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Our Impact

2023 Weekly Highlights

November 17, 2023 - The Finish Line

It has truly been a busy assistance year at Farm Rescue, dating back to our first planting operations in mid April. Since that time, our volunteers and staff have worked diligently to provide support to dozens of farm families in crisis throughout our 8-state service territory. In early spring, multiple tornado-producing storms impacted communities in Iowa and Illinois, resulting in catastrophic damage and loss for numerous family farming operations. This was the beginning of our efforts in the field, as our volunteers sprang into action to assist these families during an especially crucial planting season. Our Angels in Blue and equipment continued their seeding work through the first week of June, when the final crops were planted in our northern region. A couple weeks later, our first harvest assistance crew converged near Palestine, IL, to begin combining winter wheat for another family recovering from a devastating tornado. This case also represented a major milestone for Farm Rescue as our 1,000th family to receive support. We were blessed to have additional help in commemorating this event from John Deere, Nutrien Ag Solutions and many others. It was a day we'll never forget and we appreciate everyone who made it possible. Our efforts continued steadily throughout the remainder of summer and fall, helping other family operations bring in both small grain and row crop harvests, along with several haying assistances cases. Our staff and volunteers participated in many sponsor events, trade shows and community fundraisers throughout this time, as well. We are humbled by the support we have received on so many levels, and it fills us with great pride that such a large number of people truly believe in the work being done through Farm Rescue.

This week marked the end of our harvest assistance operations for 2023, as the final passes were made for a pair of farm families in Iowa and North Dakota. Crew number one was able to wrap up their efforts near Everly, IA, last weekend for an operation dealing with multiple health issues. The mother of the family is in the midst of a breast cancer battle, with an upcoming surgery scheduled to help combat the disease. The husband's father and farming partner was diagnosed with ALS last spring, which has greatly affected his ability to work on the farm. Our volunteers were honored to help harvest the remainder of the family's corn acres, along with rolling and transporting a large number of corn stalk bales. After several weather delays, which included a few inches of snow just a couple weeks back, crew number two was finally able to resume their assistance operations for a family near Streeter, ND. Their 9-year-old son has been critically ill, due to a chronic condition that puts pressure on his brain and requires neurosurgeries to alleviate that pressure. To date, he has undergone 10 separate neurosurgeries, with the latest procedure resulting in a two-week stay in the ICU. To add even more stress to the situation, their soybeans were nearly ready and they knew this year's crop would be more important than ever to their family and farming operation. Our Farm Rescuers were privileged to provide a bit of support during this very difficult time, and thanks to a warmer-than-average few days, they were able to complete their last field yesterday afternoon. With Harvest 2023 now in the books, our field operations duo of Luke Benedict and Ben Smith, have been working alongside several volunteers to transport equipment and ready our fleet for the winter months ahead. Multiple combines are being delivered to the local John Deere dealers who were gracious enough to help source these vital machines for our harvest assistance operations. A very special thank you to John Deere for sponsoring the use of these combines and for coordinating support from so many incredible dealers within their network - specifically Gooseneck Implement, PrairieLand Partners, AKRS Equipment, RDO Equipment and Sloan Implement, who helped source and service these top-of-the-line machines. They tackled many acres and served our volunteers and farm families very well! Speaking of volunteers, I can never truly express our appreciation for the work they do, serving as our boots on the ground in support of this life-changing mission. We had many volunteers step up to answer the call this year, and although I would love to list each and every one by name, this update would look more like a page out of the phone book. However, I encourage you to scroll through some of our previous weekly highlights and take notice of just how many do-gooders have served our organization throughout 2023. It brings me great joy to meet more of these selfless individuals each year and see the impact of their work firsthand. As usual, I'd like to give special praise to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Vane Clayton, Skip Henton, Larry Lier, Kyle Thormodson, Sam Kupferschmid, Jon Walter and Steph Walter. Thank you all for your dedication!

It has been said many times before, but the accomplishments and milestones listed above would never be possible without an incredible team effort by our volunteers, sponsors, donors, staff, board of directors and those who share our mission with others. When our president and founder, Bill Gross, planted the very first seeds of assistance with Farm Rescue back in 2006, I don't think he ever imagined it would grow into what it is today. We are honored to extend a helping hand to farm families in crisis, and although we've been blessed to serve more than a thousand operations throughout our history, we look forward to serving thousands more in the years to come. Thank you for your continued support of Farm Rescue!

Until next season,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


November 10, 2023 - Volunteers Beyond Compare

The clock is surely ticking on the 2023 harvest season, but thankfully, Mother Nature was kind enough to offer her cooperation this week during most of our ongoing assistance efforts. Crew number one was able to complete their remaining corn acres for a farmer near Laurel, NE, who is currently undergoing bone cancer treatments at a facility in Boston. Our volunteers were truly honored to work alongside his father and son to bring in this vital crop for their family operation. Crew number two also crossed the finish line with their work late last week for a family near Independence, IA, dealing with illness. I mentioned in my last update how our volunteers were blessed to receive several meals and additional support from a number of businesses and organizations during this assistance operation. These acts of kindness only reinforced how well-respected this family is within their community, and we were privileged to provide a hand up to their operations during a very difficult time. Crew number three was happy to complete the remainder of their corn acres, as well, for a family near Elma, IA. This longtime farmer is still dealing with the mental anguish of losing his wife, in addition to several ongoing health issues. Our volunteers were glad to offer a bit of respite to this farmer, as he continues his mourning and recovery. Crew number four continued their work near Everly, IA, this week for another family dealing with numerous health issues. The mother of the operation is currently battling breast cancer, with an upcoming surgery scheduled for mid-November. The husband's father and farming partner is also battling ALS. They have been a wonderful family to work with and our volunteers are honored to extend a helping hand during this vital corn harvest. A fifth volunteer crew has been working near Moorhead, IA, throughout the week for a family operation in the midst of an illness. Thanks to some dry weather, they hope to complete their final acres sometime today. Slightly above average temps throughout our northern territory have contributed to a significant amount of snow melt, which had our sixth volunteer crew hopeful they would be able to resume operations near Streeter, ND, on Thursday or Friday of this week. However, another weather system pushed through the area yesterday, bringing a bit of rain and light snow to the region. Our Farm Rescuers began harvesting a few hundred acres of beans for this operation, prior to the arrival of some late-October snowfall. This family includes a very brave 9-year-old boy, who has already undergone ten neurosurgeries throughout his life and recently spent time in a critical care facility that delayed the family's harvest. Our team is anxious to get back in the field to complete the remainder of their crop. One of our recent harvest assistance cases near Dundas, MN, also included some additional support from local Anheuser-Busch distributor - College City Beverage. This week, they hosted a second "Keep the Pint" fundraising event in Dundas, with a meal and check presentation to follow. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity and look forward to helping many more families in crisis, thanks to their financial contributions. 

One of the biggest projects for the week involved one of our longtime sponsors - John Deere Seeding Group of Valley City, ND. They have been wonderful supporters of Farm Rescue’s mission throughout our history, sponsoring equipment and replacement parts to keep field operations running smoothly. In 2018, John Deere Seeding Group sponsored replacement seed discs on Farm Rescue’s 1890 John Deere air seeding units, with several employees volunteering to perform this extensive service work. In 2022, they also donated new rock shafts and other state-of-the-art components to overhaul these same air seeding implements. This year, the company has gone above and beyond yet again to provide new run blockage components and software updates on Farm Rescue’s air seeding units. These upgrades will add current technology and operational capabilities to our machines, which were originally purchased in 2017. Yesterday, around two dozen John Deere Seeding Group employees volunteered their time and talents to install these components on our air seeding implements. Organizers of the North Dakota Winter Show were also kind enough to donate indoor space for this work to be completed, with Wild Prairie Bakery donating both breakfast and lunch to our hardworking volunteers. We couldn't have asked for a better crew to assist with these updates and we are thankful beyond words for the support we continue to receive from John Deere and it's Valley City Seeding Group.

Harvest may be winding down, but we still have many volunteers to thank for carrying out this Good Samaritan work. A big thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  David Endorf, John Robertson, Glenn Biederman, Frank Shaler, Rick London, Paul Wannaka, Tim Marquardt, Bryce Larson, Vane Clayton, Skip Henton, Gaylen Weisenburger, Mike Youngblood, Gary Krieger and Mitch Krause.

Another special thank you goes out to the wonderful volunteer crew from John Deere Seeding Group, who sacrificed a day off to support our mission:  Cory Reynolds, Kevin Pietsch, Heather Pecka, Skye Voigt, Tanaya Leifson, Gwen Dally, Justin Tabor, Jerrod Kneeland, Nick Machart, Cara Kamstra, Shane Anderson, Brooke Higdem, Jackie Hafele, Randy Ramirez, Ben Almberg, Trenton Carlson, Brandon Halberg, Donner Yorke, Sara Faith, Mitch Holmgren, Samantha Chapman and Dale Patrick. 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


November 3, 2023 - Southern Maize, Northern Delays & FFA

Following a week that ushered in the arrival of winter throughout much of our northern footprint, we've seen a bit of melting despite the persistence of some chillier temps. These conditions continue to delay some of our ongoing operations in the Dakotas, but thankfully, work has resumed in other areas of the Corn Belt region. Crew number one was able to get back in the field yesterday near Laurel, NE, to assist a farmer battling bone cancer. He will be at treatment center in Boston through late-December and our team is working alongside his father and son to harvest their remaining corn. We also received a generous surprise from the kind folks at Eagle Distributing, who presented our volunteers with a check for $5,000 to support our mission. Crew number two has spent the week near Independence, IA, assisting family dealing with illness. Our volunteers have been working hard to bring in the family's corn crop. We'd like to extend a very special thank you to the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Pioneer Seeds for delivering lunches to our crew in the field, as they continued their efforts. Crew number three is harvesting corn for a family in Elma, IA, as a longtime farmer deals with the mental anguish of losing his wife, in addition to several ongoing health issues. We are honored to extend a bit of support during a very important time for their operation. Crew number four is also working the corn fields of Iowa this week for a family near Everly. The mother of this operation is battling breast cancer, with an upcoming surgery scheduled for mid-November. This couple has three young children and the husband's father, who is a partner in the operation, is also battling ALS. Needless to say, this farming season has presented many new challenges for this family and we are privileged to lighten their burden a bit. Two other assistance operations are currently on hold in Streeter and Stirum, ND, due to recent snowfall and wet field conditions. 

As our volunteers and staff work to coordinate the moving parts of our field operations, another team of Farm Rescuers and around 70,000 young adults, advisors and exhibitors have descended upon Indianapolis, IN for the National FFA Convention. Farm Rescue is beyond honored to again be featured in the John Deere booth for this incredible event, which celebrates the future leaders in agriculture. Throughout the past couple days, our staff and volunteers have enjoyed many conversations and new connections with youth attendees and agribusiness representatives. It's been an amazing opportunity to share the mission of Farm Rescue with thousands of others who strive to support American agriculture. We are pleased to say the future of farming is in good hands!

Another pair of volunteers are spending the next few days transporting some of our seeding equipment to Valley City, ND, for several important upgrades, courtesy of our friends at John Deere Seeding Group. I look forward to sharing more about this project next week! We are forever grateful to our dedicated volunteers for serving as our boots on the ground to carry out our assistance efforts, but we are especially thankful this week for several volunteers who sprung into action at a moment's notice to fill some unexpected gaps on our crews. These incredible good Samaritans continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to extend a helping hand to farm families in crisis. A big shoutout to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field, on the road and behind the booth:  Vane Clayton, David Parker, Dean Anderson, Ron Gosse, Mark Gerdes, Glen Biederman, Frank Shaler, Ron Donohue, David Endorf, John Robertson, Skip Henton, Gary Krieger, Mike Youngblood, Ryan Barbee, Erv Geisler, Nathan Alber, Jim Rose and Laurie Rose.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 27, 2023 - A Stop in the Action

Weather delays are not uncommon in the world of farming, but this time of year those delays can last a bit longer depending on the type of the moisture that's fallen. This week, much of our service territory experienced precipitation that ranged from heavy rain to around a foot of snow in areas further north. Despite these disruptions from Mother Nature, our volunteers still made some good progress at several assistance cases before the stoppage. 

