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Our Impact

2022 Weekly Highlights

November 11, 2022 - Fieldwork Finale

Before I dive into this week's recap, I first want to wish all of our armed service members a happy Veterans Day. Thank you just never quite says enough, but we are truly appreciative of those who have served and continue to serve our country. Farm Rescue is honored to have many military veterans within our volunteer family. Their service to our organization and to these United States of America is a debt that can never be repaid. God bless all military veterans on this Veterans Day and all the days ahead!

Late last week, our first crew of field volunteers put the finishing touches on their soybean harvest work near Lehr, ND for a farmer dealing with heart and lung issues. After tackling their final acres, they returned our John Deere-sponsored combine to its home in Aberdeen, SD at RDO Equipment. This machine sure got a workout this fall and was instrumental in our assistance operations. Crew number two began this week near Montpelier, ND, providing corn harvest support to a farmer still recovering from a heart attack suffered earlier this year. Unfortunately, their efforts were cut short by a full day of rain, followed by a significant winter storm. With several inches of snow now blanketing the region's landscape, our fieldwork is likely complete for the year. A third volunteer crew spent most of their week near Maxbass, ND, hauling hay from field to farm for a rancher with a broken leg. Each truckload of bales involved a 24-mile round trip, but our Farm Rescuers worked steadily to finish the job before winter weather arrived. Upon their departure on Wednesday, they had moved around 850 bales of crucial winter feed for this family operation. As previously mentioned, it has not been the most pleasant week for outdoor activities, so we are all the more thankful for our incredible team of do-gooders who braved these conditions to serve our mission. Huge thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Rick Davidson, Al Bryce, Corey Hyde, Chester Arnold, Mark Danielczyk, Vane Clayton, Albert Lautenschlager and David Frueh. Your dedication to serving others in need is truly inspiring and we could not be more thankful for your support!

As we reflect on another year of assistance operations, 2022 has definitely brought a variety of challenges to farmers throughout the region. After an extremely wet spring and a later-than-average finish to planting season in our northern service territory, a prolonged period of dry weather has created some dire circumstances for those in our southern states. Catastrophic drought continues to impact many producers, with no immediate end in sight. As we've done with previous droughts, Farm Rescue is looking at potential relief efforts to combat the lack of available livestock feed. These plans are very much in their early stages, but depending on available resources, we hope to offer some level of support to these struggling operations. 

With another year under our belt, it's also a perfect time to appreciate the many blessings we have been afforded by so many kindhearted people. Without an incredible support network of volunteers, sponsors, donors and farm families, Farm Rescue would simply not exist. As we prepare to expand our service region in the spring (with the addition of Illinois), each and every supporter will be vital to serving an even greater number of families in crisis. Thank you all for helping to grow our mission in 2022 and for laying the groundwork for success throughout the years to come! 

Until next year,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


November 4, 2022 - Winding Down

With temperatures beginning to descend and a time change in store for the weekend, it's becoming more apparent that field operations are nearing an end. Volunteer crew number one wrapped up their remaining corn acres near Raymond, MN last weekend for a farmer still in the hospital. He has been battling complications stemming from the West Nile virus and we were honored to harvest both corn and soybeans as he continues his recovery. Our volunteers were also very thankful for this family, as they were kept very well-fed during some long days in the field. Shortly after the final load of corn was hauled to town, the AKRS Equipment-sponsored combine that helped support this case was transported back to Seward, NE. Crew number two spent most of this week near Lehr, ND, harvesting soybeans for another farmer in need. Ongoing heart and lung issues have prevented him from operating machinery during a crucial time of year and we are happy to help bring in this year's crop. Our volunteers should complete their last few acres this afternoon and plan to return our RDO Equipment-sponsored combine to Aberdeen, SD immediately after. Much like our other sponsored machines, this combine has served our mission well this harvest season and we are beyond thankful to John Deere and its incredible dealer network for providing these live-changing implements. Special thanks to this year's dealer sponsors of our sourced machines: Gooseneck Implement, AKRS Equipment, RDO Equipment Company and Van Wall Equipment. Your support means the world to our organization and the families we serve! Crew number three has been hard at work near Wishek, ND, assisting with corn harvest for another farmer battling illness. They finished up yesterday and have joined some of our other volunteers in transporting equipment and vehicles to some of their final destinations for the year. A fourth volunteer crew is active near Maxbass, ND, hauling a few hundred hay bales from field to farm for a producer who recently sustained a lower leg injury. He is unable to transport this crucial winter feed for his livestock and our volunteers are pleased to extend a helping hand. They will be devoting a few more days to this project and hope to complete their work before the snow falls. We've been blessed by some warmer-than-average weather for this time of year, but conditions are changing fast and we are so thankful for our incredible family of volunteers for their devotion to this mission --- come rain or shine, extreme heat or bitter cold. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Albert Lautenschlager, Kyle Thormodson, Emil Baranko, Chester Arnold, Mark Danielczyk, Vane Clayton and Garry Deckert. You're all a true blessing to Farm Rescue!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 28, 2022 - Outreach, Corn Ears & Millennial Volunteers

It's been another busy week at Farm Rescue, with a mixture of activities spreading our volunteers and staff across the region. Crew number one is nearing the end of their harvest assistance efforts for a family near Raymond, MN. This farmer has spent more than a month in the hospital recovering from the West Nile virus and will likely remain in their care through the end of the year. Our volunteers have been hard at work to bring in the family's soybean and corn crops. This week, we were blessed to receive some additional help from a brand new Farm Rescuer who lives in the area. Zach Johnson, AKA the Millennial Farmer, was kind enough to join our crew in tackling some of their remaining corn acres. Zach is a YouTube vlogger whose videos and social media posts about his family farming operation and agricultural practices have gained a tremendous following. He has already offered his support on several occasions in spreading word of Farm Rescue's efforts and raising funds, but this was his first time volunteering at an assistance case. Unsurprisingly, Zach was a seasoned veteran behind the wheel of our John Deere S790 combine and we were honored to have him on board. Look for his upcoming YouTube video about his Farm Rescue experience! Crew number two spent most of their week near Rothsay, MN, harvesting corn for a farmer who's currently receiving daily cancer treatments. After wrapping up their final field, they hit the road to Lehr, ND for another assistance case. This farmer is dealing with heart and lung issues that require a continuous supply of oxygen. He is currently unable to harvest his soybean crop and our volunteers are happy to lend their services. 

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 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. Needless to say, the future of farming is in good hands. Another pair of Farm Rescue reps spent the early part of their week in Bismarck for the ND Department of Commerce's Main Street Summit event. This gathering is centered around inspiring community-driven workforce and we were honored to participate. I would also like to give a special shout-out to our wonderful Office Manager, Steph Hasbargen, who spent her birthday operating Farm Rescue's booth at this event. She is a vital member of our team and we could not be more thankful for her devotion to our mission.

Speaking of birthdays, there is another Farm Rescue family member celebrating his special day as we speak. For the past 8 years, Emil Baranko has traveled from his home in Waukegan, IL to serve farm families in crisis through Farm Rescue - often making multiple trips each growing season to support our planting, hauling and harvest assistance efforts. He also spends several weeks away from his family and home to carry out this mission. As of today, Emil has celebrated 7 of his last 8 birthdays in the field, carrying out our Good Samaritan work. His dedication to our organization is truly next-level and we couldn't let the day pass without recognizing this incredibly selfless, hard-working man. Of course, Farm Rescue is thankful for each and every one of our volunteers and we relish any opportunity to celebrate these amazing individuals. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field, on the road and behind the scenes: Garry Deckert, Erv Geisler, Ryan Barbee, Albert Lautenschlager, Kyle Thormodson, Emil Baranko, Kevin Towe, Chester Arnold and Zach Johnson.

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 21, 2022 - Cornward Ho!

