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Our Impact

2024 Weekly Highlights

June 20, 2024 - Asking for help is a sign of strength

Bare fields have given way to amber waves of grain for much of the southern part of the United States and it won’t be long before Farm Rescue staff and volunteers are heeding the call of farm families in need.

That call can come from the family itself, a caring neighbor, or a farm organization the family is a member of, but it will always be answered.

Another call that will always be answered is one to the National Suicide Hotline. By calling 988 or 800-273-8255, a person can be talking through their worries with someone in a matter of minutes. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Asking for help is a sign of strength. It’s a strong person who makes that move to improve his mental health and take care of his well-being.

If you or someone you know needs mental health resources and doesn’t know where to turn, visit farmfoundation.org/resources/farm-family-wellness-alliance/. There you will find several low-cost options for putting your mental health back on a firm foundation.

A firm foundation is what an Elgin, North Dakota, farm family needed as one of their own faced a mental health crisis and needed time to regain his footing. While farming is often physically taxing, it can quickly overwhelm someone mentally as well. Our lone angel in blue, Kenny Crites, went to work this week helping that family haul sunflowers to market and get wheat planted so they can all breathe a little easier.

Farm Rescue sends a hearty thanks to Kenny and all those who stepped up during planting season. We also extend our appreciation to those who help us maintain our mental health, whether it be a family member, close friend, pastor or counselor.

Making a left turn into other Farm Rescue happenings, the Farm Rescue pickup was very popular at the Iowa Corn 350 NASCAR race at Iowa Speedway over Father's Day weekend. Ross Chastain and the No. 1 Busch Light car placed 11th in the race but will always be a winner in our book! 

Farm Rescue would like to thank Anheuser-Busch and Busch Light for allowing us to share our mission with racegoers!

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”—John Green

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


June 13, 2024 - The heart of the matter

People are at the heart of the matter for Farm Rescue.

From the farmers we want to help, to the Farm Rescue employees who lay the groundwork before help arrives, the volunteers who pause their lives at home, and finally to the sponsors who make providing that help possible, all of it revolves around people.

During the rush of planting season, one of our volunteers said that he and his crew were just four dads trying to make it possible for another dad to spend precious time with his child. It’s the people that matter to Farm Rescue and this week was spent planting the seeds to be able to give a hand up to farmers in crises in the future.

Actual seed planting continued this week for a Meadow, South Dakota, family facing a long road to recovery for their son who is a third-generation farmer and was involved in a terrible car accident in February.

Our small but mighty crew of volunteers then moved to Niagara, North Dakota, to assist a farming family who have been facing urgent medical issues on multiple fronts while trying to raise their young children and care for ailing grandparents.

A Langdon, North Dakota, farmer is recovering from a recent cancer surgery and needed to get his soybeans planted. Our angels in blue were able to get in the fields once they dried out from frequent rains.

The weather was perfect for Farm Rescue Friday, hosted by Wyffels Hybrids and Prairie State Tractor in Geneseo, Illinois, last week. This backyard BBQ was meant to educate attendees about Farm Rescue and raise money for our worthy cause. Several volunteers were able to attend including Randy Woods, Harrison Schweitzer, Jim & Laurie Rose, Les Reu, John Neumayer, Dennis Morgan, Jack Limke, and Erv Geisler. Staff members included Tim Sullivan, senior development director; Ben Smith, field operations manager; Genita Limke, volunteer coordinator; and Nate Clark, Farm Rescue’s new executive director. Nate has shown how passionate he is about Farm Rescue’s mission, and we look forward to working with him more now that he’s officially part of the crew!

Our angels in blue this week were Kenny Crites, Albert Lautenschlager, Greg Kalinoski, and John Neumayer.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”—Dalai Lama

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


June 6, 2024 – Operation Hay Lift concludes and planting rolls on

As reports of massive wildfires devouring a history-making number of acres started coming in from Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, Farm Rescue minded the gap for farmers and ranchers who had lost cattle, fences, equipment and homes.