Crew number one was able to complete their efforts near Greenfield, IA, last weekend for a farmer battling colon cancer. After a successful surgery to remove a portion of his intestine last week, this producer has begun his recovery and hopes to be back in the field come spring. We were honored to provide support during a very important corn harvest for this family operation. We also received some additional generosity during this case, courtesy of our friends at Wyffels Hybrids, who delivered a delicious meal to our volunteers in the field. Their support has been incredible in growing our mission throughout much of our service footprint! Crew number two also wrapped up work last weekend for a father and son operation near Oakes, ND, as the farther continues his battle with leukemia. Our volunteers were privileged to help bring in their corn and soybean crops. Earlier this week, a third crew finished their relief efforts for a family dealing with the mental anguish of losing their son. Our team was on site for several days, extending a helping hand during the family's corn harvest. Crew number four spent most of their week near Windom, MN, assisting a family with a good chunk of tillage work as they continued combining corn. One of the farm's main operators recently lost both legs in an auger accident. We received several referrals for this wonderful family and we were truly honored to provide a bit of help during their fall activities. This team was able to finish their final acres on Thursday. Crew number five also crossed the finish line earlier this week for a family near Nevada, IA, as they harvested the remainder of their corn and soybeans. This farmer has dealt with hydrocephalus since birth and the shunt that drains fluid from his skull recently malfunctioned, requiring surgery to replace it. The issue was causing severe headaches and affected vision in his right eye, so we were happy to lend support to their field operations. We also want to give a special shoutout to our Field Operations Manager, Ben Smith's wife, Nicole, for delivering a meal to our crew as they carried out this assistance work. Crew number six was able to get a jump start on some corn acres near Laurel, NE, during the early portion of the week for a farmer battling bone cancer. He will be spending the next several months at a treatment facility in Boston to combat the disease. Widespread rain halted their progress yesterday, but they hope to return to the field sometime next week. A seventh volunteer crew is also waiting out a moisture delay near Streeter, ND, where they've been working to tackle a few hundred acres of beans for a family with a critically ill 9-year-old. This tough young man has already undergone 10 neurosurgeries throughout his life and recently spent time in a critical care facility that delayed the family's harvest. Our team is anxious to get back in the field to complete the remainder of their crop. Finally, crew number eight is in the midst of their own weather delay near Stirum, ND, following the arrival of some late-October snow. The main operator of this farm has been battling prostate cancer for several years that has now metastasized to the lymph nodes. Last harvest season, a fall from his combine resulted in six broken ribs and he's still dealing with neck issues from the accident. On top of that, he recently experienced blindness in his right eye. He is currently undergoing radiation treatments and has surgery scheduled to repair a fully-detached retina. Needless today, it's been a very difficult summer for their operation and our Angels in Blue are glad to be providing some relief. We're hoping some warmer weather will allow their work, and that of so many other farmers in the region, to continue soon. Our appreciation of those who support these assistance efforts is hard to put into words. Our volunteers continue to go above and beyond to help these families during some of their darkest hours, often spending days or weeks away from their own family and work to lend a hand. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Gary Kline, Garry Roberts, Dean Isaacs, Will Rudolphi, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Mike Youngblood, Wade Peterson, Brent Weidauer, David Endorf, Sid Bardwell, Kaden Teerink, Harrison Schweitzer, David Parker and Dusty Wach.

Another special thank you to our incredible Volunteer Coordinator, Genita Limke, for tackling last week's update. She wears many hats for our organization and continues to be a true blessing to our mission. 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 20, 2023 - Fields of Corn, Corn, and More Corn (& Some Soybeans)

Last weekend’s much needed rain over much of our service region caused us to pause our assistance in Dundas, MN. We hope to be able to get back into the fields next week to harvest corn for this family. The main operator of the farm continues his recovery from a second leg amputation surgery. 

Crew number two wrapped up their work last weekend near Lehr, ND, helping bring in some wheat and soybeans for a farmer who recently underwent open heart surgery. Those two dedicated volunteers are helping with logistics this week.

Near Rock Lake, ND, crew number three also finished their work of harvesting soybeans for a farmer who was injured in an ATV accident.

Harvesting corn amongst windmills in Greenfield, IA, has kept our fourth crew busy all week as they assist a farmer battling colon cancer. He had successful surgery this week to remove part of his intestine and he will be laid up for three months, so our being there has been a great help in this time of stress and need. Our Outreach Coordinator, Stephanie Green, was excited to visit the case and meet three of our volunteers in person, as well as our Field Operations Manager for the Corn Belt States, Ben Smith! Our Development Officer for the Corn Belt States, Terry Johnston, also stopped by to visit and brought milkshakes to treat our volunteers. Wyffels Hybrids fed our crew one day this week, which was very much appreciated. And we are extremely grateful to AgriVision of Winterset, IA, which donated a tractor and grain cart for our use at this case. As you can see in the images above, we are busy running four pieces of equipment in these fruitful corn fields.

Also harvesting corn, crew number five is in Prescott, IA, providing assistance for a family who recently lost their son and farming partner, mentally overwhelming the entire family. We are privileged to help ease their burden in a small way.

And last but not least, our sixth crew has continued assisting a father and son operation near Oakes, ND, this week, following the father's recent leukemia diagnosis. Corn and soybeans are what we are harvesting there.

It continues to be a busy harvest season for Farm Rescue with several more weeks of assistance expected as long as the weather cooperates.

As always, we could not do what we do without our Angels in Blue. So here is a big thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Emil Baranko, Sid Bardwell, Kenneth Chyle, Brad Cox, Kenny Crites, Mark Gilson, Dean Isaacs, Gary Kline, Gary Krieger, Jim Muckenhirn, and Garry Roberts.

Filling in for Dan,

Genita Limke - Volunteer Coordinator


October 13, 2023 - Meals and Memories

I often speak of things taken for granted in this line of work, and I was reminded of a few more this week while joining one of our volunteer crews at a harvest case near Dundas, MN. In the waning moments of sunlight, as our Angels in Blue and assisted family gathered at the edge of a soybean field to enjoy a meal together, I stood in awe at the vast beauty in front of me. Agriculture offers so many of these moments if you simply pause to soak them in. The rolling hills and autumn colors illuminated at golden hour were a breathtaking backdrop to the bonds forming between those in attendance. This volunteer crew spent most of their week harvesting soybeans for this family, as the main operator of the farm continues his recovery from a second leg amputation surgery. His wife and sons are also involved in the operation, but work full-time jobs in addition to their responsibilities on the farm. It was an honor getting to know this group, and the positivity this farmer possesses despite the difficulties he's been dealt, was truly contagious. Our volunteers worked until the early morning hours on Thursday to complete their soybean crop, in hopes of getting a jump start on some corn the following day. Mother Nature had other plans, however, as a large low pressure system pushed into the area, dropping several inches of rain throughout most of our southern territory. They hope to resume operations once drier weather returns. This crew was also extremely well-fed this week thanks to several local businesses, including Compeer Financial, College City Beverage and Alison Peters with Peters Insurance. The support within so many of these rural communities is another thing of beauty. Crew number two continued their work this week near Lehr, ND, helping bring in some wheat and soybeans for a farmer who recently underwent open heart surgery. After a few setbacks, they were making some good progress before the current rain delay. Hopefully a few days of drier weather will allow for a return to the field. Crew number three has been hard at work near Rock Lake, ND, tackling some soybeans for a farmer who was injured in an ATV accident. This same farmer received help from Farm Rescue several years ago and although we were saddened to hear support was once again needed, we are privileged to extend another helping hand to this wonderful family operation. Thanks to a solid few days of work with no weather intervention, crew number four was able to wrap up their final corn acres last Friday for a farmer near Mt. Erie, IL, who was severely injured while working on a semi truck. After the truck fell off a jack and onto his torso, he sustained several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and lacerations to his kidney and liver. Our volunteers were honored to spring into action with some crucial harvest support. Crew number five continued their work near Pomeroy, IA, assisting a family with their corn and soybean harvest, as they deal with an illness. After a productive week, they were able to complete their remaining acres yesterday before the rain began. A sixth volunteer crew has spent the past several days near Dazey, ND, assisting another farmer who was recently injured in a fall that resulted in two broken heels and a broken wrist. They were able to harvest a few fields of soybeans before the current rain delay. Crew number seven has been assisting a father and son operation near Oakes, ND, this week, following the father's recent leukemia diagnosis. Before rain showers dampened progress, our volunteers got a nice start on bringing in the family's corn and soybean crops. As with several other active cases, they hope to resume their work soon with the help of some drier conditions. It's definitely been a busy few weeks for Farm Rescue and these widespread assistance operations would never be possible without an incredible team of do-gooders serving as our boots on the ground. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Matt Blaylock, Kevin Smitherman, Scott Rossow, Keith Barkema, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Greg Kalinoski, Kevin Towe, Jim Muckenhirn, Mitch Krause, Andy Stender, John Drilling, Matt Hagen, Sid Bardwell and Kenny Crites.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 6, 2023 - The Heat of Harvest

There has been a fury of harvest activities in fields throughout our service territory, and our volunteers and equipment have been hard at work extending a helping hand to several farm families in crisis this week. Crew number one was able to complete their remaining soybean acres last weekend for a family near Juniata, NE, who lost nearly all of their farm equipment and several vehicles in a recent shop fire. After a delayed start due to some wet weather, crew number two was finally able to get rolling on some canola near Willow City, ND, late last week for a farmer who recently tore his rotator cuff and is also being evaluated for a possible hernia. These injuries have made it impossible to climb into equipment and we are honored to provide a bit of support during this crucial harvest season. Thanks to a stretch of drier weather, they were able to finish operations earlier this week. Crew number three had a very special few days assisting a family near Clarion, IA, with their soybean crop. After exhibiting seizure-like symptoms in March 2023, the husband and main operator of the farm was hospitalized and diagnosed with multiple brain abscesses. He has undergone several neurosurgeries and is still recovering, with weekly speech, occupational and physical therapy. During his recovery, his wife was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which is a side effect of radiation treatments she received to combat breast cancer a decade ago. She has also undergone multiple surgeries throughout the summer and is still recovering from a resultant infection. This amazing couple serves pastoral roles in their community and has five children still living at home. We were also blessed to work in tandem with the family's farming neighbor, who provided tremendous support in coordinating our efforts. This crew received additional support from several local entities who delivered multiple meals to them in the field. Special thanks to Iowa Corn Growers Association and First Citizens Bank for extending this generosity to our volunteers. After completing their final soybean acres on Tuesday, our Farm Rescuers, farm family, friends and neighbors gathered for a post-harvest celebration hosted by local Anheuser-Busch wholesaler, Doll Distributing of Des Moines. It was a wonderful evening of food, beverages, apparel gifts and camaraderie, following a busy few days in the field. Crew number four began corn harvest operations last weekend near Mt. Erie, IL, for another farmer who was recently injured while working on a semi-truck. After the truck fell off a jack and onto his torso, he sustained several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and lacerations to his kidney and liver. The timing of these injuries has obviously made it difficult to complete the family’s corn harvest and we are privileged to be lending our support in the field. They should be wrapping up work today or tomorrow. Crew number five has spent the past few days near Pomeroy, IA, assisting a family with their corn and soybean harvest, as they deal with an illness. Overnight rainfall has delayed their progress a bit, but they should be back in the field within the next couple days. A sixth volunteer crew has been hard at work near Lehr, ND, this week, helping bring in some wheat and soybeans for a farmer who recently underwent open heart surgery. Operations have been a bit stop-and-go thanks to Mother Nature, but they've tackled a lot of ground and should hopefully cross the finish line sometime this weekend. As you might imagine, it takes a village to staff a half-dozen operations simultaneously, with an incredible amount of coordination between our staff, farm families and volunteers. A special shout-out to our incredible Field Operations Managers, Ben Smith and Luke Benedict, as well as our Volunteer Coordination team of Stephanie Green and Genita Limke. They have a lot of plates to keep spinning this time of year and their dedication to our mission is beyond compare. We also need to extend the highest of praise to our magnificent family of volunteers, who travel many miles and cover many acres for these families in a great time of need. A big thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Bruce Wakefield, Bruce Opheim, Kelly Valter, Hervey Madden, Artie Payne, Kevin Smitherman, Matt Blaylock, Albert Lautenschlager, Tom & Debbie Richards, Mike Youngblood, Gaylen Weisenburger, Garry Deckert, Larry Leier, Derek Nord, Keith Barkema, Kevin Towe, Gary Krieger, Mike Melaas, Owen Sigler, Mark Danielczyk and Alex Spiros.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 29, 2023 - Hot Out of the Gate