It seems Mother Nature may have jumped the gun a bit in sending a taste of winter weather last week. Despite a colder start to this week, the past few days have brought some beautiful outdoor conditions and additional progress in the field. Crew number one continued their work near Raymond, MN, harvesting soybeans for a farmer battling complications with the West Nile virus. After tackling the last of their bean acres, they’ve now begun reaping their first field of corn for this family as the farmer continues his recovery in an area hospital. After reaching our allotted number of engine hours on our AKRS Equipment-sponsored combine, our volunteers also made a quick trip to Sac City, IA to haul our Van Wall Equipment-sponsored machine to Raymond for the remainder of this case. Crew number two transported our RDO-sponsored combine from Georgetown, MN to Rothsay, MN to start combining a couple hundred acres of corn for a farmer recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Throughout the past few weeks, he’s been receiving daily radiation treatments and weekly chemotherapy to combat the disease. In November, he’ll be traveling to Mayo Clinic for additional surgery. Our volunteers began harvesting last night and will spend the next few days bringing in the family’s corn crop. They’ve also received additional trucking and grain cart driving support from the farmer’s brother and son-in-laws. This family has been wonderful to work with and we’re honored to provide a little extra help during a very difficult time. As we travel the countryside, there are many farmers hard at work to complete this year's harvest. We pray everyone has a safe and productive finish to the season and a wonderful end to the calendar year. A very special thank you to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Kevin Towe, Chester Arnold, Emil Baranko, Kenneth Chyle, Denny Koehler, Albert Lautenschlager, Wade Peterson and Keith Bisson. Thank you for your dedication and service to our mission!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 14, 2022 - Warm Weather Behind Us & Deep-fried Kindness

Midwest weather tends to have its share of mood swings and this week was an abrupt reminder that winter is just around the corner. On Tuesday, some of our volunteers enjoyed temps in the lower 80s as they mobilized at one of our harvest assistance cases. Less than 48 hours later, daytime highs barely crept into the low 40s with bitter cold wind gusts adding an extra layer of discomfort for those working outdoors. Some portions of our service territory awoke to an inch of snow this morning, but we're hoping it will be several more weeks before these blankets of white become a fixture of the landscape until spring. Crew number one spent last weekend near Worthington, MN, harvesting corn for a family dealing with illness. With cooperative weather and dialed-in equipment, they were able to finish quickly and move on to the next family in need. After transporting our combine and grain truck to Raymond, MN, they began harvesting soybeans on Wednesday evening for a family whose main operator is currently hospitalized after contracting the West Nile virus. Further complications with encephalitis arose and he was placed on a ventilator. We are truly honored to provide support to this family during a crucial time for their operation, as they take the first steps on their road to recovery. Our volunteers will also be tackling some corn for this family throughout the coming week. On Tuesday, crew number two was able to finish up their remaining soybean acres near Georgetown, MN for a farmer still recovering from a significant leg injury sustained this past spring. We pray his ongoing physical therapy and continued healing will have him back in the driver seat come planting season. Crew number three has spent the past week near McIntosh, SD, assisting a family with their harvest work after an important member of the operation suffered a grand mal seizure. During her recovery, she is prohibited from operating any equipment for at least 6 months. Our volunteers are happy to lend a hand as they work to bring in this year's crop. A fourth crew just wrapped up a couple days of combining near Ashley, ND, where a wife, mother and vital contributor to the farm is recovering from multiple eye surgeries. Our volunteers made quick work of a couple hundred acres of soybeans and even had an opportunity to give our combine a much-needed bath, courtesy of Green Iron Equipment. With the drastic change in weather, we are all the more thankful for our incredible and dedicated volunteers for braving the cold to carry out our mission. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Corey Hyde, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Keith Bisson, Andy Wittenburg, Albert Lautenschlager, Wade Peterson, Kieth Worthley and Mike Wilson.

Another special thank you goes out to the amazing young men of the Iowa State chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho. They are are a fraternity of 100% ag majors and last night, they held their annual "Agger Fries" philanthropy event. Around 800 students enjoyed deep-fried confections like fried pickles, French fries, fried Oreos and cheese curds. This year, they chose to donate their proceeds to Farm Rescue and our Development Officer, Lynne Hinrichsen, was honored to attend the event. We truly appreciate this generous support and we wish you all the best in your futures in agriculture!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


October 7, 2022 - Beans Abound

Progress has been the key word this week and we've been blessed to see plenty of it. Last weekend, crew number one wrapped up their work near Munich, ND, as the final acres of wheat were harvested for a farmer recovering from injury. The Gooseneck Implement-sponsored combine used for this particular case has assisted many families throughout the past several weeks and after reaching our allotted number of engine hours, our volunteers delivered this machine back to the John Deere dealer's Velva, ND location. As I write this, crew number two is finishing up their harvest efforts near Breckenridge, MN for another farmer recovering from multiple health issues. Following a surgery to remove a tumor, this farmer suffered a stroke and brain swelling which has prevented him from completing any harvest work. We are honored to extend a helping hand as he continues his rehab. Crew number three spent a majority of their week near Central City, NE, combining soybeans for a family dealing with illness. This AKRS Equipment-sponsored machine has been operating at peak efficiency, allowing them to wrap-up work and move on to the next farm in crisis. They spent yesterday transporting the combine to Worthington, MN, where another family is hindered by illness and in need of help with their corn harvest. Early this week, crew number four hauled the last few loads of hay from field to farm near McHenry, ND for a ranching couple recovering from back and ankle injuries. They were extremely thankful for the help of our volunteers in transporting this crucial winter feed for their 300 head of cattle. A fifth volunteer crew has been hard at work near Georgetown, MN this week for a farmer who sustained a leg injury this past spring, which continues to prevent him from climbing and operating machinery. Our RDO Equipment-sponsored combine and Farm Rescue volunteers will be harvesting around 1,000 acres of soybeans for this family, as he continues his 3x per week physical therapy. With harvest in full-swing throughout the region, more applications are arriving daily and our schedule is nearly full. We still have plenty of ground yet to cover and it wouldn't be possible without our incredible support team of volunteers and equipment sponsors. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Mike Wilson, Mike Youngblood, Andy Wittenburg, Kieth Worthley, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Kenny Crites, Paul Holgate, Albert & April Lautenschlager and Dave Parker. God bless you all and keep up the good work!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Marketing Program Manager


September 30, 2022 - Ramping Up

Field operations are back in full swing throughout much of the region, with many soybean and corn crops ready to be harvested. Our volunteers and equipment also had one of their busiest weeks in recent history as several crews worked to assist families in crisis. Following last week's rain delay, crew number one was back at it near Munich, ND, combining wheat for a father/son operation recovering from an accident on the farm. Thanks to some dry, sunny weather, they've made good progress this week and should wrap up their efforts sometime tomorrow. Crew number two has spent a couple days near Breckenridge, MN, tackling a few hundred acres of soybeans for another family in recovery mode. This farmer recently underwent surgery to remove a pituitary tumor. After the procedure, he suffered a stroke and brain swelling which left him with cognitive and visual impairments. Although he continues to make progress, he's unable to participate in harvest activities. We are honored to lend a hand during this important time of year and allow greater focus on his recovery. Crew number three spent their week in eastern Nebraska, harvesting a few hundred acres of beans for a Newman Grove family dealing with illness. As always, this family was very accommodating and extremely thankful to our volunteers for their help. This team has now ventured south to Central City, NE to support another family in the midst of illness. They hope to complete around 600 acres of soybeans in the coming days. A fourth volunteer crew has been hard at work near McHenry, ND, hauling a few hundred bales from field to farm for a husband/wife ranching operation. The husband recently sustained a back injury and the wife has a torn tendon in her ankle. Ongoing road construction in the area has slowed their progress a bit, but this Good Samaritan team hopes to finish up their transport efforts early next week. With plenty of acres yet to harvest, a worsening drought throughout our southern territory and a full schedule ahead, it's safe to say we will be keeping plenty busy in the coming weeks. I cannot overstate the importance of our volunteers in providing these live-changing assistance services. They truly are a special breed of human being and it's such an honor to have them leading the charge in fulfilling this mission. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Mike Wilson, Mike Youngblood, Kieth Worthley, Garry Deckert, Gary Krieger, Paul Holgate, Kenny Crites, Albert & April Lautenschlager, David Parker and Ross Nelson. These men and women give so much of themselves and ask nothing in return. Their good deeds often go unnoticed by the general public, but they mean the world to our organization and the families we serve. I leave you this week with a quote from one of our most active volunteers, Kenny Crites. He's the last person to seek recognition, but it's a statement that speaks volumes about his character and so many others who choose to serve with Farm Rescue. After sharing a photo and a thank you with Kenny, he responded with:

"In a pastor's message a few years ago, he said we are the average of the 10 closest people we are around... Farm Rescue has those kind of people who bring my average a lot higher! Thanks for letting me be part of the organization."

