Helping Farmers During Hard Times

Operating a two hundred and twenty five cattle operations can be hard enough without taking into consideration growing both corn and soybeans. Throw in a broken leg, and all that work becomes even harder to do. That’s the situation one Howard farmer found himself in but a non-profit is helping him and his family… all for free.

“When people don’t ask for help and people know they need it, it’s nice to know there’s help there.”

Kevin Schwader suspects a family member is the reason why there’s a baler in his alfalfa field.

“[I was] Checking cows this spring, I broke my leg and been layed up all spring. And my wife and family friends and neighbors have been helping, doing all my work for me so far this spring,” explain Schwader who owns not only a 225 cattle operation but also grows corn as well as soybeans. He says that the help that he got from family and friends was amazing but soon the work became too much for just them.

Now, at the peak harvest time for the alfalfa, there’s more help.

“We came in here two days ago and we’re baling here for the last couple of days,” explained Levi Wielenga, equipment specialist who has been working for Farm Rescue for around six years. “Getting about 65 acres here in this field.”

Founded by a farmer, Bill Gross, the non-profit organization Farm Rescue aims to helps farmers and their families during hard times such as major injury, illness or natural disaster.
And sometimes, says both Kevin Schwader and Levi Wielenga, the hardest part isn’t the work in the field… it’s asking for help.

“You have to be an independent sort of person if you’re going to survive in agriculture,” explained Wielenga, ” because so much depends on you being the sole proprietor and the soul bread winner.”

Which is why Levi Wielenga, equipment specialist for Farm Rescue, is happy to spend the afternoon, and coming weeks, baling.

“It’s amazing to see. I think it shows that there are total strangers who are willing to come in and help somebody. And truly do onto others as they’d want done onto them.”

Soon Kevin Schwader’s leg will be healed and he will be back in the fields which means his son Keagan will be right alongside him too. Helping out his dad.

“It makes me feel happy that people want to help out my dad,” explained Keagan Schwader, “but, at the same time, it makes me feel sad because I don’t get to spend much more time with my dad. usually I get to spend time with my family when I’m working.”

Schwader says that the dry weather is helping make the baling easier. He says you don’t want the hay to be too dry or it’ll fall apart during the baling process or too wet where it’ll combust when being stored.

If you know a farmer who has been injured, are a farmer who has been injured or would like to volunteer for Farm Rescue, you can find all of the information on their website by clicking here.