in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe.
    This 28-year-old bachelor drives truck for the harvest crew and on occasion he will also drive a combine.
    He doesn't mind the hot, dry, windy weather on the Kansas plains. This is his fourth summer with Haraseth Harvesting and he is used to the long hours each day.
    Vatamanu's work with the North Dakota harvest crew began in 2010 but his American journey began in 2006 when he found work in America through "Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs," an American based organization that provides work in the agriculture industry in the U.S. for people from all around the world.
    Vatamanu was attending the state agriculture university when he heard about the program and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. He got his agriculture visa and headed to America.
    During his first year in 2006 he lived in Montana from May to November then moved to Florida and made gift boxes. In 2007 he moved to Ohio and worked on a vegetable farm that provided produce for restaurants through 2009.
    Starting in 2010, he found work at Haraseth Farms in North Dakota. He works on the 7,000-acre farm, owned by the Haraseth brothers Gary and Rodney, that grows wheat, barley and canola.
    He spends six months in the U.S. where he makes enough money to go home to Moldoza and works in his parents' vineyard.
    The income is the main reason he continues to work in the program. He also gets to travel around America and gains valuable farm experience.
    "The U.S. is a good place to see," Vatamanu said.
    While his English is good, he does have a problem understanding all the American phrases so it is sometimes difficult for him to communicate.
    Vatamanu hopes one day to have a family and be able to give his children a good future.
    The Republic of Moldova is a small land locked country between Romania on the west and Ukraine on the east. It has population of about 4 million and is a little smaller than Connecticut and New Jersey combined.
    For information about CAEP visit the web site at caep.org to learn how to get involved with the program and how to become a sponsor.
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