Thank YOU, Kenny, and thanks to all who support this incredible endeavor! 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


September 23, 2022 - Canola Close-Out & Beans Begin

We find ourselves in a similar situation to last week's update --- waiting out a weather delay. Thankfully, this respite comes after our harvest assistance efforts wrapped up near York, ND earlier this week. Our incredible volunteers finished the final acres of canola for a family focused on an advanced-stage cancer battle. A few days of dry conditions aided their progress and they made quick work of their remaining fields. These volunteers have now moved northeast to the small community of Munich, ND to assist another family during wheat harvest. This father and son operation has been stretched pretty thin following an accident on their farm. The father is still recovering from a fall that broke 10 ribs and fractured his pelvic bone. Our crew is honored to help shoulder this added burden and carry them through this important season. Unfortunately, the wheat was still running a bit too wet for delivery to the elevator and some overnight showers didn't help the cause. They hope to resume operations within the next couple days. Other volunteers, along with our Field Ops Manager, Luke, were busy transporting equipment for additional cases across our service territory. Two more John Deere-sponsored combines were dispatched from our amazing dealer partners - RDO Equipment in Aberdeen, SD and AKRS Equipment in Seward, NE - to join our efforts in the field. Our Gooseneck Implement combine has already been hard at work the past few weeks, and the RDO machine is now ready for action as soybeans continue maturing at a couple upcoming assistance stops. Our AKRS Equipment combine is already tackling a few hundred acres of soybeans near Newman Grove, NE for a family dealing with illness. AKRS has graciously offered to sponsor every engine hour used on this machine throughout harvest and we could not be more thankful for this incredible support. The continued generosity of John Deere and its dealer network has been a true blessing to our organization and this equipment has served us (and our assisted families) very well over the years. Thank you to ALL our sponsors and donors for making this work possible and thanks to our volunteers for serving as our boots-on-the-ground in fulfilling this mission. A big shout out to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field: Paul Holgate, John Robertson, Steph Walter, Albert Lautenschlager, Kenny Crites, Ross Nelson and Lynn Lilienthal. We couldn't ask for a better family of Good Samaritans! 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


September 16, 2022 - Highs, Lows & Farm Shows

The assistance services offered through Farm Rescue have a tendency to evoke a wide range of emotions. The farmers and ranchers receiving our support are often in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. These stories can be truly heartbreaking, but the camaraderie developed between our volunteers and families can also spark great joy. This week was another emotional rollercoaster ride for all parties involved, as our Farm Rescuers worked diligently to bring in the harvest for a pair of operations in dire need of support. In the small community of York, ND, two separate families are focused on advanced-stage cancer battles. Crew number one arrived at the first farm last weekend to begin harvesting a few hundred acres of barley. Thanks to some cooperative weather and a few long days, they were able to wrap up work before midweek and allow this farmer to spend some valuable time with his wife. Just up the road, crew number two began harvesting canola for a neighboring family as another wife and mother returned home from an intense regimen of cancer treatments. Our volunteers were making good progress until a late-week thunderstorm halted activities for a few days. They're anxious to return to the field and provide some additional rest time for this couple to focus on recovery and their young children. Both of these families have been extremely gracious for this help and I know our volunteers were incredibly honored to lend a hand. Other Farm Rescue crews have been busy preparing for some upcoming operations. One group is currently pre-positioning equipment in Nebraska for the fast-approaching corn and soybean harvest. Another volunteer team has moved some of our planting equipment west for a bit of service work prior to winter storage.

This week also included some wonderful outreach opportunities for our staff and volunteers at both the Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo, ND and Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, NE. 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 these 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: Tom & Debbie Richards, Kenny Crites, Mike Melaas, John Robertson, Paul Holgate, Albert Lautenschlager, Kieth Worthley, Erv Geisler, Randal Mayer, Larry Richard and Greg Kalinoski. Special thanks to Titan International for the opportunity to be featured in your Husker Harvest Days display. We truly enjoyed the event!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


September 2, 2022 - Progress on Multiple Fronts

When it comes to fieldwork, things don't always go smoothly. Many factors can affect progress and it's all part of the daily grind in agriculture. This week, however, our volunteers enjoyed near perfect conditions for their harvest efforts to proceed. Mother Nature blessed them with ideal weather, our machinery operated at peak efficiency and our volunteer crew, composed of Kenny Crites, Kevin Towe and Tom & Debbie Richards, really hit their stride for a family near Maddock, ND. This team made tremendous progress for a farming couple as the husband continues his 4-month recovery from shoulder surgery and the wife prepares for an upcoming achilles tendon surgery. By the time they dumped their final hopper load of wheat yesterday afternoon, our Farm Rescuers had harvested nearly 1,000 acres for this incredibly thankful and hospitable family. Due to the later-than-average finish to spring planting, we're still waiting on several approved small grain cases to be ready for our volunteers and equipment to arrive. In the meantime, applications are still arriving for row crop harvest assistance and we look forward to extending a helping hand to many more families throughout the late-summer and fall seasons. 

Our field crew wasn't the only group making headway the past few days, as another team of Farm Rescue volunteers and staff members experienced some progress of their own. Our nonprofit was blessed to have a very visible presence this week at the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone, IA. This is one of the largest outdoor farm shows in the world, with hundreds of vendors sharing the latest farm products and information with thousands of attendees. Farm Rescue was more involved in this 3-day event than ever before. 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 John Deere, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Wvffels Hybrids, Schippers USA, Titan International, AgrAbility of Iowa and Salford Group. It's a week we'll never forget! 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 Lynne Hinrichsen, as well as an amazing group of volunteers. Thank you to the following Farm Rescuers for helping us manage such a busy week in Boone and representing our organization at the highest standard: Garry Deckert, Steph Walter, Mark Baumgarten, Jeff Preston, Mike Wilson, Mark Burton, John Neumayer, Erv Geisler, Chris Davison, Rich Thuesen and Paul & Lorna Zierke. We're already looking forward to next year's show!

Until next time, 

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager                             

 
 


August 26, 2022 - Wheat Work and a Big Announcement

Following last week's rain delay, our harvest crew was happy to be back in the field this week, assisting a family near Sheyenne, ND. This operation is dealing with an illness and Farm Rescue is there to provide a bit of support during this important harvest season. Thanks to some cooperation from Mother Nature, this crew is nearly done with the family's wheat crop. They will be harvesting a few acres of barley before moving on to our next case near Maddock, ND to assist a farmer recovering from shoulder surgery. Huge thanks to our Farm Rescuers supporting these efforts, including Kenny Crites, Rick Davidson, Tom & Debbie Richards and Kevin Towe. Many other crops are nearing maturity throughout the region and we're seeing more and more short-notice assistance requests popping up as a result of unexpected injury or medical procedures. This is usually the norm for this time of year and we're poised and ready to provide help wherever it's needed. As operations ramp-up in the field, our staff and volunteers are also preparing for a busy few days in Boone, IA next week during the annual Farm Progress Show. We are honored to be featured in several sponsor/partner booths throughout this event and look forward to interacting with thousands of attendees. We'll have more to share from this massive farm show in next week's update.