It probably goes without saying, there is a tremendous amount of pride flowing through those involved in the Farm Rescue organization. The work being carried out by our dedicated army of volunteers is truly life-changing, and I've had the great honor of seeing that impact firsthand on many occasions throughout my 7-year career with the nonprofit. It's a vantage point I seldom take for granted, as it provides so many reminders of what's truly important in this life and how even the smallest of blessings deserves to be celebrated. This week, I was privileged to meet a family in south central Nebraska that has been through the ringer these past couple months. Back in July, a faulty battery cable on one of their tractors sparked an overnight shop fire that quickly got out of control. By the time volunteer fire crews arrived, this building containing most of the family's farm equipment and vehicles was beyond saving. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze. Insurance won't even come close to replacing all that was lost and ordering any type of equipment now days can be a pretty long process. With harvest fast approaching, they knew help would be needed. Up the road a few miles, another young farmer named Laura Wilson caught wind of the destruction and wanted to lend a hand. Her "Laura Farms" YouTube channel, which documents her daily life operating a farm with her husband, Grant, and their families, has nearly a half-million subscribers. Laura and Grant highlighted the family's story in one of their videos and also reached out to Farm Rescue for additional support. We are privileged to have our volunteers, combine and grain truck on site this week to bring in the family's soybean crop. Laura and Grant also signed on as volunteers to join our efforts, leaving their own harvest work to be part of our crew on Wednesday. We truly appreciate their time, talents and awareness support! Despite the devastating fire and recent loss of a close relative, this family remains committed to their farming operation and has maintained a positive outlook throughout each hardship. These are the stories that stick with you and inspire an appreciation for all gifts life has to offer. 

Elsewhere in our service territory, it's been a week of pivoting after several weather delays. Harvest cases near Willow City and Lehr, ND, were nearly ready for combining to begin, when 2+ inches of rain dampened those plans. However, none of our volunteers had idle hands this week, as they helped transport equipment and vehicles to other upcoming assistance cases throughout the region. Canola fields near Willow City, ND, have finally dried enough to begin cutting and our operations should be in full swing at this location throughout the weekend for a farmer who recently sustained a torn rotator cuff and possible hernia. As I type this, a second volunteer crew is opening up their first field near Clarion, IA. The husband of this operation was exhibiting seizure-like symptoms back in March, which resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of brain abscesses. He has undergone multiple neurosurgeries since and is still recovering, with weekly speech, OT and PT appointments. During his recovery, his wife was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer (leiyomyosarcoma), which is a side effect of radiation treatments she received to combat breast cancer a decade ago. She has also undergone multiple surgeries throughout the summer and is still recovering from a resultant infection. If the weather cooperates, our volunteers will be working throughout the weekend and early next week to help bring in the family's soybean crop. A third crew began assistance operations yesterday for another farm near Pomeroy, IA. This family is dealing with an illness that's made it very difficult to harvest their corn and soybean crops. Our volunteers are proud to provide help during this crucial period of their growing season. Finally, a fourth crew of Farm Rescuers is mobilizing near Mt. Erie, IL, this weekend to begin another harvest case. This particular farmer was working on a semi-truck when it fell off the jack and onto his torso. He sustained several broken ribs, a collapsed lung and lacerations to his kidney and liver. Our volunteers and equipment will be on site throughout the next week to help tackle the family's corn crop. 

It's been a very busy start to the row crop harvest season and I expect our schedule will be fairly jam-packed until the snow flies. Covering this much ground across multiple states takes a tremendous amount of coordination by our staff, volunteers and the amazing families we serve. None of this would be possible without our family of Good Samaritans, working tirelessly to assist complete strangers in their hour of need. A big thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Kevin Towe, Garry Deckert, Derek Nord, Keith Barkema, Albert Lautenschlager, Tom Richards, Debbie Richards, Kelly Valter, Hervey Madden, Bruce Wakefield, Bruce Opheim, Grant Wilson and Laura Wilson. Another big thank you goes out to the kind folks at Eagle Distributing of Nebraska for delivering a delicious lunch and some great 'Brewed for the Farmers' Busch Light apparel for our volunteers and assisted farm family near Juniata, NE, this week. Our crew was very well-fed and we truly appreciate this generous support during a very busy time in the field!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 22, 2023 - Roading to Rescue

This week has been all about transport and preparation. Many areas of our service territory are in the thick of row crop harvest and we're starting to see plenty of activity across our northern region, as well. With several assistance cases waiting for the last few patches of green to dry out, our volunteers have been hard at work on the logistical end of our operations. Crew number one spent a couple days this week transporting harvest equipment to a farm near Willow City, ND, where the main operator is recovering from a torn rotator cuff and possible hernia. They hope to begin harvesting a few hundred acres of canola as early as Monday. A second volunteer crew hauled a combine header to an upcoming case location near Clarion, IA. This husband and wife are dealing with separate health-related issues that are preventing them from carrying out their fast-approaching harvest activities. We will likely be tackling some corn and soybeans for this family of seven, but it may be another couple weeks before these crops are ready. These same volunteers also delivered a new set of tires to another location in Iowa to be used on one of our fleet pickups. Around mid-week, a third crew hauled a combine, header and grain truck to a farm near Juniata, NE, where volunteers will soon be helping a family who lost nearly all of their farm equipment and vehicles in a shop fire a couple months back. They hoped to begin harvesting several hundred acres of soybeans on Sunday, but 2 inches of overnight rainfall has delayed their plans a bit. Tuesday looks to be the current estimated start date for fieldwork to launch. Another soybean harvest case is nearly ready to begin near Lehr, ND, where a farmer is recovering from recent open heart surgery. Some of the crop was planted a bit earlier in some fields, so the first acres are very nearly ready for our combine.

On the outreach side of operations, Executive Director, Tim Sullivan, wrapped up a 9-day residency on Sunday at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, IA. Word has it, this event is the largest county fair in the world, which provided a great opportunity to share information about our nonprofit with thousands of attendees. This past Saturday, Farm Rescue Outreach Coordinator, Stephanie Green, received a generous invite to another great event. N.H. Scheppers Distributing Co and Anheuser-Busch recently sponsored a Busch Light promotion with a portion of all sales benefiting our assistance operations. Prior to the Mizzou and Kansas State football game in Columbia, MO, Stephanie was honored to accept a check for proceeds in the amount of $7,000. She also enjoyed the opportunity to watch her alma mater, KSU, play a very hard-fought game that ended in a heartbreaking loss. We are truly thankful to N.H. Scheppers and Anheuser-Busch for this incredible support!

As we gear up for a busy stretch of harvest operations ahead, we are all the more thankful for our wonderful army of volunteers. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field and on the road: Tom and Debbie Richards, Paul Holgate, Garry Deckert, Mike Youngblood, Keith Barkema and Kevin Towe.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 15, 2023 - Bustling Booths

With a rare lull in fieldwork operations throughout the week, this update is bound to be a bit shorter than most. However, it's still been a very busy week for our Farm Rescue staff and our dedicated team of volunteers who stepped up to support our mission on several fronts. With a few remaining acres spilling over into last weekend, our fieldwork volunteers were able to put the finishing touches on their case near Plaza, ND, for a farmer recovering from a recent heart procedure. After a few rain delays, they were honored to complete a crucial wheat and barley harvest for this well-deserving family. As I mentioned last week, we still have a couple small grain harvest cases on the schedule, but these crops still have a bit of maturing left to do before they're ready for our volunteers and equipment. With a number of row crop harvest cases also on the near horizon, it's definitely shaping up to be a busy end to our 2023 assistance operations. Despite a calmer week in the field, there was a fury of activities in the realm of outreach. Our Executive Director, Tim Sullivan, and several volunteers have spent their week in Spencer, IA, sharing information about our nonprofit with attendees of the Clay County Fair. This 9-day event presents a great opportunity to spread word of our mission in an area where Farm Rescue isn't as well-known. While this group was manning our booth at the fair, two other teams were representing our organization at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, NE, and the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo, ND. We always appreciate the chance to introduce folks to our mission and chat with those who have already been affected by it. It's truly heartwarming to hear stories of our volunteers helping friends, neighbors and loved ones of attendees. These events also serve as wonderful reminders of why we do what we do, and the pride that so many (including myself) feel in being associated with this life-changing organization. Of course, none of this would be possible without our amazing family of volunteers, including those who have served our mission this past week:  Kenneth Chyle, Keith Barkema, Sharon Barkema, Erv Geisler, Mike Storm, Glenn Biederman, Dave Parker, Fred Parnow, Gaylen Weisenburger, Andy Jewett, Jerry Raguse, Paul Holgate and Rich Larson.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 8, 2023 - Wheat Wind-Down

It's a question we hear all too often in our daily lives, but it seems to ring especially true in the world of farming - "Where does the time go?" It feels like only yesterday, our planting assistance volunteers were sowing the first seeds of the 2023 growing season and yet here we are on the home stretch of our small grain harvest for the year. Crew number one wrapped up their efforts near Harvey, ND, last weekend for a family dealing with an illness. Our Angels in Blue were honored to assist their operation in bringing in a very important wheat crop. Crew number two also worked some long days near Plaza, ND, for a farmer recovering from a recent heart procedure. Despite several rain delays, they were able to complete their remaining acres of wheat and barley by week's end for this family of eight. As I drove one of our volunteers to the airport for his flight home to Michigan, I heard about the strong bonds that were formed throughout their efforts. So often, our Farm Rescuers become part of the families they're serving and it fills me with an overwhelming sense of pride hearing these stories. We truly have the best volunteers in the world and they are changing lives with every acre planted or harvested. A very special thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  David Frueh, Scott Williams, Frank Shaler, Mike Poppel and Kenneth Chyle. We still have a couple small grain cases set to begin within the next few days near Lehr and Rock Lake, ND, and I know these teams of Good Samaritans will do the best job possible for these families in crisis. In addition to continuing our harvest operations, the next week will also be very busy with additional farm shows, fairs and sponsor events. I look forward to sharing more on these activities next week!

