Cotton harvester makes a special announcement
Like many couples, Chad and Heather Hardy of Haywood County, Tennessee, have struggled with infertility. Finally, after nearly four years, they were thrilled to learn Heather was expecting earlier this year.
"I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2021 after 2 years of undiagnosed infertility and referred to a fertility specialist," she says. "We found a great clinic in Nashville and started the IVF process."
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During the years of waiting and hoping, the couple thought a lot about how they would share their news with family and friends, specifically the gender of the baby, at a gender reveal party.
Since farming is such a big part of their lives, the Hardys wanted to have a farm-themed reveal. Heather says her parents, Jeff and Karen Hill, always included her and her siblings at the farm. "Most of my early memories involve the farm and helping out while on school breaks," she says.
Chad joined Heather's father and brother working full time on the family's 5,000-acre cotton, corn, and soybean operation shortly after the couple was married in 2016. Heather left her previous career and joined them this year.
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"Chad's family got out of farming when he was young, but he grew up spending the summers on his family's home place in the Mississippi River bottom in Halls, Tennessee, and helping neighboring farmers as soon as they would let him," Heather says."
Since 75 percent of the farm is dedicated to the cotton crop, Heather wanted to somehow incorporate the cotton harvester into their reveal. "We watched many friends in our local farming community announce their babies using various pieces of farm equipment but we had yet to see anyone use a cotton harvester," Heather says. "Since we did IVF, we were able to find out the gender sooner than most couples and I wanted to have the party before harvest got started in our area."
Heather and her dad got to work. "We pulled one of the machines out of the shed and started brainstorming how we could send the powder out of the pipes that typically carry cotton from the header to the accumulator," she says. "We started with cornstarch and then progressed to small amounts of colored powder you would find at a party store. We tested the final design using cut up farm magazines and a small amount of powder before calling it good and replicating the design on all of the headers. It worked out perfectly that the machines have 6 headers, so my husband and I along with our parents each pulled a string to release the powder and confetti."
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No one knew the gender other than Heather's aunt and uncle, who were tasked with filling the pipes with almost 25 pounds of powder and confetti the day of the party. "We were surrounded by family and friends as an afternoon thunderstorm blew up," Heather says. "We decided to speed up our timeline and had our big reveal right before the storm came through."
It's a ...
Chad and Heather and their parents lined up in front of the cotton harvester, each holding a string attached to a pipe. When the strings were pulled, a giant cloud of pink powder and confetti burst into the sky, and shouts of joy erupted from the friends and family who had gathered.
"The people that saw it in person were extremely excited and the kids there thought it was the coolest," Heather says. "Everyone said it was the most fitting thing we could have done. I have a 3-year-old cousin that was there in person but has since watched the video almost daily."
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Since the video was shared on social media, the couple has had a lot of positive feedback from people they don't even know. "Some have reminisced about being a farmer’s daughter and others have been curious about what the piece of equipment is," Heather says. "It has been an unexpected way to share what we do on the farm and more specifically what goes into growing and harvesting cotton."
Of course, the Hardys would've been overjoyed regardless of the gender, and they're so thankful to have a reason to celebrate. "We are just tickled to welcome a baby girl in early February 2023," Heather says. "She'll have quite the farm resume before her first birthday."
Watch the video below:
Photos above: Parents- and grandparents-to-be Jeff and Karen Hill, Heather and Chad Hardy, and Tammie and Joe Hardy learn a baby girl will be joining their family; Heather and Chad Hardy pose with a pink outfit for their new baby. Photographs by Sera Pulley, Sera Lynn Photography.