Farm Rescue volunteers give injured Kansas wheat farmer helping hand during harvest
With a broken leg and his field needing to be harvested, Kansas wheat farmer Greg Staatz was not sure what to do.
On Friday, Farm Rescue gave him a call. On Saturday, volunteers from North Dakota and Minnesota showed up to help harvest his wheat.
Farm Rescue just expanded into Kansas, and Staatz, who farms is in Abilene, is the first Kansas farmer this non-profit organization is helping. Staatz broke his leg in a farming accident in early May. The non-profit’s mission is to help farmers and ranchers who have experienced a major injury, illness or natural disaster.
Since 2006, Farm Rescue has served farmers in North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. At the nudging of Anheuser-Busch, one of the organization’s premier sponsors, this spring, the company expanded into Kansas.
Farm Rescue did not hesitate to expand. They contacted PrairieLand Partners and John Deere, secured equipment for their volunteers to use during each harvest or plant, and started looking for local volunteers and farmers in need.
When Rick Davidson of Glenwood, Minn., received the call to help a Kansas farmer, he accepted without hesitation. He left his son in charge of his farm and drove the Farm Rescue grain truck down to Kansas. Davidson, who has volunteered for six years, runs a corn, soy and wheat farm — similar to Staatz’.
“It all started by reading an article about Farm Rescue helping farmers,” Davidson said.
In addition to finding the work rewarding, Davidson is able to meet volunteers and farmers from other parts of the country. For this trip, he convinced a friend and fellow Minnesotan farmer, Alan Bryce, to come along.
Along with volunteers from Minnesota and North Dakota, Staatz’ neighbors showed up with equipment and manpower.
“This put an ease on my mind, so there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Staatz said. “I’m relieved. We’re getting things done.”
Robert Hansen of Abilene and his son Matt also volunteered to help their friend and neighbor.
“When I heard what they were doing it gave me a good feeling,” Hansen said.
With more than a 1,000 strong volunteer base, Farm Rescue has helped just under 700 families in crisis.
For Staatz and Hansen, the wheat came in at a 58 test rate with a yield running from 50 to 55.
“I’m very appreciative of them (Farm Rescue),” Staatz said. “They’ve been more than helpful.”