Until next week,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 1, 2023 - Farm Assistance and Farm Progress

Thanks to an assist from Mother Nature this week, our volunteers and equipment were able to make some great progress on our remaining small grain harvest assistance cases. Last weekend, crew number one was able to put the finishing touches on their work near Badger, MN, for a farmer hospitalized with a blood infection that developed after a recent accident. Following several rain delays, they were able to complete their remaining acreage and made the move to another farm near Harvey, ND. This family is dealing with an illness during a crucial time for their operation and our volunteers have spent most of the week tackling their wheat crop. They hope to finish their work before the long weekend. Crew number two has also been combining wheat near Plaza, ND, for a farmer recovering from a recent heart procedure. Rain showers delayed progress a bit yesterday, but they should be back at it this afternoon. They will also be harvesting some barley for this operation to allow for additional recovery time. With some hot days in the books and more on the way throughout the Labor Day weekend, we are all the more thankful for our incredible team of volunteers, battling the heat to support these families with their harvest. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  David Frueh, Scott Williams, Frank Shaler, Mike Poppel and Kenneth Chyle. We appreciate each and every one of you!

As these fieldwork operations continued up north, our nonprofit was blessed to have a very visible presence this week at the annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. This is one of the largest outdoor farm shows in the world, with hundreds of vendors sharing the latest farm products and information with around 300,000 attendees. Farm Rescue was honored to be involved in this 3-day event in multiple areas. Several of our major sponsors were gracious enough to offer booth space, literature displays and even fundraising campaigns to further our mission. We are so overwhelmed by the generosity provided by Wyffels Hybrids, Protect Systems, Titan International, AgrAbility of Illinois, Brandt Agriculture, Compeer Financial and Warren's Grain Dryers. Our ability to cover this much ground at Farm Progress was also the result of a team effort by our development officers, Tim Sullivan and Terry Johnston, field operations manager, Ben Smith, and an amazing group of volunteers. Thank you to the following Farm Rescuers for helping us manage such a busy week in Decatur and representing our organization at the highest standard:  Erv Geisler, Keith Barkema, Steve Satterthwaite, Mike Wilson and Vane Clayton. We're already looking forward to next year's show! We are so thankful to the sponsors mentioned above for extending this opportunity. Our nonprofit was also honored to receive some additional fundraising support from Farm Progress Show, Xylem LTD and BigIron Auctions, who hosted an online auction for two 70th anniversary Farm Progress commemorative rocks. All proceeds from these items will benefit Farm Rescue's assistance operations. Another surprise fundraiser was held this week by Wyffels Hybrids District Sales Manager, Jamison Steege, and his seed reps during their customer appreciation event. They held a raffle drawing for a 'Plant Your Independence' cooler, which raised $1,000 in support of our mission. We are truly blessed by the partnerships that have been cultivated with our incredible family of sponsors and supporters. Thanks to you, we are poised and ready to help many more farm families in crisis throughout the coming year!

Until next time, 

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


August 25, 2023 - Support on Multiple Fronts

The small grain harvest is in full swing throughout our northern territory, with many combines and trucks moving in the fields and on the roadways. Our volunteers continued their assistance efforts this week, harvesting wheat for a family near Badger, MN. This farmer remains hospitalized with a blood infection that developed after a recent accident. Combining work began last weekend, but multiple rain delays have slowed progress a bit. With some cooperation from Mother Nature, they hope to complete the remainder of acres this weekend, allowing the family to focus on some necessary medical treatment and recovery. A few other wheat harvest cases across central North Dakota are nearly ready for our volunteers and equipment to arrive, but a swath of severe thunderstorms overnight may push back these start dates by at least a couple days. We also continue to receive additional requests for row crop harvest support, with cases scheduled in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Illinois. It's shaping up to be a busy finish to our 2023 field operations and we're truly thankful for the dedicated volunteers who will be supporting these efforts. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Kenneth Chyle and Emil Baranko, along with our talented Field Ops Managers, Ben Smith and Luke Benedict. 

It was also another great week for outreach and sponsor support. Our amazing friends at Wyffels Hybrids were kind enough to host yet another event to benefit our assistance operations. This past Saturday, around 200 attendees gathered at the farm of Wyffels District Sales Manager, Dan Buchen, for a Customer Event and Fundraiser. The evening included some great food, live music and kids games, plus a raffle and auction to support Farm Rescue. Volunteers, Steve Satterthwaite, Jeff Preston and Mark Baumgarten, were honored to represent Farm Rescue at the event, which raised more than $1,700 for our mission! We were also blessed to receive a wonderful in-kind donation this week, courtesy of Mark Askelson with Ag Management Solutions and other representatives from the Clay-Wilkin Soybean Growers Association. They generously donated two sets of soy-based Goodyear Wrangler tires for our 3/4-ton pickup trucks. These tires will keep us moving safely throughout our service territory, as we continue helping farm families in crisis. This afternoon and evening, I have the great honor of representing Farm Rescue during the World of Outlaws race at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, ND. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Dakota Sales Company, our organization will receive $1 for every Busch Light sold during the event. Looking forward to visiting with racegoers about our mission and taking in some great action on the track! In addition to this week's events, our staff and volunteers have also been prepping for a busy week ahead at the massive Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. We are blessed to represent our nonprofit in 7 different sponsor booths throughout this event, sharing information about our work with more than 300,000 attendees. This is a tremendous opportunity for our organization and we're incredibly thankful to our sponsors for this additional support!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Communications Officer


August 18, 2023 - Generosity Abounds

Since the beginning, one of the main driving forces behind Farm Rescue has been the generosity extended to us from others. This generosity also takes many shapes and forms. First and foremost, it's the time, talents and work ethic of our volunteers, laboring in the fields for complete strangers in their hour of need. Other times it's a new or existing sponsor donating funds to support these assistance efforts. More and more often we're seeing individuals, organizations and companies hosting events in Farm Rescue's honor, with proceeds benefiting our operations. We are also privileged to have a presence at many different trade shows, festivals and fairs, courtesy of some incredible sponsors who donate booth space to our cause. This week, we have been blessed by all of the above.

After last week's weather delays, our field volunteer crews were back at it, finishing up a couple ongoing assistance operations. Crew number one wrapped up the remainder of their winter wheat acres near Bloomfield, MT, for a farmer battling colon cancer. After a quick maintenance stop at Gooseneck Implement in Beach, ND, they're now en route to Badger, MN, for another harvest assistance case. This farmer is currently hospitalized for a blood infection following a recent accident on the farm. They hope to begin combining around 500 acres of wheat for the family over the weekend. With the return of some hot, breezy weather, our second volunteer crew was able to resume haying operations near Ashley, ND, for a farmer recovering from recent open heart surgery. They rolled the final bales for this family around mid-week, which will serve as crucial winter feed for their livestock. Crew number three spent their week near Onida, SD, harvesting wheat for a farmer recovering from a serious leg injury. Thanks to some cooperation from Mother Nature, they were able to complete their final field last night. New assistance requests continue to arrive and we're gearing up for a very busy row crop harvest.

On the outreach side, it was also a very busy week for our staff and volunteers. Special shout-out to our Executive Director & Sr. Development Officer, Tim Sullivan, for covering a lot of ground in a few short days to represent Farm Rescue at several events. On Tuesday, he spent some time at Dakotafest in Mitchell, SD, visiting several sponsor booths and sharing information about our nonprofit with attendees. On Wednesday morning, he was honored to accept a donation check from the wonderful folks at Security Bank in Chancellor, SD, in support of our operations. After stopping to visit another sponsor in Sioux Falls, SD, Tim ventured east to attend the Corteva Agriscience/Pioneer Sales Representative Kickoff event in Prior Lake, MN. During their annual meeting portion, live and silent auctions were held in support of Farm Rescue. Auction items included many Pioneer-branded collectibles and apparel, with a mixture of historical pieces and new items. The live auction included more than 70 items and the silent auction featured nearly 150 prize packages. Attendees placed bids throughout the evening, raising more than $87,000 in support of our mission! It was truly incredible to witness the wave of generosity throughout this event and we couldn't be more thankful to Corteva and Pioneer for their overwhelming contribution. On Thursday, Tim made a quick stop at the Farm Rescue office near Horace, ND, before heading to another evening fundraising event near Hillsboro, ND. The 2nd annual "Fun at the Farm" celebration included an outdoor movie, tractor and combine rides, farm animals, kids games and refreshments, with all proceeds benefiting Farm Rescue. This event was held at Bertsch Farms, which is a family-run operation simply hoping to give something back to their local community. They are an incredible group and we were truly honored to be the beneficiary of this great event for all ages. Our southern Development Officer, Terry Johnston, also enjoyed several outreach opportunities this week at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. He and a couple local volunteers were honored to share our mission with visitors at the Iowa Farm Bureau booth. This grassroots organization is one of our newest sponsors and will be a wonderful partner in promoting our assistance services throughout their member network. Terry also participated in a check presentation with another great sponsor of our operations - Titan Tire. Throughout the past several years, their "Flags Over Harvest" campaign has provided tremendous support for our work. Titan committed to donating $5 to Farm Rescue for every free American flag requested through their 2023 promotion. This campaign has been a wonderful way to spread patriotism and support for those in agriculture. Finally, if you happened to find yourself in Aberdeen, SD this week, you may have seen one of our Farm Rescue combines on display in the RDO Equipment area of the Brown County Fair. This machine just received decals last week and RDO was kind enough to promote our efforts throughout the event. With row crop harvest just around the corner, this is the cleanest this machine will be for quite some time. We want to extend our sincere appreciation to the volunteers operating these amazing implements to carry out our mission for families in crisis. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field and those serving as ambassadors throughout our service territory:  Mike Storm, Al Bryce, Dean Larson, Lee Yarrow, Adam Harvey, Glenn Pope, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Wade Peterson, Cody Hetzler, Terry Willhoit and Ron Donohue.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


August 11, 2023 - Delayed, but Not Defeated

It's been a very dry growing season for many areas of our service territory, so it's hard to complain about any amount of rainfall at this point. Unfortunately, the timing of this week's precipitation meant we had to pump the breaks a bit on some ongoing assistance efforts. Thunderstorms approached from the west over the weekend and the resulting downpour halted progress near Bloomfield, MT, where our volunteers were harvesting field peas for a farmer battling colon cancer. He's currently undergoing daily radiation therapy 40 miles from home in hopes of shrinking the cancer. After a couple days of drier weather, our volunteers were able to resume operations and finished their remaining pea acres a couple days ago. They're now tackling some winter wheat fields before heading to the next farm in need of assistance. Mother Nature also delayed work for our second volunteer crew near Ashley, ND, where they've been baling hay for a farmer recovering from recent open heart surgery. He is currently unable to operate machinery and our volunteers are honored to help harvest this crucial winter feed for their livestock. Because of the stop-and-go nature of this case, we've had several volunteers cycling into service to support this family. Two more Angels in Blue will be tagging in over the weekend to see this case through to its end. As our harvest schedule continues to fill, our field operations managers have been busy with site visits and equipment maintenance to make sure we're ready to roll whenever the crops reach maturity. This weekend, our volunteers will be launching operations near Onida, SD for a farmer who recently suffered a broken leg. They'll likely spend most of next week harvesting winter wheat for the family, as he continues his recovery. Barring any further weather delays, another volunteer crew will also be combining wheat by early next week for a farmer near Harvey, ND. As harvest operations continue to ramp up, we are especially thankful for our dedicated army of volunteers who support these efforts. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Vane Clayton, Wade Peterson, Mike Storm, Al Bryce and Tim Marquardt. We appreciate each and every one of you!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


August 4, 2023 - Farmfest and Harvest Out West

Uncertainty is such a big part of life. Planning and preparation can make a world of difference for so many things, but there will always be aspects of this world that are simply out of our control. Working at Farm Rescue I've been honored to meet some truly inspiring individuals and families. Many of these folks are in the midst of very difficult circumstances when our volunteers and equipment arrive, yet their perseverance never falters. When uncertainty knocks at your door, they've shown me the one thing you can control is how you respond to it. This notion has been on my mind again this week after meeting an incredible farm family near Bloomfield, MT. This father and son operation has a long history in the area and takes great pride in their work (like so many farmers and ranchers). Recently, the father was diagnosed with colon cancer, which was followed by several weeks of chemotherapy treatments. He's now undergoing daily radiation therapy 40 miles from home in hopes of shrinking the cancer. A recent scan also showed another spot on his liver that will require additional radiation to combat. Despite all of this, he has continued working alongside his son on the farm whenever possible. With so many unknowns surrounding his health and energy, however, the family made the decision to apply for Farm Rescue assistance. Our volunteers, combine and grain truck arrived early in the week to begin harvesting a few hundred acres of field peas and winter wheat. Despite some fatigue, this farming father has felt well enough to operate his combine alongside ours the past few days, but says he knows how quickly that could change and he truly appreciates our volunteers being there to help. Five hours to the southeast, another volunteer crew has spent the better part of their week baling hay near Ashley, ND, for a farmer recovering from recent open heart surgery. He is currently unable to operate machinery and our volunteers are honored to help harvest this crucial winter feed for their livestock.