It was also a milestone week in the history of our organization as we announced Illinois will soon be added to our list of service states. Operations will begin with spring planting assistance in 2023, followed by haying, harvest, commodity hauling and livestock feeding support throughout the remaining growing season and for years to come. These services will be available to eligible farm families across the Prairie State. This expansion is being made possible through the generosity of several major sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, John Deere, Nutrien Ag Solutions and Wyffels Hybrids. We will also receive additional support for our Illinois operations through local John Deere retailer, Sloan Implement. The company is helping to coordinate delivery of a combine for our 2023 harvest assistance efforts in Illinois and the surrounding region, as well as supplying tech support and service for our initial launch of operations in the state. Adding new territory to our footprint is no small task and we are incredibly thankful to all who brought this expansion to fruition. Farm Rescue's continued growth is the result of an incredible team effort by individual donors, farm families, sponsors, staff members and of course, our volunteers. We look forward to extending a helping hand to an even greater number of farm families in crisis across our (soon-to-be) 8-state service area. 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


August 19, 2022 - Hurry Up and Wait

After a late finish to planting season throughout much of our northern service territory, it comes as no surprise that harvest is a little behind schedule. In a typical year, many farmers would be wrapping up small grains about now, but this year, there are plenty of fields yet to be cut. Our first North Dakota wheat harvest case was finally ready to begin this week, as our volunteers transported one of our John Deere-sponsored combines from Gooseneck Implement's Velva, ND location to Sheyenne, ND. This particular operation is dealing with an illness in the family and we are honored to provide a bit of support during this important stage in the growing season. Unfortunately, just after our volunteers arrived on site and gathered their initial crop sample, Mother Nature decided to deliver some untimely rainfall. They're now waiting for conditions to improve before tackling around 700 acres for this farm family. Our Field Operations Manager, Luke Benedict, also made site visits at two other approved wheat cases near Maddock, ND and Munich, ND, but estimates it may be another week or more before these fields are ready for our assistance efforts to begin. In the meantime, our harvest schedule continues to fill up and with row crops reaching maturity in our southern territory, we're definitely headed for a busy finish to the year. A big thank you goes out to our patient and dedicated Farm Rescuers in the field this week, Rick Davidson and Kenny Crites, as well as a pair of volunteers helping in and around our office, Debbie and Tom Richards. You are all an incredible help to our organization and we're blessed to have you on board!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


August 5, 2022 - The Short Haul

There are many factors that play a role in the triumphs and struggles of farming and ranching. Timing is definitely one of those key components. The windows of opportunity in the field are often narrow, so when an unexpected crisis strikes it can be a tough hurdle for any rural family to overcome. Farm Rescue is honored to extend a helping hand during these types of unfortunate circumstances, and this week's volunteers have once again risen to that challenge. Yesterday, they began a haying assistance effort to support a couple near Stanton, ND. The wife of this operation suffered a stroke in early June, which required a trip to Fargo for medical care. After 50+ days away from home, it became apparent they would need some help with their hay crop. A large number of bales had already been rolled on one of the couple's fields, which was also planted with alfalfa. To avoid damaging the crop, these bales needed to be moved as soon as possible. Thanks to a quick response by our Office Manager, Field Ops Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, we were able to facilitate support for this family, with our volunteers and equipment arriving on site yesterday. Despite some hot weather on their first day (with 101 degree heat), our Angels in Blue got a good jump start in transporting 900 bales to their destination 6 miles down the road. If the weather holds, they hope to complete their work within the next few days. Our list of harvest assistance cases continues to grow, with spring wheat and other small grains maturing quickly in the North and row crops readying in the South. It's definitely shaping up to be a busy late-summer and fall! A big thanks to our incredible Farm Rescuers for making these efforts possible, especially the pair of volunteers braving the heat near Stanton this week:  David Frueh and Kenny Crites. You're an amazing example of the good that exists in this world!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


July 29, 2022 - Help on Many Fronts

Much like the field equipment we are blessed to have at our disposal, Farm Rescue as a whole is comprised of many moving parts. It takes a lot of individuals and businesses to power the organization and keep our mission moving forward. This week has been a perfect example of how support for our nonprofit can take many shapes and forms. In the field, our volunteers spent much of the week near Belfield, ND, providing hay assistance to a farmer who was injured while extinguishing an equipment fire. This crew has utilized our tractor and baler to complete much of their work, but Gooseneck Implement was kind enough to sponsor a swather for this particular case, as well. They hope to wrap-up their efforts sometime over the weekend. Other volunteers have continued assisting our Field Operations Manager in staging equipment for harvest operations and readying our vehicles for their journeys ahead.

Last Saturday, I had the honor of representing Farm Rescue during the North Dakota State Fair Parade in Minot, ND. I was blessed to be joined by one of our longtime volunteers, Garry Deckert, who drove our semi and hopper-bottom trailer for the event. We were also accompanied by 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. An additional behind-the-scenes effort took place this week after our annual brochure shipment arrived at our office. A small group of volunteers at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota offered to assist with this mailing project, which involved stuffing hundreds of envelopes for delivery to numerous sponsor locations. The goal is to get this publication in the hands of families across our service territory in need of assistance. A mailing project of this size is a big undertaking for our small staff, so this type of volunteer support is incredibly helpful. We appreciate each and every Farm Rescuer, whether in the field, on the road or in the office. Big thanks to this weeks volunteers:  Albert Lautenschlager, Gary Krieger, Vada Fossen, Karissa Mahler, Breanne Mahler, Vyvyan Fossen, Eric Dameworth, Mitch Fossen, Randy Deckert, Garry Deckert, Jeremy Finley, Doug Weatherly, Blaine Scott, Cindy Mueller and Erika Krom. We couldn't do this without you!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


July 22, 2022 - Whatever It Takes

Farm Rescue volunteers truly epitomize the word "selfless". Our Angels in Blue come from all walks of life, but what bonds them all is a shared desire to help others in need. That often means putting in some long days to complete the work at hand. These do-gooders are unpaid and often utilize vacation time to serve our mission. Their only reward is the feeling of fulfillment in making a difference for a family in crisis. I mention this after receiving yet another reminder of the dedication so many of our Farm Rescuers possess. This week, after a family receiving hay assistance experienced some additional setbacks and weather delays, our on-site volunteer, Bill Bjorneby, decided to extend his stay by several days in order to provide more help on their farm near Roberts, MT. The husband of this operation was recently diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and his wife was singlehandedly carrying the workload before Farm Rescue arrived. They were extremely grateful for the additional support Bill provided in bringing in their hay crop, which also involved some late evenings in the field. He's now traveling home to eastern North Dakota to return to his full-time job on Monday. A second haying crew spent last weekend and the beginning of this week near Kenmare, ND, where another farmer is recovering from a recent leg injury. They were overjoyed to finish rolling bales on a couple hundred acres of hay just before a severe thunderstorm moved through the area. 

Closer to our home base, our Sr. Field Operations Manager, Luke Benedict, and several volunteers have been busy readying vehicles and equipment for a busy harvest season ahead. We're looking forward to showing off our newly-wrapped combine, displaying the names of all individuals and businesses who made this machine possible. As soon as I finish typing, I'll be heading to Minot, ND to represent Farm Rescue in the North Dakota State Fair Parade tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to seeing many friendly faces along the route and spending time with more of our incredible volunteers. If you're in the Magic City, be sure to give us a wave! As always, a big thank you goes out to our amazing Farm Rescuers in the field this week:  Bill Bjorneby, Dave Zimmer, Steph Walter, Corey Hyde and Garry "Iron Man" Deckert. We appreciate you more than you'll ever know!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


July 15, 2022 - Baling Under the Big Sky

Farm Rescue was created to help farm families in crisis --- a key word being "families". These operations rely on the work and dedication of several individuals to keep things afloat. When any individual is removed from the equation due to injury or illness, the impact is unmistakable. Other family members pick up the slack and shoulder a much heavier workload to compensate, but this can create a tremendous amount of stress and fatigue over time. These types of scenarios are pretty common among farm families who reach out to Farm Rescue for support. Pride runs deep within the agriculture community, but at some point, we all need a little help. This happens to be the case for a family in Montana that's been burning the candle at both ends for several months. The husband of this operation was recently diagnosed with a very rare blood disorder, which kills healthy red blood cells. He is only able to receive replacement blood from a donor with the same disorder or the result can be fatal. After a 5-day nationwide search, the hospital and Red Cross were finally able to track down a supply of this rare blood type. Last week, he was able to begin a treatment procedure to slow the deterioration of red blood cells. Unfortunately, this process required a rather lengthy stay in a Billings hospital during a very busy time on their farm. Throughout the past few months, his wife has singlehandedly carried their operation through calving season and irrigation of several hundred acres of hay ground. With all of this cattle feed waiting to be gathered and so much riding on this year's crop, the couple decided it was time to contact Farm Rescue. As we speak, one of our volunteers is working to bring in the family's hay crop, which represents a large portion of their annual income. Our Angel in Blue is honored to be lending a hand during this difficult situation, and the Rocky Mountains painting the horizon only add to the sense of fulfillment that accompanies service to Farm Rescue. We hope this support will lighten the burden for this couple and allow them to focus on treatment, rest and recovery.