Field Operations Manager Ben Smith reports that Operation Hay Lift, which started on March 20, helped a total of 43 families before it concluded May 31.

Nineteen drivers from Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin, freely gave their time to make sure those affected could feed their cattle.

It was incredibly humbling to see the look of relief in the recipients’ eyes and hear the appreciation in their voices as the hay was unloaded and the ratchet straps were being rolled up.

Planting season has been fast and furious when the rain stopped long enough to let the soil dry out.

Our angels in blue finished their work near Eddyville, Iowa, for a family dealing with depression, following the loss of their father who always took care of the corn planting.

A tornado recently devastated a Corning, Iowa, family’s farm. Farm Rescue volunteers were able to get their soybeans planted this week, taking one more worry off their shoulders.

Soybeans were also planted for a Prescott, Iowa, family affected by that same tornado. Our hand up will give them time to concentrate on repairing their house, shed, and the many miles of fence that were destroyed.

A farm family in Niagara, North Dakota, was left reeling by a number of medical issues that need time and attention to heal. Planting their soybeans was one thing Farm Rescue could do to give them more of both.

A Carpio, North Dakota, family continues to work through their father’s brain tumor diagnosis and treatment. Farm Rescue was able to get their wheat planted so they will have some stability in the future.

Farm Rescue has also had a couple of opportunities to be in the community instead of the field this week! The Minnesota counties of Clay and Wilkin held a Breakfast on the Farm event that worked to educate the 3,500 attendees about agriculture and how it's involved in their daily lives. 

Wisconsin is the most recent addition to our coverage area. Anheuser-Busch wholesaler Beechwood Sales of New Berlin hosted an event that included a raffle with half of the proceeds being donated to Farm Rescue. We thank them for the warm welcome and their valuable support.

Farm Rescue extends a hearty thank you to all the volunteers this week including Drew Fish, Carl Benck, Greg Hill, Kenny Crites, Greg Kalinoski, Brian Kunes, Kevin Havern, Emil Baranko, Kenneth Chyle, Al Bryce, and Mike Youngblood.

“All I know for sure is that this world will break your heart, but it has a thousand forms of medicine too.”—Nadia Bolz-Weber

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


May 29, 2024 - Friends in need

Many of Farm Rescue’s volunteers and staff have strong ties to agriculture and the farmers and ranchers we serve are more than cases to us. We consider them friends.

Rainy conditions were persistent again this week, but our angels in blue prevailed and got some considerable acres planted and hay delivered.

With that rain came tornadoes that left a trail of destruction in Iowa. Quick work by our Field Operations Manager Ben Smith had a crew working in Corning, Iowa, for a family that lost their house, hog barns, and grain bins. All of their tractors suffered damage and they lost many head of livestock too. With our hand up, this family can concentrate on cleaning up and rebuilding.

There will be waves of wheat growing for a Willow City, North Dakota, farm family as Farm Rescue volunteers got their crop planted this week. Triple bypass heart surgery isn’t something that should be delayed, and we were happy to tend to the tilling as the patient heals.

A Carpio, North Dakota, farmer was sidelined by treatment for a brain tumor discovered last fall. As of press time, Farm Rescue volunteers were able to complete more than half of the needed planting to help keep his family farm going.

Broken ribs are terrible on their own, but coupled with a knee injury suffered at the same time and you have a very good reason to not be driving a tractor. One Karlsruhe, North Dakota, farmer is still in considerable pain but not because his crops still need to be planted, thanks to Farm Rescue volunteers.

While planting is winding down for some areas of the country, cattle feeding is still a need for those affected by the wildfires in Oklahoma earlier this year. Our case numbers are getting smaller, but we are committed to staying in the area until the work is done. We appreciate our truck driving volunteers for their hours on the road for the recovering ranchers.