We also had another great week of outreach at Minnesota Farmfest in Morgan, MN. Farm Rescue was honored to have our own booth at this 3-day event, but we also received support from some generous sponsors in attendance at the show. We were honored to be part of Kibble Equipment display and share our mission with attendees throughout daily activities. Kibble also raised funds for Farm Rescue through sales of a special edition co-branded hat, featuring the great folks at Larson Farms, who participated in a popular meet-and-greet event on Wednesday. We were privileged to accept a check from proceeds in the amount of $10,000. We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of Kibble and also want to extend a very special thank you to all who purchased hats throughout the week. Wyffels Hybrids also furthered their support of our operations through a co-branded cooler raffle, which people could participate in by donating to Farm Rescue. This promotion helped raise several hundred dollars for our organization and provided another great opportunity to share information about our services with visitors. The additional support from these incredible sponsors will go a long way in helping many more farm families in crisis!

Our list of upcoming assistance cases continues to grow for the remainder of harvest and we are so thankful for the volunteers who have dedicated their time and talents in helping us fulfill this important mission. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field and behind the booth:  Albert Lautenschlager, Keith Barkema, Vane Clayton, Wade Peterson, Maranda Crotty, Kaden Teerink and Erv Geisler.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


July 28, 2023 - Hay Bales, Harvest Prep and Hand Waves

It's been another relatively quiet week in the field, as preparations continue for the busy small grain harvest ahead in our upper plains states. Our volunteer haying crew near Napoleon, ND, was able to finish up their baling efforts early this week for a farmer experiencing temporary blindness due to a buildup of blood behind the eye. The pressure is predicted to dissipate within 3 months, but this lack of vision has created some major issues in harvesting his hay crop. Our volunteers were honored to roll around 300 alfalfa/brome bales, which will help feed his livestock throughout the long winter ahead. Volunteers also worked to stage some of our harvest equipment in preparation of two upcoming assistance cases. The first combine was delivered mid-week near Onida, SD, where a farmer is recovering from a broken leg. They had hoped to begin harvesting wheat for the family around August 1, but a few green areas in the fields may delay their start by a few days. A second combine is currently en route to Bloomfield, MT, to provide harvest support to a farmer battling colon cancer. He recently completed one set of chemotherapy treatments, but still has several weeks of radiation and several more rounds of chemo planned. Needless to say, it has been a struggle to keep up with his daily workload, so our volunteers will be helping to tackle some field peas and wheat for this family during his absence. They hope to begin harvest operations later next week. 

On the outreach side, I was honored to represent Farm Rescue this past Saturday in the North Dakota State Fair Parade in Minot, ND. I also enjoyed spending time with one of our longtime volunteers, Garry Deckert, who drove our semi and hopper-bottom trailer for the event. We were also accompanied by two of Garry's siblings and a helpful group of volunteers from North Star Community Credit Union, who walked the 3+ mile route, handing out Farm Rescue literature and candy to a massive crowd of parade goers. This event is always a great reminder of the appreciation that exists for our nonprofit. The hand waves, applause and words of thanks along the parade route are truly uplifting, and serve as further proof of the lives and communities that have been impacted through the work of Farm Rescue. It also ushers in a wave of appreciation for the many individuals, business sponsors and volunteers who make this work possible. A very special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field, on the road and along parade routes:  Jim Muckenhirn, Albert Lautenschlager, Keith Barkema and Garry Deckert, Randy Deckert and Sandra Bird.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


July 21, 2023 - A Quick Update

Most weeks, I catch myself rattling on a bit when it comes to recapping our activities, but it's definitely been a less eventful week than most in 2023. After wrapping up two haying assistance cases last week, we currently have one volunteer crew in action near Napoleon, ND, for more baling support. This farmer is battling temporary blindness due to a buildup of blood behind the eye. Doctors predict the pressure will dissipate within 3 months, but this obviously hinders his ability to cut and bale his hay crop. Our volunteers will be rolling around 300 alfalfa/brome bales, which will provide vital feed for his cattle during the winter months. In the meantime, all of our John Deere-sponsored combines have now arrived at dealer locations throughout our service territory as we prepare for a busy harvest season ahead. Along with our purchased Farm Rescue combine (made possible through our previous capital fundraising campaign), we are blessed to have 5 additional John Deere units to support our efforts during small grain and row crop harvests. Special thanks to this year's sponsor dealers for helping facilitate these John Deere-sourced machines - Sloan Implement, PrairieLand Partners, Gooseneck Implement, AKRS Equipment and RDO Equipment. Each has been a wonderful partner in helping us fulfill our mission!

On the outreach side, Farm Rescue Development Officer, Terry Johnston, was honored to present during the Crop Marketing Program at the Grundy County Fair in Iowa this week, and also helped with the Every Day Tractor Ride. I'll be traveling to Minot, ND tomorrow to join one of our longtime volunteers for the North Dakota State Fair Parade. This is an event we look forward to each year and I'm honored to represent our organization during these festivities. Our list of Farm Rescuers in the field is a bit shorter this week, but these gentlemen definitely deserve recognition. Special thanks to Jim Muckenhirn and Garry Deckert for serving as our boots on the ground! 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


July 14, 2023 - Bales, Bags & Barley Growers

It's been a relatively quiet week as far as field operations go, with haying activities slowly winding down and preparations continuing for the fast-approaching harvest season in our upper plains states. Crew number one rolled the last of their bales near Morristown, SD, for a family dealing with the unexpected loss of a husband and father. With this wife and mother still battling anxiety, depression and a recent head injury, we were honored to offer support during a vital haying season for their family. Crew number two also finished their baling efforts near Richardton, ND, for a farmer who sustained a fractured skull and eye socket in a recent farming accident. Without the ability to operate machinery, this farmer/rancher reached out to Farm Rescue for help, and we were more than happy to accommodate. The main volunteer on this case, Bill Bjorneby, worked some long days at this farm, cutting, raking and baling. Thankfully, Mother Nature was kind enough to wait a few hours after work was completed to deliver some much-needed rain to the area. Our operations managers, Luke Benedict and Ben Smith, have also been hard at work, readying equipment and conducting site visits for some upcoming harvest operations. This process often involves traveling many miles and spending a few extra days away from home, so we are truly thankful for their dedication to our mission and especially grateful to their families for their understanding and support!

It was another busy week for outreach, as well, with several events taking place with our organization involved. On Saturday, July 8, one of our local Anheuser-Busch wholesalers, D-S Beverages, hosted the first ever 'Busch Battle' cornhole tournament, with all proceeds benefiting Farm Rescue operations. Office Manager, Steph Hasbargen, and I were honored to represent our nonprofit throughout the day, as teams competed for the cornhole championship and other prizes. Two raffle winners were paired with Gerry the "Busch Guy" and Myles the "You Betcha Guy" for a chance to win a year's supply of Busch Light. At the end of the festivities, we were honored to accept a check from proceeds, totaling $6,885! It was definitely a fun day that we hope becomes an annual tradition. Around the same time on Saturday, one of our volunteers, Keith Barkema, was kind enough to represent Farm Rescue in his local 'Duesey Days' parade in Garner, IA. These summer parades are always enjoyable and we look forward to another next weekend during the North Dakota State Fair. Yesterday, we honored to receive another invitation to Anheuser-Busch's local 'Grower Days' event in Moorhead, MN, which celebrates the company’s dedicated barley producers. We enjoyed sharing our mission with attendees and were a bit starstruck when the famous Budweiser Clydesdales showed up. We are so thankful for the support we continue to receive from Busch Light and Anheuser-Busch, along with all of our sponsors, who have made a world of difference for our assistance operations and farm families in crisis. A very special shoutout to our Farm Rescuers in the field this week:  Bill Bjorneby, Jared Wendlandt, Garry Deckert and Keith Barkema. We appreciate you more than you'll ever know!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


July 7, 2023 - Roll On

After a very busy week in Illinois surrounding our 1,000th assisted family event, it was great to have a bit of family time in celebration of Independence Day. However, our dedicated volunteers have still been hard at work in the hay fields of the Dakotas, helping more farm families in crisis. Crew number one spent their week near Morristown, SD, assisting a family who recently lost a husband and father unexpectedly. The wife and mother of this family has been battling anxiety and depression while trying to keep their operation afloat. Even more stress was added to the situation when she sustained a recent head injury. We are honored to offer support during a crucial haying season for this young family, as they continue their mourning and recovery. Our volunteers have been helping cut, rake and bale hay this week and barring any weather setbacks, they hope to finish up sometime over the weekend. A second haying crew began their assistance operations yesterday near Richardton, ND, for a farmer who sustained a fractured skull and eye socket in a recent farming accident. He is currently unable to operate machinery, so our volunteers will be working to bring in the family's hay crop. As our harvest schedule begins to fill, we want to extend a very special thank you to the volunteers responsible for carrying out our current and upcoming efforts. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Jared Wendlandt, Kirby Hamre and Bill Bjorneby.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


June 30, 2023 - 1,000 Families Served

Throughout the history of Farm Rescue, we've often heard our President & Founder, Bill Gross, speak of "rescue blessings". It's a term that speaks volumes of the impacts made through our assistance efforts, and these blessings are bestowed upon many. The farm families that have received help would be quick to mention how Farm Rescue truly made a difference for their operations. Our volunteers frequently comment how they receive just as many blessings in carrying out this Good Samaritan work as the families they're supporting. We've also observed the ripple effect these efforts can have throughout the rural communities in which our assisted families reside. Farm Rescue's small staff of employees (myself included) is blessed to work for an organization striving to be a light for those who have fallen on dark times. These rescue blessings have accumulated throughout the past 18 years, leading up to a major milestone this week --- our 1,000th assisted family. As our staff, volunteers, sponsors and families gathered to commemorate the occasion, the blessings around us were clearly evident, despite the circumstances that brought us together.

On March 31, Brad and Megan Pifer had been keeping close watch on an incoming storm system. Weather reports said it had all the right ingredients to produce tornadoes, so the couple didn't hesitate in moving their two young boys to the basement as the front approached. An EF3 tornado eventually touched ground, leaving a path of destruction across Crawford County, IL and Sullivan County, IN. Directly along that path was the Pifer farm, where Brad, Megan and their boys hunkered down as the skies roared above them. Once silence had returned, Brad emerged from the basement to find himself standing outdoors where a wall once stood. Their home, farm buildings, grain storage and equipment were completely destroyed. Miraculously, none of the Pifers sustained injury, but the storm would claim several lives in the area that night. To make matters worse, planting season was about to begin. Brad and his father/farming partner, Steve, found themselves without the necessary implements to complete this vital work. Thankfully, their local John Deere dealer sprang into action to coordinate a tractor and planter rental to carry them through the season. In the meantime, a neighbor made a phone call to Farm Rescue to refer them for assistance. With both of their combines severely damaged, the Pifers knew their winter wheat harvest would be a challenge without some help. Fast forward to late June, when Farm Rescue volunteers and equipment arrived on scene to provide that help. On Tuesday, June 27, a crowd gathered at their farm during the final day of operations to honor this 1,000th assistance case. This milestone would never have been possible without the contributions of so many volunteers, sponsors, donors and other supporters. Our efforts are made possible through the generosity of others and we have been overwhelmed by kindness since Day 1. This week's event was made even more special through the help of John Deere and Nutrien Ag Solutions, who dedicated many hours of employee support and resources. Several media outlets made the journey to Palestine, IL to cover the story and share our mission with their audiences. We also welcomed several agricultural influencers, including our friend Zach Johnson (the Millennial Farmer), Andy Dole (ATrippyFarmer) and Mike Burkhart with the Travis Burkhart Foundation. Mother Nature blessed us with a beautiful, rain-free day to host these guests and complete our harvest work. It's a day we won't soon forget and we are so thankful to the Pifers for allowing us to commemorate this milestone at their farm. To all who have contributed to the mission of Farm Rescue along its path to serving 1,000 families in crisis, we are humbled and grateful beyond words.