Another hay-making crew is currently en route to Kenmare, ND to assist a farmer dealing with a leg injury. A torn knee ligament has limited his physical activity and prevented him from climbing into a tractor. Our volunteers are happy to be offering their support on a couple hundred acres of hay ground. A third volunteer crew spent part of the week transporting one of our tractors from Iowa to our home base near Fargo, ND. These tasks may not seem as impactful to our operations, but I can assure you they play a major role in our ability to help families in crisis throughout the region. With assistance services now offered in 7 states (and an 8th soon to be added), logistics are a key component to our success. This is why each volunteer and every task they carry out is a blessing to our organization. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field, on the road and under the big sky:  Bill Bjorneby, Dave Zimmer, Garry Deckert and Steph Walter. We appreciate you all!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


July 1, 2022 - Coming Up for Air

It's been a busy first half of 2022 at Farm Rescue, with a late-December wildfire in Kansas triggering an early launch to our assistance efforts for the new year. Our subsequent hay hauling campaign helped deliver dozens of loads to ranchers affected by the blaze, and our planting operations began immediately on the heels of this relief effort. A wet spring hindered seeding progress throughout much of our service territory, but our dedicated volunteers stayed the course and managed to extend a helping hand to over two dozen families during a crucial planting season. This was no small feat to coordinate these operations and adjust to the ever-changing conditions presented by Mother Nature. One of the greatest honors we have as Farm Rescue staff members is being able to work with the incredible army of do-gooders who feel called to serve our mission. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Genita Limke, and Outreach Coordinator, Steph Green, work diligently to communicate with our Angels in Blue, ensuring all ducks are in a row before they arrive to support farm families in crisis. Recently, Genita and Steph gathered information on this year's planting assistance campaign, which I feel is worth sharing to appreciate the impact of our Good Samaritan family. Throughout the spring season, 80 volunteers served as our boots on the ground, devoting nearly 2,800 hours of work en route to seeding 10,800 acres across our service footprint. I've said it many times before, but Farm Rescue is truly the ultimate team effort and our volunteers are obviously a crucial part of that team.

After pushing full-steam ahead since January, we've had a rare break from the action as we prepare for some upcoming haying and harvest assistance operations. This allowed time to complete a long-awaited project - wrapping our combine! This equipment purchases was made possible through a 2-year fundraising campaign to which hundreds of individuals and businesses contributed. The names of those who donated $250 or more are proudly displayed on the side of this combine, but each and every supporter helped make this dream a reality. Thank you to all who contributed to this campaign, which will allow Farm Rescue to extend a helping hand to many more farm families in crisis throughout our future harvest assistance operations! If you'd like to see higher-resolution images of our completed machine, click HERE. If you'd like to have your name or business featured on a piece of Farm Rescue equipment as it assists farm families in crisis throughout our service territory, please consider a donation to our ongoing Tractor Fundraiser by clicking HERE.

As we head into the long Independence Day Weekend, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday surrounded by loved ones. We look forward to the work ahead in the second half of 2022!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


June 17, 2022 - Sayonara, Seeding!

Despite the slower-than-average start in the field this planting season, our volunteers definitely finished on a high note as they wrapped up our assistance efforts for the spring. Crew number one was able to tackle their remaining acres of soybeans this past weekend for a farmer near Niagara, ND who sustained a leg injury during an encounter with a yearling heifer. This air seeding unit has now been transported to Grand Forks, ND for a bit of TLC before its winter respite. Crew number two crossed the finish line on a few hundred acres of wheat in Bisbee, ND for a farmer recovering from two recent back surgeries and a pacemaker procedure. That air seeder has since been delivered to the Fargo area for a bit of winterizing, as well. Crew number three made quick work of their soybean planting near Buffalo, ND for a farmer who sustained a few broken bones as a result of a fallen truck axle. Over the weekend, they ventured south to Lidgerwood, ND for our final planting assistance case of 2022. This farmer is currently battling a blood infection, which has kept him out of the field during a very important time for their operation. Our volunteers were honored to sow a few hundred acres of soybeans for this family. After the final seeds were in the ground, this Farm Rescuer duo drove our row crop planter to Fargo for some winterizing of its own. With the planting season fresh in the rearview mirror, our field ops team and volunteers are already shifting their attention to our fast-approaching haying and harvest campaigns. The wet weather may have hindered planting progress these past couple months, but it's done wonders for many hay crops that were nonexistent a year ago. Wheat is already beginning to turn in our southernmost territory, which means we'll likely be seeing a few incoming Kansas applications throughout the coming weeks. Thanks to our incredible supporters, we will be poised and ready to extend a helping hand to these families in crisis. 

The end of any season is the perfect time to reflect upon the many blessings our organization receives through the generosity of others. I've said it many times before, but Farm Rescue truly is the ultimate team effort. Whether you're a volunteer, donor, sponsor or someone who simply tells others about our work, you are a making a difference. Like any farming operation, we have our share of challenges to overcome, but it helps to have so many people pulling in the same direction. Thank you to everyone who helped us navigate through another successful planting season. Our volunteers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their dedication to this mission. Each Angel in Blue makes sacrifices in their own life to serve others in a time of need and that, my friends, is the definition of a hero. Thank you to this week's superheroes in the field:  Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Kevin Towe, Mike Youngblood, Kenny Crites, Keith Barkema and Andrew Hardesty. And a very special thanks goes out to longtime volunteer, Albert Lautenschlager, for serving as our seasonal Field Operations Manager during a very busy spring. You're all worthy of so much more than a mention in our weekly updates, but we could not do this without you!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


June 10, 2022 - Controlled Chaos

With the window closing fast on spring planting season and a later start in the field, it's been a jam-packed week for our incredible volunteer crews. Some added cooperation from Mother Nature has made a world of difference for progress, with our teams burning the midnight oil to seed as many acres as possible before time runs out. Crew number one finished their remaining flax acres over the weekend for a farmer near New Town, ND who was injured by a tire explosion. From there, they made the long drive east to Hatton, ND to plant a few hundred acres of soybeans for a farmer recovering from back surgery. On a random sidenote, this was one of the more interesting farms I've had the pleasure of visiting as the family's list of pets included a bobcat and miniature horse. Definitely not something you see every day! This crew has since moved to Niagara, ND to plant more soybeans for a farmer who sustained a pretty serious leg injury after being pinned between a fence and a charging yearling heifer. They hope to make some big progress for this family over the weekend. Crew number two also had a productive week, starting in Harvey, ND. This farmer suffered a shoulder injury after falling from a bale stack, and our volunteers were honored to assist in planting a few hundred acres of wheat and soybeans. After finishing in Harvey, they headed north to Bisbee, ND to seed wheat for a farmer recovering from two separate back surgeries and a pacemaker procedure. They should be wrapping up their final acres as we speak. After waiting on field conditions to improve near Buffalo, ND, crew number three decided to make the most of their time and head east to Audubon, MN. Here they planted a few hundred acres of soybeans for a farmer whose wife is currently undergoing treatments for stage 4 kidney cancer. Despite avoiding a few wet spots, this crew made great progress for this operation and allowed a husband to focus on supporting his wife during a very difficult battle. They've now returned to some drier fields in Buffalo to tackle a few hundred acres of soybeans for a farmer who sustained several broken bones as a result of a fallen truck axle. As long as the weather holds, all of our crews look to continue on this positive trajectory and we should hopefully seed the final acres of 2022 sometime next week. 