A big thank you goes to this week’s volunteers who put the seeds in the soil and the wheels on the ground including Kenny Crites, Albert Lautenschlager, Greg Hill, Brian Kunes, Kevin Havern, Chester Arnold, Al Bryce, Drew Fish, Carl Benck, Mike Youngblood, Mike Poppel, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Tom & Debbie Richards, Garry Deckert, and Mike Wilson.

“If rain spoils our picnic but saves a farmer’s crop, who are we to say it shouldn’t rain?”—Tom Barrett

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


May 23, 2024 – You can’t keep a good crew down

The English philosopher John Stuart Mill is quoted as saying, “It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.”

This statement couldn’t have been truer for Farm Rescue’s angels in blue this week. Mechanical breakdowns and tire issues seemed to be a recurring theme as we filled the fields of several farmers facing serious medical issues and cattle-related calamities. While situations may have seemed bleak at times, this didn’t stop our dedicated teams from doing their best for the families they were serving.

Bowbells, North Dakota, is home to a farmer who recently went through open heart surgery. His sons were taking good care of the family’s cattle, but their canola crop needed more attention than they could spare.

A cow was the source of the injuries suffered by a Karlsruhe, North Dakota, farmer. Men weren’t made to plant corn with broken ribs and an injured knee, so Farm Rescue volunteers were happy to get his crop planted so the farmer had time to heal.

Another bovine bust up led a Center, North Dakota, farmer to seek Farm Rescue’s unique brand of help. Suffering from a broken leg meant he couldn’t get wheat planted to support his family and his cowherd.

A Keota, Iowa, farmer’s foot was recently crushed by a concrete feed bunk. While his brother provided a good amount of assistance, Farm Rescue was able to ease more of the family’s stress by getting their soybeans planted.

A Meadow, South Dakota, family needed some extra support after their son was severely injured in a car accident. As the family faced an extended recovery period, our angels in blue arrived to get their sunflower crop in the soil so they could concentrate on helping their son.

A brain tumor diagnosis for one Carpio, North Dakota, farmer meant that his teenage son was taking on the bulk of the workload. Allowing Farm Rescue to help get their wheat crop planted means their son and the family can breathe a little easier.

Many farmers deal with pain from lingering injuries and a Badger, Minnesota, farmer was in a dire situation as a bad spinal disc forced him to have neck surgery. Limited physical ability meant this farmer’s soybean crop wasn’t going to be planted in a timely manner. Thankfully, he was willing to let Farm Rescue volunteers give him a hand up in securing his future harvest.

Operation Hay Lift is benefitting Oklahoma ranchers as semi loads of hay are being delivered to those still recovering from the historic wildfires that swept through the western part of the state earlier this year.

If it seems like Farm Rescue was in a lot of places all at once it’s because we were! We are here so farmers and ranchers can get through the tough spots a little easier.

We would like to give our sincerest thanks to this week's crew of volunteers, including Chester Arnold, Mark Baumgarten, Ken Enstrom, Tom & Debbie Richards, Bruce Opheim, Andy Wittenburg, Mike Wilson, Garry Deckert, Ron Donohue, Terry Willhoit, Mike Youngblood, David Endorf, Kieth Worthley, and Albert Lautenschlager.

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


May 16, 2024 - Let the sun shine in

The Farm Rescue volunteers were sowing seeds when the sun shined this week. Rain still delayed them here and there but when the going was good our dedicated workforce was ready.

A Center, North Dakota, family needed some wheat and oats planted when the farmer suffered a broken leg while feeding cows. The farmer should be back on both feet eventually but having the planting covered gave the family the time they needed to tend their cowherd.

Two medical emergencies in consecutive months took a toll on an Alamo, North Dakota, farm family causing them to get behind on field work and their custom grain cleaning business to lose customers. Farm Rescue was happy to put boots on the ground so the family could concentrate on healing and celebrating their 2024 high school graduate.