With all of this going on in our southern territory, haying operations also progressed in our northern region. One volunteer crew finished baling near St. Cloud, MN, this week for a family dealing with mental health and depression issues, following the unexpected loss of a husband and father. They also received some additional support from local John Deere dealer, Midwest Machinery, who sponsored use of a tractor and mower-conditioner to ready the hay for Farm Rescue's tractor and baler. A second haying crew is set to begin baling tomorrow near Morristown, SD, for another family navigating the mental anguish of losing a husband and father unexpectedly, coupled with a recent head injury. We pray the weather holds and our volunteers are able to make great progress for this family as they continue their mourning and recovery. After such a busy week and with Independence Day approaching, we are incredibly thankful for the volunteers willing to support our efforts. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Garry Deckert, Mike Wilson, Kyle Thormodson, Dave Zimmer, Will Rudolphi, Jack Limke, Mark Baumgarten, Tim Moore, Andy Dole, Zach Johnson, Mike Burkhart, Emil Baranko, Erv Geisler and our original Farm Rescuer - Bill Gross. Each of you has been a blessing to our organization and the 1,000+ families we have served! 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


June 23, 2023 - A Grand Milestone

Giving thanks is truly an important part of life. The world moves fast and so often we focus on the things that are broken, rather than the individuals working to pick up the pieces. I say this because Farm Rescue has reached a pivotal milestone in its history, and we have so many people to thank for helping us achieve it. Yesterday, our volunteers and equipment launched our latest harvest assistance campaign, near Palestine, IL. On March 31, the Pifer family saw their farmstead decimated by an EF3 tornado. The storm destroyed buildings, grain storage and equipment, as well as damaging the family's home beyond repair. Without the use of vital harvest machinery, the Pifers decided to apply for assistance. It just so happens, their family will be the 1,000th to receive help through Farm Rescue. We are so honored to extend a hand up to this well-deserving family, and we are thankful to them for trusting us to carry out this important work for their operation. When our Founder & President, Bill Gross, planted Farm Rescue's first seeds of assistance back in 2006, he never imagined it would grow into what it is today. One thousand farm families later, we stand in awe of how a simple notion has become something truly remarkable. Farm Rescue was built on the age-old concept of neighbors helping neighbors, and that idea remains the foundation of everything we do. It has taken a village to achieve this milestone and we cannot say thank you enough to the amazing volunteers, sponsors, donors and other Good Samaritans who made it all possible. We exist to extend a helping hand to farm families in crisis, but the impacts of Farm Rescue stretch far beyond these 1,000 farms. Each family is vital to their community, and we hope our efforts provide an opportunity to remain in these rural areas for generations to come. We certainly hope this is the case for the Pifers and we thank them again for allowing us to commemorate this milestone at their farm. We will be hosting a small event on Tuesday, June 27, to highlight this 1,000th family assistance effort. I look forward to sharing more about these festivities next week!

As harvest operations continue in the Corn Belt region, volunteers have also been busy supporting our haying efforts in the Upper Plains. Our first crew spent the past few days near St. Cloud, MN, mowing hay in preparation for baling. This family is navigating mental health and depression issues, following the unexpected loss of a husband and father, who also served as the main operator of the farm. With a bit of rainfall overnight and more in the weekend forecast, it may be several days before baling can begin. A second haying crew arrived near Java, SD, this week, just in time for rain showers to pass through their area, as well. Once conditions improve, they will be helping a rancher recovering from knee surgery and a subsequent infection. He is currently on crutches, which has greatly limited his mobility and ability to maintain farming operations.

Field work has been a major part of this week's activities, but we've also enjoyed some additional outreach opportunities. On June 16, Farm Rescue was honored to participate in "Farm Rescue Friday" - a collaborative backyard BBQ hosted by Wyffels Hybrids and Prairie State Tractor in Geneseo, IL. Guests enjoyed raffle prizes, food and conversation, as well as agronomy and technology updates from Wyffels and Prairie State experts. We were also honored to hear from one of Farm Rescue's assisted farm families. All proceeds from the event benefitted Farm Rescue assistance operations. Earlier this week, our Development Office, Terry Johnston, enjoyed participating in the Agribusiness Association of Iowa's Drone Workshop at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, IA. This event provided another great opportunity for networking and outreach in one of our Corn Belt states on behalf of Farm Rescue. We are so thankful to these sponsors and partners for allowing us to spread word of our mission and connect with other farm families in crisis. Another thank you goes out to our amazing Farm Rescuers in the field during this extra-special week for our organization:  Garry Deckert, Mike Wilson, Kyle Thormodson, Dave Zimmer, Will Rudolphi and Mark Gilson. We could never have reached this 1,000th family milestone without your dedication and generosity. We are thankful for each and every one of you, but "thank you" will never be enough!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


June 16, 2023 - Calm Before the Storm

Hot on the heels of planting season, it's been a busy week of planning for our fast-approaching haying and harvest operations. Thanks to the help of John Deere and their incredible dealer network, much of our equipment is either receiving some post-planting maintenance or haying/harvest preparations. Green Iron Equipment's service team has been going through our air seeder and combine to ensure everything is working properly. Gooseneck Implement's talented staff is providing some TLC to another air seeding unit, while service techs at RDO Equipment and Van Wall Equipment have provided the same expert care to our row crop planters. Sloan Implement has been prepping one of our S790 combines for harvest, which they've already delivered to a farm in southeast Illinois. A winter wheat crop is nearly ready to cut for this family in crisis - who represents an important milestone for Farm Rescue (more on this next week!) We already have several haying assistance cases on the calendar, and Midwest Machinery and AgriVision Equipment have been helping us ready our balers and other machinery for this campaign. These operations should be kicking off within the next 7-10 days. 

It's also been an active week for outreach, with our team representing Farm Rescue at several events. Development officers, Tim Sullivan and Terry Johnston, were honored to participate in the Illinois State FFA Convention in Springfield, IL, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where they were joined by volunteer, Erv Geisler. They enjoyed many conversations and new connections with youth attendees and agribusiness representatives. On Thursday, Tim and Terry were in Ankeny, IA, with one of our newest sponsors - Hertz Farm Management - for their annual corporate conference. We were thankful for the opportunity to address the company's 250+ employees in attendance and share more about Farm Rescue's mission. We received another generous invite from one of our major sponsors - Anheuser-Busch - to join them for the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The game features U.S. legislators from both sides of the aisle, competing to raise funds for charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literacy Center and the Washington Nationals Philanthropies, along with the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund. Farm Rescue board secretary, Shaun Sipma, was honored to attend on our behalf, joining members of Congress, their staff, charitable partners, national agriculture organizations, friends and family members for the event. It was another wonderful opportunity to share information about our nonprofit and connect with national leaders from many different organizations. 

As our schedule continues to fill throughout the coming weeks and months, we want to give the highest of praise to our incredible family of volunteers who will help carry out this Good Samaritan mission. We simply could not achieve this goal without your talents, dedication and generosity. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field and in the booth:  Shaun Sipma, Erv Geisler, Dave Zimmer, Garry Deckert and Kyle Thormodson.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


June 9, 2023 - Season's Fleetings

The final seeds of Farm Rescue's 2023 planting assistance season are officially in the ground and although it was an extraordinarily busy campaign, it seems to have passed quickly. It was mid-April when our planting efforts began in Iowa and Illinois for several farms decimated by tornados. Our volunteers, equipment and staff have been running hard ever since. Now that the dust has settled, we're proud to say that 28 farm families in crisis received a helping hand from Farm Rescue during a very crucial time for their operations. Dozens of volunteers answered the call in supporting these efforts and our dedicated staff truly shined in their logistical responsibilities to bring it all together. I've been with Farm Rescue more than 6 years now, and I can't recall another time in which seven or eight separate crews were working simultaneously in the field. This was one of many challenges placed before us this season and I'm incredibly proud of my coworkers for rising to the occasion. Thank you, Stephanie Green, Genita Limke, Steph Hasbargen, Luke Benedict, Ben Smith, Tim Sullivan and Terry Johnston. I am honored to serve this mission by your side. 

In last week's update, I mentioned activities were winding down in the field, but there was still work to be done. Crew number one finished seeding on Monday near Marion, ND, for a farmer recovering from knee replacement surgery. They were able to plant several hundred acres of soybeans to allow proper rehab and recovery for the knee. If things continue to improve, this farmer should be back in the field by harvest. Crew number two wrapped up their efforts earlier this week near Erskine, MN, for another family in need. The main operator of the farm was recently diagnosed with cancer, which was followed by surgery and a period of recovery and lifting restrictions. He also began chemotherapy cycles that have prevented him from carrying out his necessary farm work. We were honored to seed their soybean crop as he continues this battle. Crew number three spent time near Powers Lake, ND to assist a young farming couple. The wife of this operation was recently informed of a life-threatening condition that arose during pregnancy. The issue required an early delivery for the safety of the baby and mother. Both are doing well, but still recovering in an area hospital. We were happy to step in with planting support to assist with their wheat crop. Several neighbors also joined the charge to ensure their fields were planted in time. Much of our planting equipment is now in line for some post-season maintenance and TLC. We've also begun preparations for haying season, as well as the fast-approaching small grain harvest in our Corn Belt states.

Winter and early spring are often busier times of the year for trade shows and ag-related events, but summer also brings many opportunities for outreach. This past Saturday, our Executive Director, Tim Sullivan, was honored to be part of the 22nd annual “Breakfast on the Farm” event near Hawley, MN. This celebration featured a delicious farm-fresh breakfast, kids activities and several booths (like ours) to share information with guests. One of our newest sponsors - Continuum Ag - also invited us to participate in their summer TopSoil Summit on June 5th in Riverside, IA. This presented another wonderful opportunity to share our mission with attendees and other ag industry professionals. We look forward to other summer events and festivals throughout the coming months.

