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Farm Rescue providing help for farms in need

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 10:46 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 11:27 a.m. CDT
(Submitted Photo)
Bill Gross is the founder of Farm Rescue,a non-profit organization that offers aid to farmers who have been affected by major injury, illness or a natural disaster.

Warren Miller knew something was wrong with him. He had to rest often while trying to complete his harvest, and he began passing blood in his stool. It turned out that he had cancer, and he and his wife Kirsti knew they would need some help running their farm in Newburg, S.D.

That help came from Farm Rescue, a non-profit organization that provides help to farmers who suffer a serious injury, illness or natural disaster.  Farm Rescue was founded in 2006 by Bill Gross, and it provides services in Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and eastern Montana.

“As a farmer you have a certain amount of pride and stubbornness, but I think it’s part of being a man to realize when you’re licked and when you have to ask for help,” Warren said in a testimonial on Farm Rescue’s website. “While they were here, they worked as hard as I ever worked on my farm. I mean, they went 24 hours a day. Professional in what they did, and I just can’t say enough.”

Farm Rescue doesn’t distribute funds but instead it reaches into its volunteer base and actually travels to and works the farm for you. They offer help in the form of planting and harvesting and use of their equipment. Farmers have to provide their own seed and fuel for the machinery.

“After going through this process, I came to the realization that I think there are angels that live among us right now,” Warren said. “I consider those volunteers that work for Farm Rescue to be angels among us.”

Farm Rescue has assisted more than 230 farms in its seven-year existence. Unfortunately, not so many farmers in Iowa have taken advantage of this offer, and none in Jasper County have. There are currently three farms pending approval in Iowa and two that have received planting assistance for this year, according to the Farm Rescue site.

To apply for assistance, either apply via Farm Rescue’s website, www.farmrescue.org, or call at (701) 252-2017. If approved, Farm Rescue will immediately notify the farm of the arrival date to plant or harvest their crops.

“It was an amazing experience,” Warren said. “They didn’t make us feel like a charity case or anything like that. They were family.”