A brain aneurysm has kept a Fairmount, North Dakota, farmer from tending his fields of corn and soybeans. Our volunteers stepped up to make sure seeds were sown for him and his family in the future.

Roscoe, South Dakota, is home to a farmer who suddenly lost his father this spring. Coupled with major health issues he’s faced in the recent past, he needed a hand up from Farm Rescue get this year’s corn and soybean crop ready.

Farm Rescue and its volunteers would like to sincerely thank AgCountry Farm Credit Services of Wahpeton, North Dakota, for bringing lunch out for our crew working in the Fairmount area. Our volunteers are not paid for their time, so it was a wonderful acknowledgement of how much they are appreciated by the surrounding community.

This week’s angels in blue were Mike Wilson, Ken Sevigny, Larry Begyn, David Endorf, Kieth Worthley, Mike Poppel, Kenneth Chyle, Mark Baumgarten, Ken Enstrom, John Radke, Jeff Preston, Steve Satterthwaite, Mark Madler, Mark Gilson, Mark Burton, Tom Knoll, Chester, Arnold, Tom & Debbie Richards, Mike Youngblood, Wade Peterson, Ron Donohue, Terry Wilhoit, and Andy Wittenburg.

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men."—Herman Melville

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant

 


May 9, 2024 - I love a rainy night, but ...

Farm Rescue crews had a good start to the week but rain has chased them out of the fields for the last couple of days.

One crew took on a case near Alamo, North Dakota, to plant peas, canola, and spring wheat for a farmer who's been fighting a vicious infection since having an appendectomy in March. Doctors have told him no cattle work, no tractor driving, and no climbing on the grain mill. That pretty much takes him out of commission and our volunteers have been happy to mind the gap for him and his family.

A farmer near Glen Ullin, North Dakota, had open heart surgery in February and his spring wheat still needs to be planted. Once the soil dries out, Farm Rescue looks forward to getting his crop in the ground and his family on firmer ground too.

Spring wheat and chick peas are the order of the day in Makoti, North Dakota, for a farmer with lingering gall bladder issues that have kept him out of his fields. Health issues and some additional personal tragedies will be less of a burden with a hand up from our volunteers.

We have one hay hauling case for the great state of Wisconsin for a farmer hit by on going drought. Feeding hay year round has greatly depleted their hay reserves and bills still need to be paid. Donated hay and a volunteer driver will help making ends meet.

Volunteers willing to weather the storms this week as rain fell across most of North Dakota were Tom Meyer, Kelly Valtr, Hervey Madden, Gary Kline, Tom Richards, Debbie Richards, Greg Kalinoski, Mark Burton, Mark Baumgarten, Tom Knoll, Dennis Morgan, Steve Satterthwaite, Mark Madler, Kenneth Chyle, John Andrews, John Radke, Mark Gilson, Jeff Preston, and Wade Peterson. We give all them a hearty thanks for their resilience and patience!

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


May 2, 2024 - And the rains came down

Through our Field Ops Manager, Ben Smith’s hard work there have been 8 new hay lift cases added to the list this week. Kevin Towe and Dean Isaacs have been delivering hay as fast as the law allows to farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires in western Oklahoma.

Our spring planting window has rain drops all over it thanks to Mother Nature turning on the spigot over the Dakotas. Farm Rescue had teams on deck waiting for the ground to dry out but then another rain cloud appeared overhead and dumped just the right amount of rain to delay things for another day or two.

One air seeder crew was hoping to plant wheat in Halliday, North Dakota, for a farmer who suffered a broken pelvis and hip when he was thrown from his 4-wheeler while chasing cattle.

A Glen Ullin, North Dakota, farmer had open heart surgery in February to repair an aortic aneurysm and replace a faulty valve. Farm Rescue had a team armed with an air seeder ready to plant his spring wheat crop.

Farm Rescue is set to tackle planting chickpeas for the first time ever this spring for a Makoti, North Dakota, farmer who’s been dealing with some devastating events in his community on top of facing serious health issues of his own.