I've already extended a bit of appreciation to our amazing Farm Rescue staff, but I want to give extra-special recognition to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Jeremy Surovy, Dean Isaacs, Jeff Barnes, Rick Davidson, Chester Arnold & Kaden Teerink. These volunteers epitomize what it means to be a Good Samaritan and we are so blessed to have their support!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


June 2, 2023 - The Shrinking Window

As the sun begins to set on another busy planting season at Farm Rescue, we are still receiving some last-minute assistance requests from families in dire need of support. With an ever-closing window of opportunity in the field, our volunteers have been working diligently to complete this crucial work in time. Crew number one spent their week near Max, ND, planting soybeans for a farmer dealing with complications from recent open heart surgery. As he continues his recovery in Arizona (with hopes of returning home later this month) our volunteers have been making great progress in the field, seeding the entirety of his bean crop. Thanks to some cooperative weather, they were able to complete the last of their requested acres yesterday. Crew number two has been hard at work near Meadow, SD, this week, where a mother and five children are dealing with the mental health strain of losing their husband/father unexpectedly. Farm Rescue volunteers planted hundreds of corn acres for this family, as they continue navigating their grief while trying to sustain their farming operation. They were able to wrap up their efforts on Tuesday, before moving to another farm near Erskine, MN, to assist a farmer battling cancer. Around the same time, crew number three crossed the finish line at a farm near Willow City, ND. They spent several days planting wheat and soybeans for a farmer battling Leukemia, who also lost his son and farming partner within the last few weeks. We hope the assistance provides a bit of relief during a very difficult time for this family. From here, the crew moved to Harvey, ND, to plant more soybeans for a farmer who recently underwent gallbladder surgery. Because of the lifting restrictions involved in his recovery, he is unable to carry out his necessary seeding work and we were honored to lend a hand. After seeding a few hundred acres, this same group of volunteers has now moved northwest to Powers Lake, ND, to assist a husband and wife operation. This couple was recently informed of a life-threatening condition that arose during pregnancy, which required an early delivery for the safety of the baby and mother. With planting season slipping away, we were contacted for immediate support and were happy to step in. Finally, crew number four began their week near Jud, ND, assisting a farmer who was recently diagnosed with COPD. This condition has affected his ability to breathe and prevented him from working outside, which obviously limits his activity on the farm. Our volunteers made relatively quick work of their requested soybean and corn acres before moving to nearby Montpelier, ND, where a farmer is recovering from neck/skull surgery to alleviate pressure on his spinal cord. They planted nearly 800 acres of soybeans for this family operation before making the short drive to Marion, ND, to assist a farmer recovering from knee replacement surgery. They will be tackling a few hundred acres of soybeans to allow further recovery and rehab on the knee. His hope is to be back in action by harvest season. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field for making these efforts possible:  Greg Kalinoski, Kelly Valtr, Hervey Madden, Albert Lautenschlager, Jeremy Surovy, John Andrews, Carol Andrews, Mike Melaas, Glenn Biederman, Jeff Preston, Chester Arnold, Kaden Teerink, Vane Clayton, Dean Isaacs, Mike Poppel and Jeff Barnes. You truly are Angels in Blue!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


May 26, 2023 - Get Up and Sow!

If I could pick an appropriate theme song for this week's Farm Rescue activities, it would probably be "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash. Granted, most of our assistance operations have been spread throughout our northern region instead of across the nation, but it feels like the list of rural communities in which our volunteers have been working and traveling could easily fill a verse or two. Thanks to some cooperation from Mother Nature, crew number one was able to complete the last of their wheat acres near Gladstone, ND, for a farmer recovering from back surgery. On Saturday, they roaded their tractor and air seeder to Mandan, ND, to immediately began planting oats, peas and wheat for a farmer battling pancreatic cancer. They made pretty quick work of their requested acreage before heading north to Max, ND, on Tuesday. This team has spent the remainder of the week seeding soybeans for a farmer dealing with complications from recent open heart surgery. He is continuing his recovery in Arizona and hopes to return home in late June. Our volunteers are honored to assist with his soybean crop as he focuses on getting back to the farm. Crew number two continued their corn planting operations near Glen Ullin, ND, for a couple whose 15-year-old daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury in a recent rollover crash. She has made tremendous progress throughout the past several weeks, but she and her mother remain at Craig Hospital in Colorado to continue her rehab. The father and two other teenage daughters are trying to carry on at the farm in their absence, while making bi-weekly trips south to visit their family members. We pray they're united at home very soon, and we are honored to lend a hand during this stressful time. Our volunteers wrapped up planting at their farm last night and spent a portion of today traveling to their next assistance case near Meadow, SD. They will be seeding more corn at this operation for a family dealing with an illness. Last weekend, crew number three put the finishing touches on their soybean acres near Greenbush, MN, for a farmer recently diagnosed with colon cancer. They spent Monday transporting their tractor and air seeder to a farm near Willow City, ND, to assist another family in planting their wheat and soybean crops. The main operator of the farm is currently battling Leukemia and recently lost his son and farming partner. Our volunteers have been working hard to lighten the burden on this family as they navigate these extremely difficult circumstances. Lastly, crew number four was able to complete their work over the weekend near McClusky, ND, seeding wheat for a farmer recovering from recent shoulder surgery. They spent Monday on the road to Fredonia, ND, to assist a farmer with his wheat and soybean crops as he recovers from open heart surgery. They finished planting yesterday morning and moved to nearby Jud, ND, to extend a helping hand to another farmer recovering from a heart procedure. Our Founder and President, Bill Gross, was in the area and carved out some time to get behind the wheel of our tractor to assist this family. He was met by John Deere Seeding Group Factory Materials Manager (and new volunteer), Dale Patrick, who was able to operate one of the quality machines their company built and recently overhauled for Farm Rescue. Thanks to this efficiently-operating air seeder, a late evening and an early start today, they were able to complete their requested soybean acres and move to another farm just down the road. This farmer was recently diagnosed with COPD, which has affected his ability to breathe and prevented him from working outside to plant the crops that sustain his family's livelihood. We hope our volunteer efforts will provide a bit of solace to their operation during this crucial planting season. With so many wheels in motion, I cannot overstate the appreciation we have for each and every volunteer serving this mission. A huge thank you goes out to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Chris Davison, Matt Blaylock, Chris Batdorf, Bryan Perry, Greg Kalinoski, Albert Lautenschlager, Kelly Valtr, Hervey Madden, Glenn Biederman, Mark Baumgarten, Mike Wilson, Ken Enstrom, Rich Thuesen, Keith Barkema, Dennis Koehler, Kenneth Chyle, Tom Richards, Debbie Richards, John Andrews, Carol Andrews, Mike Melaas, Vane Clayton, Dean Isaacs, Mike Poppel, Dale Patrick and Bill Gross. Your dedication and talent is beyond compare!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


May 19, 2023 - Widespread Kindness

Despite a few weather delays throughout the past several weeks, this continues to be one of the busier spring planting seasons on record for our organization. Coordinating more than a half-dozen volunteer crews and seeding equipment to arrive at a specific farm location at the appropriate time for planting to occur is no small task. Our Farm Rescue staff has worked tirelessly on the logistical side of our operations - communicating with farm families, equipment sponsors, volunteers and one another to keep our mission moving forward. It makes for some long days and often involves some difficult conversations with farmers in very dire circumstances. However, this work is something we take great pride in carrying out and it is never taken lightly. We are here to ease the burden on farm families in crisis, plain and simple. I say all of this to offer some much-deserved recognition to these staffers who are burning the midnight oil this spring, spending time away from their own families in support of others. Special shout-out to Luke Benedict, Ben Smith, Stephanie Green, Genita Limke, Tim Sullivan, Stephanie Hasbargen and Terry Johnston for your many contributions to Farm Rescue. I am honored to call you my coworkers. And a big congratulations to Luke and Ben, who are both celebrating high school graduates in their family this weekend! 

Our volunteers deserve just as much recognition for the many acres and miles they have traveled throughout this past week. Most of crews are operating within our upper service territory, but our current volunteers have traveled from states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas to serve. Their devotion knows no bounds and we are so blessed to have them on our team. After several rain delays, crew number one was finally able to wrap up planting midweek for a farmer/rancher near Conrad, IA recovering from a recent heart procedure. Because of the delays involved in this case, we had a variety of regional volunteers supporting these operations, and they did a wonderful job seeding a very important corn crop for this farmer. Last week, crew number two wrapped up planting for a third family impacted by an EF3 tornado in southeast Illinois. Another area family dealing with illness is awaiting their arrival, but continued moisture has prevented them from tackling their requested corn acres. Crew number three has also been hindered by precipitation near Gladstone, ND, as they look to continue their wheat planting efforts for a farmer recovering from back surgery. Barring any additional weather delays, they hope to wrap up within the next couple days and move to their next assistance location near Mandan, ND. Crew number four ended last week near Hudson, SD, planting corn and beans for a farmer dealing with severe arthritis in both knees. After his final acres were planted, this tractor and row crop planter made the long drive to Glen Ullin, ND, to begin sowing a few hundred acres of corn for a couple whose teenage daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury in a recent rollover crash. She is still receiving treatment at a specialized facility in Colorado, and our volunteers are truly honored to lend support to this family as they focus on her recovery. After a long wait, crew number six was finally able to make a few days of progress on some corn acres near Chelsea, SD, for a farmer sidelined by an ankle injury. They completed their operations today. Crew number seven spent their week near Greenbush, MN, seeding soybeans for a farmer who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week and we pray for his continued healing and recovery. Hopefully he'll be back in the field in time for harvest! Finally, crew number eight is hard at work near McClusky, ND, planting wheat for a farmer recovering from a recent shoulder surgery. Despite a few lingering wet spots, they were able to seed their first few fields on the back half of the work week and hope to continue their efforts throughout the weekend. Rounding out these eight volunteer crews are an incredible collection of Good Samaritans, serving as this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Maranda Crotty, Ron Donohue, Paul Zierke, John Neumayer, Chris Davison, Matt Blaylock, Chris Batdorf, Bryan Perry, Greg Kalinoski, Albert Lautenschlager, Mark Baumgarten, Mike Wilson, Chester Arnold, Ken Enstrom, Rich Thuesen, Keith Barkema, Dennis Koehler, Kenneth Chyle, Tom Richards and Debbie Richards. You truly are the lifeblood of our work, and you mean the world to our organization and the families we serve!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


May 12, 2023 - Rain Delays, Volunteer Praise and a Concert to Amaze

Farming often involves a lot of hard work and waiting. That was certainly the case this week for our volunteer crews, as multiple rain delays hindered progress in fields throughout the region. Last week, crew number one began planting corn for a farmer/rancher near Conrad, IA, who is recovering from a recent heart procedure. Rain showers on Saturday halted their activities and these somewhat local volunteers returned home to await dryer conditions. They resumed their work early yesterday and hope to wrap up this assistance effort before the next round of moisture arrives. Crew number two had their patience tested this week, as well, with yet another precipitation event hindering their progress near Palestine, IL. They began planting corn last week for a farmer whose farm equipment was heavily damaged by an EF3 tornado back on March 31. After a few days of drying, fields were once again ready to receive the final seeds of this family's crop. As of yesterday, they completed their work and plan to move on to another Illinois farm that is currently waiting for field conditions to improve. Crew number three spent most of last week near Gladstone, ND, assisting a family whose main implement operator is recovering from back surgery. A longer-than-expected delay provided an opportunity for this crew to head north and join forces with crew number four near Ray, ND. This group of Farm Rescuers worked tirelessly to plant canola and peas for a father/son operation with a lot on their plate. The father is in the midst of treatments to combat lung cancer that has also spread to his brain. This family welcomed our volunteers with open arms and trusted them to plant their crops during a very difficult time. Our volunteers spoke of the deep connections made in just a few short days as they worked to complete their assistance efforts. This is a common storyline throughout the history of Farm Rescue. Our volunteers are truly changing lives through their work, but many will tell you they receive just as much from the process as the families receiving help. This crew finished their last field on Monday morning, just in time to beat the rain. After a tearful goodbye, they returned to Gladstone, ND to resume planting activities. They've made some great progress this week, but more overnight rain showers have completely halted fieldwork for most of the western Dakotas. With help from Mother Nature, they hope to finish seeding for this family early next week. Crew number five started their week near Olivet, SD, planting corn for a farmer who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, followed by an emergency intestinal repair. They wrapped up their final acres on Tuesday, before venturing to Hudson, SD. These Farm Rescuers are now planting corn and beans for a farmer dealing with severe arthritis in both knees, who is likely headed for two total knee replacements. Crew number six has been anxiously waiting to tackle some corn acres near Chelsea, SD for a farmer sidelined by an ankle injury. Intermittent rain showers have been just enough to keep them out of the field throughout this week, but they hope to make some progress for this operations soon. A seventh crew spent most of their week performing some maintenance on equipment and vehicles, as they await the start of another assistance case delayed by heavy rain. Uncooperative weather sometimes requires some pivoting from our original plans to make the most of our time. As we speak, one of our volunteer crews has altered course and is now en route to Greenbush, MN to tackle some soybeans acres. This farmer, who recently underwent colon cancer surgery, was happy to hear we'd be arriving slightly ahead of schedule. We are honored to lend support to his operation as he continues his battle and recovery.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Farm Rescue is blessed to have an amazing family of talented volunteers. Unsurprisingly, many of these volunteers have a wealth of talent within their own families. Vane Clayton has been serving our mission for more than 3 years. His wife, Cass Clayton, is an accomplished musician. This past Saturday, they teamed up to host a Farm Rescue benefit concert at the Orchid Denver music venue in Denver, CO. The Cass Clayton Band performed to a packed house of generous attendees, with special messages from previously-assisted farm families and Farm Rescue's executive director, Tim Sullivan. The event was an overwhelming success, with more than $125,000 raised to support our assistance operations! We are beyond thankful to Vane, Cass, her talented band and everyone who contributed to this incredible fundraiser. Look for a video link to this concert on our website soon!