During this especially busy time, we are constantly reminded of the blessings provided by our family of do-gooders. There isn't much elevation change in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, but I'd sure love to shout a big "THANK YOU" from the mountaintops to all of our volunteers, especially this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Kieth Worthley, Kevin Towe, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Tim Moore, Kenny Crites, Kyle Thormodson and Mike Youngblood. I'd also like to extend another big thank you to RDO Equipment Company for inviting us to take part in their "Breakfast on the Farm" event held last Saturday in Hawley, MN. Our staff and volunteers had a wonderful time visiting with the folks in attendance!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


June 3, 2022 - Steady As She Goes

This year's spring planting season has been anything but typical, with a later-than-average start for many farmers throughout the region. After last year's drought, we've heard very few complaints about the rain, but its timing has definitely created a few new challenges. Memorial Day Weekend began with a couple sunny days and ended with some severe weather pushing across the Midwest. Some portions of our service territory received between 3-4" of rainfall in just a couple hour's time. Thankfully, conditions have been good enough for our volunteers and equipment to make some solid progress again this week. Crew number one finished up a few hundred acres of wheat near Grenora, ND, as a crucial member of a family operation continues ongoing treatments to combat a brain tumor. On Wednesday, they ventured south to New Town, ND to begin seeding flax for a farmer who sustained severe injuries due to a truck tire explosion. Despite a few wet spots in the fields, they've made some great headway the past couple days and hope to finish up sometime this weekend. Crew number two began their week in Wilton, ND, helping a farmer who recently suffered a heart attack. After seeding the last of their wheat and soybeans, they turned northward to Minot, ND to plant more wheat for a farmer recovering from a third back surgery since November. Thanks to some cooperative weather, they were able to wrap up their efforts late Wednesday evening. Crew number three completed their corn planting near Hope, ND for a farmer battling a severe lung infection. From there, they journeyed south to Buffalo, ND to assist a farmer who sustained several broken bones as a result of a fallen truck axle. Shortly after their arrival, rains passed through the area, stalling their efforts. Barring any additional setbacks from Mother Nature, they hope to make some progress throughout the weekend.

With the window of opportunity closing fast on the planting season, our volunteers have been working some long days to cover as much ground as possible when conditions allow. Their incredible work ethic and dedication to families in crisis are truly the engine that powers our mission. They are selfless, they are driven, they are heroes. We could not be more appreciative to these Angels in Blue and that's exactly why we recognize them by name on a weekly basis. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field:  Chester Arnold, CJ Lambert, Kieth Worthley, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Tim Moore, Kevin Towe, Kenny Crites, Wade Peterson and Tom Louderback. Another big thanks goes out to Fritz and Jamie from Gooseneck Implement in Stanley, ND for delivering an unexpected meal to our crew and assisted family near New Town yesterday. This type of generosity often goes unnoticed, but it means the world to us and those we support! 

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


May 27, 2022 - Cornhole and Weather Control

Mother Nature has finally extended a helping hand to our spring planting efforts, with a few days of rain-free operations. Crew number one began their week near South Heart, ND, finishing up a few acres of barley for a farmer whose semi was struck by a train several months back. He sustained several broken bones in the accident and we were honored to provide some assistance during an important spring planting season. This crew has now ventured to Grenora, ND, where the matriarch of another family operation recently underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. With her husband by her side, she's currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which have understandably hindered their ability to plant crops. Our volunteers have begun tackling a few hundred acres of wheat for the family, as they focus on the main battle at hand. On Wednesday, crew number two wrapped up their remaining acres of wheat near Bismarck, ND for another farmer receiving cancer treatments. They've since headed north to Wilton, ND to seed a few hundred acres of wheat and soybeans for a farmer who recently suffered a heart attack. If the weather holds, they hope to move to another case near Mandan, ND within the next few days. Crew number three is stationed near Hope, ND, where a farmer is battling a severe lung infection that requires an aggressive regimen of antibiotics and the use of a ventilator. With this couple currently away from their farm, our volunteers have received some helpful guidance from their hired hand and a local agronomist. This type of community support makes a world of difference for our assistance efforts. 

If you read last week's update, you're aware that our staff and a few volunteers were in Wisconsin this past weekend for a co-sponsored event from Busch and John Deere called Cornfield Cornhole to celebrate their "For the Farmers" can promotion. Hundreds of cornhole players gathered near Big Bend, WI to compete on regulation-sized boards, as well as the "unofficial" largest cornhole board in the world. Several lucky competitors had an opportunity to launch a much larger bean bag onto this 68' x 34' board (with help from an 8RX John Deere tractor). It was definitely an awesome sight to see and we were incredibly blessed to represent Farm Rescue at this event. We could not be more thankful to Busch and John Deere for this overwhelming show of support and for helping us spread word of our mission throughout the country. 

It's definitely been a busy week between our planting assistance efforts and enormous cornhole festivites, and we have many folks to thank for keeping things on track. Special thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field and those who joined us in Wisconsin:  Kenny Crites, Wade Peterson, Kenneth Chyle, Emil Baranko, Tim Moore, Chester Arnold, CJ Lambert, David Parker, Jack Limke, Garry Deckert, Mike Wilson, Ron Donohue, Cindy Donohue, Keith Barkema, Sharon Barkema, Vane Clayton, Erv Geisler, John Andrews, Carol Andrews, Gary Janz, Tammy Janz, Ron Hinrichsen and Matt Blaylock. This wouldn't be possible without you!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


May 20, 2022 - Progress!

This week has involved a bit of stop-and-go, but thanks to some rare, consecutive days without rain our teams have finally been able to gain some drier ground. Crew number one spent the earlier part of the week seeding a few remaining acres of oats near Amidon, ND for a farmer dealing with some lingering effects of COVID. From there, they headed west to South Heart, ND to begin planting barley for a farmer who sustained several broken bones when his semi was struck by a train back in February. He is currently confined to a wheelchair and our volunteers have been honored to assist with his planting operations as he continues his recovery. Crew number two spent the majority of their week near Ashley, ND, seeding a few hundred acres of peas and barley for a producer battling a nerve condition that affects his muscle function and balance. They had nearly completed their work when overnight rain showers delayed their finish. After a day of sun and strong winds, they were able to resume their efforts and tackle their remaining acres. They've since moved to Bismarck, ND to plant wheat for a farmer currently undergoing cancer treatments. Crew number three was also able to wrap-up their efforts near Red Wing, MN for a farmer dealing with a spine infection that continues to limit his mobility. After several rain delays near Charles City, IA, crew number four was finally able to make progress in the field. They began planting corn and soybeans last Friday for a farmer who sustained a knee injury after being kicked by a cow. Weather conditions held steady and these volunteers were able to put the finishing touches on their work early this week. Our John Deere 8R tractor has now been transported to western Minnesota as we look to tackle several planting assistance cases in this area with our DB60 row crop planter. A fifth volunteer-led planting operation near Wamego, KS has been stalled on multiple occasions due to wet weather, but our volunteers have been helping in other areas in the meantime. After performing some maintenance on the farmer's equipment and feeding cattle, conditions are finally right for fieldwork. Our volunteers will be planting several hundred acres of soybeans for this family as they recover from illness. 

Unfortunately, much of our service territory is still waiting for fields to dry and the rain seems to make an appearance every couple days. Our schedule is still full and our volunteers are ready to make more progress as Mother Nature allows. It's definitely going to be a busy couple weeks ahead, but we are blessed to have the world's greatest team of do-gooders powering these efforts. A big thanks to this week's Farm Rescuers in the field - Tom Meyer, Ron Donohue, Rich Thuesen, Garry Deckert, Kenny Crites, Mike Youngblood, Matt Blaylock, Chris Batdorf, Chris Davison, Mark Baumgarten, Ken Enstrom and David Parker. Your dedication to this mission is truly awe-inspiring!

