Lending a hand during times of sorrow

There are many qualities of a dairy farmer I truly admire: hard-working, dedicated and tough are just a few I can mention within these lines.
Perhaps a trait I admire most is their willingness to help even though they really don’t have the extra time to do so. Think about it. Many farmers consider a 10-hour day an easy day. But if the neighbor’s cattle are out or someone has a flat tire near the farm, they will halt what they are doing to help.
It’s the fabric that most farmers are. They are good neighbors willing to adjust their day to help anyone in need.
Just last week, this quality came to forefront on a modest 100-cow dairy near Norwood Young America, Minnesota.
The younger of two brothers, who had been dairying together for more than two decades, suddenly passed.
Dealing with the emotion of losing perhaps his best friend and operating a business as diverse as dairy farming would not be comprehendible.
The farm couldn’t stop because of the vast amount of daily activities that occur on a farm. The animals needed to be fed, the cows needed to be milked, and the constant challenges that each day brings needed to be dealt with.
But the surviving brother needed to halt to process the grief of suddenly losing the other half who was equally committed to doing his best to make their dairy farm journey a success.
They saw each other many times every day. The duo probably had thousands of conversations in the barn, farmyard or fields about the plans for the dairy and the next hurdle to overcome.
But now, that was gone forever.
So, on a warm week in Carver County, while the dairy farmer and his family were accepting condolences for the loss of their brother and a son, uncle and neighbor, the farm was bustling with activity.
First-crop hay was being laid down in the field, rakes were combining the rows, and, later, big square balers were rolling through the fields, stringing together bales for the animals on the farm.
A nearby dairy farm neighbor was the ringleader to the event. Upon realizing that part of the first-crop hay wasn’t complete at the time of the passing, he sprang into action.
He connected with local farmers, some up to 20 miles away, to bring their equipment to conquer the job. He synchronized the farmers for different roles, whether they would be cutting, raking or baling hay for the dairy farmer in need.
The volunteerism started on a Monday, and by Saturday, around 70 acres of hay were put up to yield 215 big square bales as well as round bales.
This all occurred while operating their own individual farms and dealing with their vast daily challenges and problems that arose from those farms.
The price tag for the good deed was $0. The display of farm equipment on procession for the farmer’s funeral signaled the truth: That’s just what dairy farmers, and farmers in general, do – help when needed.


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