Farm Rescue

Gary Janz from Ryder, N.D. operates the Farm Rescue combine in southwest Dickinson County, cutting wheat for a farmer in need. 

When a fellow farmer needs assistance, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to chip in and assist.

This week a national organization moved in to Dickinson County to help harvest wheat for an injured farmer.

Farm Rescue is what they are called, and farm rescue is what they do.

Greg and Karen Staatz had a dilemma. Their 300 acres of wheat was ripe and ready for harvest.

But Greg Sraatz broke his leg in a farming accident and was unable to operate a combine.

That’s where the company he works for,  Prairieland Partners, stepped in.

The John Deere dealer at 15 locations, including Abilene, partnered with Farm Rescue.

A crew came to Abilene and harvested most of the acreage on Sunday, finishing up the job on Monday.

Tim Sullivan, development operator for Farm Rescue, said it was the first time the not-for-proft organization assisted a Kansas farmer.

He said the crew stayed in Abilene and had planned to assist another farmer Tuesday in northern Dickinson County but, as often happens, friends finished up the harvest.

“We work with John Deere partners along with other business sponsors. John Deere is the biggest,” Sullivan said.

Volunteers

Anheuser-Busch is another major sponsor that allows the organization made up of all volunteers to help at no cost to the farmers in need.

“It was Anheuser-Busch that first brought our attention to Kansas,” he said which upped the number of State Farm Rescue operators to 7.

“This is our first family crisis case here in Kansas,” Sullivan said of the State Farm. “He needed help bringing in his wheat harvest. There wasn’t enough manpower on the farm with him being laid up. It was the perfect case for us to come in and do what we do.”

Farm Rescue has helped nearly 700 families since its inception in 2005.

The organization’s mission is to help farmers and ranchers who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster by providing the necessary equipment and manpower to plant, hay or harvest their crop.

Farm Rescue also provides livestock feeding assistance.

The nonprofit organization helps farm and ranch families in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Iowa, Nebraska and, recently-added, Kansas.

“We are here (in Kansas) through the corn and soybean harvest,” Sullivan said. Equipment is leased through Prairieland Partners. “We are getting another combine in about a week. We’ll have two crews.

“Over the next few years you will hear about us more and more,” he said. 

Gary Janz from Ryder, N.D., is the operations manager that coordinates the volunteers. Volunteers Rick Davidson and Al Bryce are both from Glenwood, Minn.

COVID-19

When the COVID-19 stay at home orders were made, Sullivan said the Farm Rescue board of directors met.

“They said this is exactly why we are here,” he said. “We have helped some COVID-19 families. We have the protocol not to have anyone socially close to them. It’s all our own equipment. Our volunteers socially distance. It hasn’t really affected us.”

The mission of Farm Rescue is to help family farms and ranches bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations.

Farm Rescue provides planting, haying, harvesting and livestock feeding assistance to farm and ranch families that have experienced a major injury, illness or natural disaster.

“We see that one of the biggest financial drains on a family is an unexpected medical injury or illness and, of course, a natural disaster. It is even more pronounced on a farm where a family’s livelihood depends on the ability to plant, harvest or provide for their herd,” according to its web page.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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