As you can see, there has been no shortage of activity throughout the past week, and none of these efforts would be possible without our amazing family of do-gooders. Very special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field (and on stage):  Tom Meyer, Ron Donohue, Austin Yoder, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Mike Youngblood, Fred Parnow, Dean Anderson, Steve Satterthwaite, Mike Wilson, Mark Burton, Mark Baumgarten, Tom Richards, Debbie Richards, Keith Barkema, Dennis Koehler, Jeff Preston, Chester Arnold, Wayland Adams, Vane Clayton, Cass Clayton, Taylor Scott, James Dumm, Jon Wirtz, Eric Imbrosciano and Jiho Han. You're all rockstars in our book!

Until next time, 

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager

 


May 5, 2023 - Spinning Plates

As with any farming operation, Farm Rescue has times of the year when activities tend to be much busier than others. That's definitely the case this week, with the window for planting now wide open for most of our 8-state service territory. Our assistance crews are spread farther than ever before, and our staff has been hard at work coordinating these volunteer teams, equipment and lodging. All this to say there has been a fury of field work and travel to assist multiple farm families in crisis. After another short rain delay, crew number one continued their planting assistance work near Harper, IA for a family impacted by two recent tornadoes, who was already dealing with a serious health scare by one of its main operators. Volunteers completed their remaining soybean acres on Tuesday, before heading northwest to Conrad, IA. They've spent the remainder of the week seeding corn for a farmer/rancher who's been sidelined by a recent heart procedure. After waiting out a rain delay of their own, crew number two completed the remainder of their corn planting for a Robinson, IL farmer whose farm and equipment was destroyed by a tornado in late March. They've now moved a few miles north, near Palestine, IL to plant more corn for a farmer who was impacted by this same tornado. Nearly all of his equipment was damaged by this EF3 twister, and we are honored to lend support in getting his crop in the ground. A mere 17-hour drive to the northwest, crew number three arrived near Gladstone, ND to begin planting wheat for a farm whose main operator is recovering from back surgery. Fieldwork began on Tuesday and will likely continue for several more days with rain in the forecast this weekend. Crew number four is in northwest North Dakota, assisting a father/son operation with a few hundred acres of peas and canola, as the father continues his ongoing battle with cancer. A fifth crew began planting corn near Olivet, SD today for a farmer who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, followed by an emergency intestinal repair. He is now in long-term hospital care and Farm Rescue volunteers are working to seed this vital crop in support of the family's cattle operation. Crew number six spent a couple days this week hauling corn for a ranch near Beresford, SD, where a recent fire destroyed this family's semi truck and a fair amount of cattle feed. They also have a contract with a local ethanol plant, and we were happy to lend a bit of commodity hauling support to help fulfill that obligation. 

Having a half-dozen assistance operations working simultaneously takes a lot of coordination and communication between our staff, volunteers and farm families. It truly takes a village to make this mission possible and we have many people to thank for their contributions. A big shout out to our Farm Rescue staff members leading the logistical charge for these operations - Stephanie Green, Genita Limke, Luke Benedict, Ben Smith and Steph Hasbargen. They have many plates to keep spinning this time of year and they've been doing a wonderful job. Lastly, this assistance work would never be possible without the incredible family of do-gooders, serving as our boots on the ground. A very special thank you to this week's longer-than-average list of Farm Rescuers in the field: Gaylen Weisenburger, Ted Smith, Mark Baumgarten, Mark Burton, Tom Richards, Debbie Richards, Albert Lautenschlager, April Lautenschlager, Mike Wilson, Steve Satterthwaite, Mike Youngblood, Fred Parnow, Tom Meyer, Ron Donohue, Brad Cox, Terry Willhoit, Glenn Pope, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko and Ben Leachman. We are forever grateful for your passion and generosity!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


April 28, 2023 - Planters and Patience

When Farm Rescue's founder and president, Bill Gross, made the decision to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping area farmers in crisis, I don't think he could've imagined just how large that area would become. Around this same time of year back in 2006, a small group of volunteers (including Bill) planted the very first seeds of hope for a family in western North Dakota. Today, we are proud to offer a wider range of assistance services, backed by a MUCH larger group of volunteers. From that first western North Dakota field, our organization has maintained steady growth throughout the past 17 farming seasons. In addition to North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, Farm Rescue is now providing support to families in Illinois. This week, our dedicated volunteers have continued their assistance efforts for our very first Prairie State farm. This crew is planting both corn and soybeans for a Robinson, IL family who lost nearly everything to an EF3 tornado on March 31. Volunteers began planting last Thursday, but an overnight thunderstorm dropped nearly an inch and a half of rain. They resumed operations on Monday afternoon and have made great progress throughout the week. Once the final soybeans are in the ground, they will be traveling a few miles up the road to help another farm decimated by this same storm. A few hours to the west, crew number one also spent the weekend waiting out a rain delay near Wellman, IA. Two of three family farmsteads involved in this operation were heavily damaged by an EF4 tornado. The main operator of the farm lost his home, as did his aunt and uncle. The tornado also leveled several hog barns and equipment buildings, filled with crucial farm implements. After tackling some tillage and field cleanup work, our volunteers began planting beans for this family last Wednesday. Heavy rain halted progress, but they were able to resume field operations after the weekend and finished planting on Tuesday. From there, they headed southwest to Harper, IA, where another family is still assessing the damage from two separate tornadoes that moved through the area. This father and son operation was already dealing with tragedy prior to the storm, as the father suffered a stroke just three days before the tornadoes hit. We are honored to provide planting support to this family as they continue their recovery on multiple fronts. 

As volunteers continued their efforts in these Corn Belt states, another group of Farm Rescuers was hard at work readying equipment and coordinating with families throughout our Upper Plains region. Despite near record snowfall in many areas of the Dakotas, fields have been drying out in the western half of these states. Fieldwork should begin soon and several volunteers are already en route to farms in need of some help. It's shaping up to be a busy spring for our good Samaritans and equipment, with many families already on the schedule. These efforts are made possible through a tremendous outpouring of generosity from our donors, grantors and business sponsors, but also through the outstanding work and sacrifice of our volunteers. A big thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Will Rudolphi, Wade Peterson, Albert Lautenschlager, Tom Meyer, Ron Donohue, Brad Cox, Terry Willhoit and Lori Hagerman. Thank you for all you do!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


April 21, 2023 - Bringing Us Up to Speed

The new year is not quite so new anymore and as usual, I've got some catching up to do! It was a very long winter for many folks in our northern service territory, with Mother Nature delivering a nonstop supply of snowfall and blizzard conditions throughout much of the region. As I type this, portions of the Dakotas and Minnesota are dealing with yet another fresh blanket of white. In the meantime, portions of our Corn Belt states have seen temperature climb into the upper 80s the past couple weeks, and most producers in Kansas and Nebraska are still dealing with severe drought conditions. Needless to say, it's been a very tough few months for Midwest ranchers. We started 2023 with a busy schedule of farm shows and events, which provided great opportunities to share our mission with attendees and vendors. Our staff was also excited to welcome 2 new employees throughout the past few months. Ben Smith is our new Field Operations Manager, serving the Corn Belt region. He resides in Gilbert, IA and has an extensive background in agriculture (especially row crops). He will be managing our assistance operations throughout Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Terry Johnston is our newest Development Officer, also covering our Corn Belt states. Terry lives near Parkersburg, IA and has a wealth of experience in agricultural sales, which will come in handy during his outreach efforts. We're very excited to have them on board and they've truly hit the ground running since joining our team. 

Our assistance operations got off to a pretty early start again this year, with a February hay hauling trip to Rosebud, SD to deliver much-needed cattle feed to a ranch impacted by drought and extreme winter weather. In early March, our volunteers began a livestock feeding case near Conrad, IA for a rancher recovering from heart surgery. Multiple Farm Rescuers lent a hand to this operation, ensuring the cows were properly fed and the rancher properly rested. On March 31, an evening of severe weather impacted several counties across Iowa and Illinois. Multiple tornadoes tore through the region, destroying homes, outbuildings, fencing and equipment, as well as claiming the lives of people and livestock. This week, Farm Rescue volunteers are providing assistance to some of the families who saw their homes and operations decimated by these storms. Crew number one began the week near Wellman, IA, where an EF4 tornado destroyed 2 of 3 family farmsteads involved in this hog, beef cattle and row crop operation. In addition to claiming two houses, the twister also leveled several hog barns and equipment buildings. Without access to essential planting implements, the family was encouraged to seek help from Farm Rescue. We are honored to provide equipment and volunteers to assist with tillage work and soybean planting as they focus on many other tasks at hand. Six hours away, the communities of Robinson and Palestine, IL witnessed the same destructive power as it claimed both life and property along its path. Crew number two arrived on scene yesterday to begin helping the first of three farms approved for Farm Rescue assistance as a result of this storm. This particular family experienced a direct hit from an EF3 tornado, which demolished nearly everything on their property. All buildings and their contents were scattered across the landscape, and most farm equipment and vehicles were damaged beyond repair. With planting season now upon us, Farm Rescue is glad to provide a bit of relief for this family during a very important time of year. Our volunteers and equipment will be planting both corn and soybeans for this operation as they continue their cleanup and recovery in the wake of this natural disaster. Incredibly, no family members were injured on any of the farms receiving our assistance, but we continue to pray for those who lost loved ones in these storms. It's a sobering reminder of how quickly life can change and that nothing is guaranteed during our time here. My heart breaks for these families and I'll definitely be hugging mine a bit tighter when I return home. 

In the midst of all this destruction, I'm also incredibly thankful for the Farm Rescue volunteers working to raise the spirits of those around them. Their dedication to our mission is truly awe-inspiring and they give so much of themselves to help others in crisis. Special thanks to the Farm Rescuers who have served our organization thus far in 2023:  Garry Deckert, Jeff Preston, Tom Meyer, Ron Donohue, Mark Baumgarten, Mike Youngblood, Paul Zierke, Wade Peterson, Brad Cox, Terry Willhoit, Dean Anderson, Keith Barkema, Keith Bisson, John Neumeyer, Ben Noland, Greg Shrine, Kyle Spowart, Rich Thuesen, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Corey Hyde, Steph Walter, Kyle Thormodson, Albert Lautenschlager and Brian Palmer. I apologize to anyone I've missed, but please know that you are appreciated!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager

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FARM RESCUE SPONSOR - Razor Tracking

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FEATURED VOLUNTEER - Ron Donohue

FEATURED RESCUE

Farm Rescue 2023 - Palestine, IL