As I’ve talked about the rain delays you may think our crews are just hanging out at their hotel, but you would be wrong. As with all agricultural enterprises there is always something to do even when the ground is too wet to farm and our crews have been taking care of some much-needed maintenance on seeders and other equipment while they wait.

The following volunteers have faced Mother Nature’s fickle attitude this week with bottomless patience and we can’t thank them enough for that. Those who have weathered the storms include Tom Meyer, Hervey Madden, Kelly Valtr, Greg Kalinoski, Mark Gilson, Gary Kline, Jeff Preston, Dennis Morgan, Steve Satterthwaite, and Kenneth Chyle. Dennis is new to volunteering for Farm Rescue and we hope he can participate in drier conditions next time!

“Despite all our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a 6-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” —Paul Harvey

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant


April 25, 2024 - Operation Hay Lift and planting begins

Farm Rescue started out 2024 answering the call to help farmers and ranchers in Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska after wildfire swept through those areas destroying hay supplies, equipment, and several thousand head of cattle. Our Operation Hay Lift volunteers stepped up and drove semis hooked to drop deck trailers from Fargo, North Dakota, down to North Platte, Nebraska, Shattuck, Oklahoma, Canadian, Texas, and several places in between. They shared the story of Farm Rescue’s purpose in many diners and coffee shops as they traveled, too.

Driving hundreds of miles across the scorched Plains, our volunteers got an up-close and personal view of what the fire left behind — the tremendous grit and resilience of farmers and ranchers who are at the mercy of Mother Nature on a daily basis. Farm Rescue trucks started their deliveries the last week of March and worked through the last full week of April.

We are so grateful to volunteers David Endorf, Garry Deckert, Kenny Crites, Garry Roberts, David Hunter, Mark Gilson, Ross Nelson, Rick & Cindy London, Tom Richards, Will Rudolphi, Kevin Smitherman, Kevin Towe and Dean Isaacs for their dedication in helping farmers and ranchers in Nebraska and the southern Great Plains.

Farm Rescue staff was still coordinating hay deliveries as planting season kicked into gear in the north country. Snow and rain caused some delays but crews were in place when the ground was ready to be sown.

Our air seeder crews have been planting wheat for a Stanley, North Dakota, family whose son is facing a devastating and rare cancer prognosis. Our volunteers were more than happy to take care of getting the family’s crop in the ground so they could spend time with their son and still have a source of income.

Another crew is planting wheat around Baldwin, North Dakota, for a farmer who needs to concentrate on his heart valve treatment at Mayo Clinic. Getting his crop in the ground will go a long way to easing his mind about the future.

A third crew is working in the New Salem, North Dakota, area planting more wheat for a family trying to overcome a cancer diagnosis and the prescribed surgery to begin the treatment process. This team will stay in the New Salem area to help yet another farmer who is facing back surgery that is being delayed by other health concerns.

Once these cases are completed, Farm Rescue volunteers will have planted just under 3,000 acres of wheat and a few hundred acres of barley for farmers in need of a hand up.

Those volunteers helping us in the early planting season include Emil Baranko, Kenneth Chyle, Matt Blaylock, Chris Davison, Chris Batdorf, Bryan Perry, Rich Thuesen, Sid Bardwell, Mike Wilson, Albert Lautenschlager, Mike Melaas, John Andrews, Glenn Biederman, Mike Youngblood, Paul Zierke, Tom Meyer, Hervey Madden, and Kelly Valtr.

You may notice a different name at the bottom of the highlights this week. I'm Jennifer Theurer and I started in February as Field Operations Support Assistant. I'm a retired farm kid who wanted to continue to support agriculture in any way I could. Dan Erdmann has entrusted the weekly highlights to me and I look forward to keeping you all updated on Farm Rescue's latest works.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time they just have the heart.” —Elizabeth Andrew

Respectfully,

Jennifer Theurer
Field Operations Support Assistant

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