I type these words as I sit in a hotel room south of Milwaukee. Several of our staff members and volunteers are honored to have received an invitation to a unique event tomorrow in Big Bend, WI. John Deere and Busch are teaming up to host Cornfield Cornhole to celebrate the launch of their co-sponsored can promotion "For the Farmers". For every case sold of their John Deere-themed Busch Light cans, each company will be donating $1 to Farm Rescue (up to $100,000 each). Cornhole players from across the region will be competing throughout the day in hopes of earning a spot on the "big board". This plus-sized version of the game will involve launching a hay bale onto an extra large board with help from a John Deere 8RX tractor. There will be food trucks, beverages and entertainment, as well, and I look forward to sharing some in-person videos and photos of these festivities on Facebook and Instagram. Farm Rescue is also blessed to have our own booth space at the event, where visitors can chat with our staff and volunteers about our organization. We are so thankful for this opportunity to spread word of our assistance efforts to a much larger audience. Be sure to follow us on social media to see all of tomorrow's activities, and cheers to the farmers!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


May 13, 2022 - For the Farmers

As I think back on the past 7 days, there is a definite "liquid theme" to this week's update. Frequent heavy rainfall has further-hindered progress for our scheduled planting assistance efforts, with torrential showers dropping several inches of precipitation in several portions of our northern service territory. Strong winds and reports of some tornadic activity accompanied a large swath of thunderstorms last night, downing trees, grain bins and several out-buildings in their path. One of our most well-known supporters, Zach Johnson (The Millennial Farmer), was among those impacted by these storms. Despite losing several trees and sustaining damage to a grain bin, a shop and several pieces of equipment, he and his family were thankfully unharmed. Sending our prayers and well wishes to all who sustained similar damage, and we hope you're able to carry out your necessary spring field work, once conditions finally allow. 

In spite of these latest weather delays, our volunteer crews have been extraordinarily patient and understanding. These do-gooders typically block-off specific dates on their calendar to support our efforts, so it's always disappointing when Mother Nature throws an unexpected curveball. Two volunteer teams delivered our air seeding units to farms near Amidon, ND and Ashley, ND in preparation for planting. Crew number one managed to seed 95 acres of oats before the next round of rain arrived near Amidon. This assistance is being provided to a farmer battling some long-term effects of COVID. They hope to resume operations within the next couple days if weather cooperates. Crew number two is anxiously awaiting some drier conditions in Ashley, as they plan to seed peas and barley for a farmer dealing with a nerve condition that impacts muscle function and balance. A third crew is currently in Red Wing, MN, readying to plant corn for a farmer battling a spine infection that has greatly limited his mobility. 3+ inches of rain have halted their progress, but they're lending a hand to a few other tasks on his farm as they wait for conditions to improve. Crew number four is in Charles City, IA, planting corn and soybeans for a farmer who was injured by one of his cows. Rain delayed their initial start, but they're happy to be working in the field today as talk of more precipitation looms. Finally, our fifth crew has been dealing with some weather delays of their own near Wamego, KS, as they look to complete a couple hundred acres of corn for a farmer battling illness. Our schedule continues to fill up with assistance requests and our windows of opportunity continue to shrink by the day. Like most farmers in the region, we're hoping for a few days of peaceful forecasts to keep things rolling in the right direction.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to share a random, yet uplifting story from earlier this week. As our volunteers began their trek West from the Fargo area to position our air seeders, they stopped to fuel up in the small community of Enderlin, ND. Before they had a chance to insert their card for payment, a random gentleman approached to express his thanks for their service and offered to fill both tanks on his own dime. I don't have to tell you how much this gift means to our organization, with the volume of fuel required to fill the tanks of two 9620R John Deere tractors, and the incredibly high cost of that fuel at the moment. This man wanted no recognition, but I felt his generosity was worth highlighting. These types of Good Samaritans are the unsung heroes of Farm Rescue, and these are the stories that provide a nice dose of inspiration in a week filled with weather-related frustration. 

I was always taught to never bury the lead, so I apologize for saving the biggest news for last this week. We are beyond excited to finally announce an incredible co-promotion from John Deere and Busch Light, with the launch of their "For The Farmers" cans. Each has pledged to donate $1 from every case sold to support our assistance operations for farm families in crisis. Individually, these two companies have already provided tremendous support to our assistance operations and this latest partnership will provide an even greater boost to our volunteer-led efforts. We are so thankful for this wave of generosity and the love we've been receiving from folks across the country. Keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful green cans at a store near you! We are also honored to be invited to a special event in celebration of this co-promotion next Saturday, May 21 in Big Bend, WI. Guests will have an opportunity to participate in Cornfield Cornhole, competing in the standard version of the game throughout the afternoon to earn a spot on the BIG BOARD. This will involved launching a larger bean bag via slingshot, with help from a four-wheel-drive John Deere tractor. Musical entertainment, food trucks and beverages (not just beer) will be available and Farm Rescue will be manning our booth to share more information with visitors throughout the day. Needless to say, it should be an entertaining event! If you'd like to join us, visit Busch.com/ForTheFarmers to reserve your free ticket.

Lastly, I want to express our appreciation for all of the amazing volunteers who served our mission this week --- even if that service evolved from its original form. Thank you to Chester Arnold, Steven Satterthwaite, Mark Burton, Mike Wilson, Glenn Biederman, Mark Baumgarten, Jeff Preston, Brian Payne, Kenny Crites, Angie Wildschuetz, Norman Schmutz, Tom Meyer and Ron Donohue. You are true Farm Rescuers!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager

 


May 6, 2022 - Short & Not-So-Sweet

If you've read some of our previous weekly updates, it's no secret my narratives tend to run a bit long at times. Fortunately for you, this will not be one of those weeks. Unfortunately for us, this means there hasn't been much to report from the field throughout the past 7 days. Wet weather has impacted a large portion of our service territory and despite the great need for moisture in some of these areas, it has resulted in a later-than-average start to the planting season. Our assistance schedule is filling up fast and our volunteers are anxious to make a difference for these families in need. Barring any further setbacks from Mother Nature, we hope to begin seeding early next week for families in Charles City, IA, Wamego, KS, Ashley, ND and Dickinson, ND. If all goes well, I should be back to my regularly-scheduled rambling soon. I'm also anxious to share some very big news for Farm Rescue, so be sure to circle back here next Friday!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


April 29, 2022 - The Gear-Up

As the thaw-out continues in the northwest portion of our service territory, Mother Nature is delivering other challenges to producers across our assistance footprint. Moisture has delayed planting for many throughout the region, while our southern states are battling extreme drought that has fueled several wildfires. Nebraska has been hit especially hard by these most recent blazes and we're currently assessing how we might best serve those affected. In Kansas, our volunteers wrapped up planting last weekend near St. George for a farmer recovering from a broken leg. From there, they moved to Wamego, KS to plant corn for another farmer battling illness. After seeding the final acres for this family, our crew is now prepping for another illness-related assistance case in the Jayhawk State. This week, we were also honored to haul the final loads of hay to ranchers impacted by December's Four County Fire in north-central Kansas. We know these families still have a long road ahead, but we pray this effort has provided some level of relief as they continue picking up the pieces. A separate pair of volunteers spent a few days this week hauling equipment to Iowa, as we ready for more corn planting assistance near Charles City for a farmer recently injured by a cow. They hope to begin seeding soon to allow for his continued rest and rehab.

