Coming together for Nehm

Community pays respects through tractor gathering

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ALLENTON, Wis. — On Feb. 4, more than 350 people gathered at Farmers’ Implement in Allenton to remember and honor a special young man, Curtis Nehm. They came on tractors from five counties to pay tribute to one of their own and support his family during a time of sorrow.

“The farming community is super supportive, and a lot of people came,” said Nehm’s sister, Cheryl Asmus. “It was awesome. It was what we needed.”

Nehm died in a farm accident Jan. 27 at the age of 27.

On the day of Nehm’s visitation and funeral, approximately 150 tractors, a combine, a chopper, a grain truck and several service trucks lined the road in front of the implement where Nehm had worked since he was 15. They came in all kinds of brands and colors — from Case IH, John Deere, New Holland, and International to Ford, Massey Ferguson, Oliver, Challenger and Versatile.

“It really meant a lot to our family to see that many people who cared about Curtis,” said Nehm’s brother, Scott. “People looked up to him and appreciated what he did for everybody. He wasn’t just someone they went to from 8 to 5. He answered the phone late at night and on weekends. He was not just an employee at the dealership; he was more than that to a lot of people.”

Nehm could be found behind the parts counter at Farmers’ Implement. His knowledge of machinery parts and people-pleasing mentality made him a sought-after guru for any farmer needing to fix something.

“Curtis was the kind of person who would do anything for anyone,” Asmus said. “He went above and beyond to help people find parts and fix stuff. That’s just how he was. People drove a distance to get parts from him because they knew he would get it right.”

Nehm, the son of Bill and Susan Nehm, grew up dairy farming. His family milked 70 cows on their farm near Slinger until 2022. Nehm’s favorite type of tractor was a Case IH, the red tractors he grew up with.

In addition to working full time at Farmers’ Implement, Nehm and his brother owned S&C Ag Services, a custom fieldwork business. When the dairy cows left, the brothers remodeled the barn and began buying wet calves and raising steers as well, with about 60 calves on milk. The pair also opened a Dairyland Seed dealership and were planning to start selling seed this spring.

“We spent all day, every day together when he wasn’t at work,” Scott said. “We worked side by side every night, weekend and vacation day. Curtis never forgot anybody — what they needed or were looking for — whether in our business or the parts business. He made it a point to go the extra mile and people knew that.”

Scott Schreffler, agricultural sales representative at Farmers’ Implement, helped organize the event for Nehm, born from an idea of Nehm’s customer and friend, Matthew Beck.

“The amount of support from co-workers, friends, family, customers, the local fire department and even past employees of the implement was amazing,” Schreffler said. “Curtis helped everyone no matter what you were looking for, and he always did it with a smile. Even if customers were having a bad day, he would do his best to make it better.”

Jake Gehring, dairy farmer and longtime friend to Nehm, drove three John Deere tractors to Allenton that day with help from his wife, brother and hired hand. Gehring and his family milk 190 cows near Hartford.

“This was a nice event for the whole community to be a part of,” Gehring said. “It was tough but good to get together and start to heal. His family realized that day how big of an influence Curtis had on the community and what big shoes he left to fill. He was definitely my go-to guy for parts, as he was for many people.”

Gehring said the event brought a lot of emotions.

“It was a good sendoff and a good way to pay our respects,” he said. “There’s not many of us left in the ag community, and we lost one of the good ones.”

Farmers’ Implement served lunch, and farmers ate together while celebrating Nehm’s life.

“It was a lot of planning and work on the implement’s part,” Asmus said. “We’re very lucky for all the support, and we couldn’t thank anyone enough.”

Farmers’ Implement is also setting up an Honours Inc. scholarship in Nehm’s name at Slinger High School.

“His employer has been fantastic,” Asmus said.

Asmus said her brother’s pleasant personality and witty commentary was what he was known for.

“He was always smiling and laughing,” she said. “He had the kind of laugh you don’t forget.”

Asmus wants people to remember her brother’s helpfulness and positive attitude toward life.

“He was always happy and wanted to better himself,” she said. “He always tried to do new things and wasn’t scared to take a chance. It’s awful now, but you just have to try and keep going. He wouldn’t want us sitting around.”

Asmus said 1,200 people went through the visitation line prior to her brother’s funeral. Nehm will be missed by many in the community as his absence is felt by everyone he impacted. 

“I don’t think we even realized how many people Curtis knew or helped,” Asmus said. “For only being 27, he touched a lot of lives.”

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