Closer to our home base in North Dakota, it's been a week of overhauling and maintenance as we gear up for a busy planting season once conditions allow. I've already mentioned the generous donation of parts we received several weeks back from John Deere Seeding Group in Valley City, ND. Their contribution of new rock shafts and accessories will have our air seeding units running like new, but they first need to be installed. Dan Altepeter and his incredible team from Air Seeder Parts, LLC truly rose to the challenge, donating their time, energy and resources this week to swap-in these components. One air seeder is now ready to hit the ground running and our second isn't far behind. Some of our local volunteers have now picked up the torch to complete the overhaul, and they spent this morning in the rain doing just that. This support truly means the world to our organization and we are honored to receive such overwhelming generosity from all those involved in this project. Many thanks to those serving as our boots on the ground this week in the fields, on the roads and crawling under equipment! Thank you to Dan Altepeter, Craig Nice, Alexis Nice, Griffin Robertson, Mikey Kopecky, Jeff Moen, Joan Swartz, Albert Lautenschlager, Bob Miller, Kyle Thormodson, Garry Deckert, Greg Kalinoski, Mike Youngblood, Paul Zierke and Joe Nasset. You are true Farm Rescuers!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager

 


April 22, 2022 - Weather or Not

If you took the time to read last week's longer-than-average update, you'll be pleased to know we have a few less items to catch-up on throughout the past 7 days. Like any farming year, Mother Nature continues to dictate our abilities in the field. Some portions of our service territory received more than 4 feet of snowfall within a week's time frame. This same region is now forecasted to receive several more inches of snow over the weekend, with blizzard conditions impacting travel and cattle operations throughout eastern Montana and western North Dakota. As I mentioned last week, this part of the world was in dire need of moisture, but it's definitely going to take some time for fields to be ready for seed. 

In the meantime, our volunteers have kept busy this week in our southern territory, planting a few hundred acres of corn and beans for a Kansas farmer who recently broke his leg. They've enjoyed getting to know this wonderful family and also appreciated some additional tech support from local John Deere dealer and Farm Rescue sponsor, PrairieLand Partners, to keep operations running smoothly. They hope to complete their work today near St. George, KS and make the move to our next assistance case in Wamego, KS. Throughout the past couple weeks, one of our volunteer drivers, Joe Nasset, has kept busy delivering additional loads of hay to ranchers affected by late-December's "Four County Fire" in north-central Kansas. Each load includes around 5 hours of travel time and Joe will have delivered 16 loads by the time he returns home early next week. He has been crucial to our relief efforts and we couldn't be more thankful to have Joe on our team!

Last week's update also included news on the incredible donation of parts we received from John Deere Seeding Group in Valley City, ND. These new rocks shafts and other components are ready to be installed on our two air seeding units, but the weather has delayed some of those plans. Barring any further setbacks, we hope to have these parts installed and ready for planting season by the end of next week. Like many projects, this one will involve a number of generous volunteers and that's worthy of a big preemptive, "Thank You!" We also want to extend our sincere appreciation to this week's volunteers in the field and on the road, including Joe Nasset, Mike Wilson, Mike Youngblood, Paul Zierke and Garry Deckert. Your dedication to this mission is truly awe-inspiring!

Until next time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager


April 15, 2022 - Bringing You Up to Speed

You might assume an organization that spends much of its time in Midwest farm fields assisting families in crisis would not be as busy in the winter and early spring months. I'm here to tell you, that couldn't be further from the truth! 2022 has already been an eventful year for Farm Rescue and our incredible family of volunteers, so it's probably a good time to catch you up on a few activities. 

Just before the start of the new year, wildfires raged in north-central Kansas, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Cattle were lost, several homes and outbuildings were turned to ash, and a large amount of vital livestock feed was destroyed. Thanks to our volunteer drivers and our incredible Development Officer, Lynne Hinrichsen, Farm Rescue was quick to respond with hay deliveries to many ranch families affected by the blaze - which came to be known as the Four County Fire. After an initial surge of deliveries, our volunteer drivers have been busy in Kansas throughout the past couple weeks to deliver several more loads of hay to impacted families and herds. Local John Deere dealer and Farm Rescue sponsor, PrairieLand Partners, has also been an incredible asset to these ongoing relief efforts. Early January also brought the year's first Livestock Feeding Assistance case near New Leipzig, ND. This particular rancher was in need of support amidst surgery and recovery, and our volunteers were quick to respond during one of the harshest periods of winter to ensure his cattle remained fed. 

Winter and early spring were also a busy time for farm shows. Although we can't attend as many of these events as we'd like, they do offer an amazing opportunity to share our mission with new supporters and those who may benefit from our services down the road. Throughout January and February, some of our staff and volunteers were honored to attend shows in Minot and Bismarck, ND, as well as Des Moines, IA and Louisville, KY. We are blessed to receive donated booth space for many of these events and for this reason, we want to extend a big thank you to KFYR, KMOT and John Deere for allowing us to participate in these farm shows. 

Late March brought the return of a long-awaited event - the annual Farm Rescue Banquet! After 2+ years of COVID-related postponements, we were pleased to gather in Bismarck, ND for an evening of fellowship amongst our staff, volunteers, sponsors, farm families and other supporters of our mission. It's always a blessing to see all of these folks together in one place, and it's another great reminder why so many people support Farm Rescue's efforts. The banquet also highlighted two of our longtime volunteers as this year's Good Samaritan Award winners - Garry Deckert and Charlie Bartsch.

Preparations for spring's work had already begun around the time of the banquet, which include readying our vehicles and equipment for a busy few months ahead. We also received a tremendous boost to our planting assistance efforts, courtesy of John Deere Seeding Group in Valley City, ND. Our air seeding units cover a large number of acres and road miles on an annual basis, so occasionally, these machines need updates and refurbishment. John Deere Seeding Group has been very kind to us throughout our history, and the company went above and beyond yet again to supply new rock shafts and other state-of-the-art components to overhaul our two air seeding units.  A few weeks ago, Farm Rescue staff and volunteers had the opportunity to meet the employees responsible for building the components, as they were loaded on our semi trailers. These parts will allow us to serve many more families with reliable equipment throughout the years ahead. A separate volunteer crew from John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, IL also provided some incredible equipment support during their trip to Fargo/Moorhead last week. This team spent several days servicing our John Deere DB60 row crop planter, prepping it for our fast-approaching field work. It probably goes without saying, but having machine experts like these on-hand to perform this maintenance goes a long way in ensuring the quality of our volunteer-led assistance efforts!

Thanks to 2+ feet of snowfall this week throughout much of North Dakota and portions of Montana and South Dakota, spring planting may begin a little later than expected. Some of these areas were in dire need of moisture, but this latest winter storm has created plenty of new challenges. Our hearts go out to the many ranchers working to care for their herds during these unbearable blizzard conditions. As Old Man Winter fights to extend the season, we have officially begun our planting efforts this week near St. George, KS. Despite some rain delays of their own, our volunteers were pleased to begin seeding corn for a farmer who recently broke his femur. We hope he can return to his tractor cab soon, but we are pleased to allow this period of rest and recovery in the meantime. 

As you can see, there has been no shortage of activities these past few months and things only get busier from here! Of course, none of our work is possible without a tremendous support system of volunteers, sponsors and donors. We thank each and every one of you for standing behind us and allowing this mission to continue for another year. Special thanks to all who have volunteered their time thus far in 2022, including Joe Nasset, Ron Hinrichsen, Lynne Hinrichsen, Garry Deckert, Albert Lautenschlager, Paul Richardell, Brian Johnson, Aaron Gray, Kathy Klauer, Jack Limke, Genita Limke, LaDonna Erdmann, Vane Clayton, Bob Head, Jill Schaefer, Joel Newman, Jay Newman, Jim Newman, Nikki Johansen, Andy Jewett, Mike Youngblood and Mike Wilson. Sorry to anyone I've forgotten! We are truly looking forward to an incredible year of service ahead!

Until Next Time,

Dan Erdmann - Program Manager

FEATURED SPONSOR

FARM RESCUE SPONSOR - Nodak Insurance Company

FEATURED VOLUNTEER

FEATURED VOLUNTEER - Zach Johnson (Millennial Farmer)

FEATURED RESCUE

Farm Rescue 2021 - Park Rapids, MN