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Farmers helping a farmer

By Staff | Oct 15, 2010

One of 15 semis that helped haul corn from the Geoff Mickelson harvest is ready to take on the corn from one grain cart as two others, in background, and a third, in foreground, wait to unload.

RUTLAND – While Geoff Mickelson undergoes rehab physical therapy in Kansas City, his neighbors were busy Tuesday harvesting his 900 acres of corn.

In an impromptu harvest bee that they named Farmers Helping Farmers, farmers from around rural Humboldt County turned out in mass to help harvest Mickelson’s fields.

Many of the volunteers, said Doug Marso, of Humboldt, still had their own harvest to finish, but took that day off to help their neighbor. Marso spoke to Farm News while directing the 15 semi trucks that were hauling Mickelson’s harvest to market.

“We have to make sure that each field’s corn is kept separate,” Marso said, “for crop insurance records.” All totaled, Marso said there were 15 truck haulers, about the same number of grain carts and eight combines started shortly after 8 a.m. The progress appeared that the fields would be finished by noon.

All of the corn was transported to Valero in Fort Dodge, which supplied a few semi haulers to assist in the effort, Marso said.

Working on a portion of the 900-acre harvest belonging to Geoff Mickelson, of rural Humboldt, are Dave Hundertmark, in the combine, and Tom Hundertmark, pulling the grain cart.

“Geoff is my best friend,” Marso said. “He’s the kind of guy that would drop everything and help someone out.”

Mickelson, who is president of R&G Electric, was seriously injured earlier this year from a 14-foot fall. He had been hospitalized in Chicago, but Marso said Mickelson had been transferred to Kansas City to start extensive physical therapy. Mickelson is listed on the Iowa Hawkeye’s football website as a former team captain during the 1971 season.

Mickelson had once traveled to Hawaii to assist in a church construction project there and met David Jerome. The two had developed a lasting friendship. Now, since Mickelson was injured, Jerome has flown in twice from Hawaii to assist.

“I just wanted to help Geoff out,” Jerome said. “Geoff was pretty busted up.”

Dutch Nostrom, who lives just three miles from Mickelson’s field, contributed his combine and a grain cart to the effort, while he was busy driving one of the semis, owned by Rod Ahlrich, of Gilmore City.

One of 15 semis that helped haul corn from the Geoff Mickelson harvest takes one the corn from one grain cart and one of five others waits to unload. Watching as the load goes on is Dutch Nostrum, who lives three miles from the Mickelson field. Nostrum had donated his combine and grain cart to the effort, while he drove the truck, belonging to Rod Ahlrich, of Gilmore City.

In an adjoining field, right on the Rutland Curve on County Road P20, a pair of brothers was working in one of Mickelson’s fields. David Hundertmark, a personal friend of Mickelson’s was running a combine, while his brother Tom Hundertmark drove a catch cart keeping pace with the combine.

“We’re trying to help until Geoff gets back on his feet,” Tom Hundertmark said, who had stopped the cart to talk, while his brother continued his combine run. The brothers still have 500 acres of their own grain to bring in, but said they wanted to help out the popular Humboldt County farmer and his family.

One person who was not surprised over the neighborly turnout was Patricia Mickelson, Geoff Mickelson’s mother. Speaking from her home in Humboldt, she said,” I knew they would do it. That’s the way people are around here. They are good to each other.

“It was a wonderful thing to do. Geoff has such wonderful, wonderful friends.”

Cathy Mickelson, Geoff’s wife, said the harvest bee “was a big relief. We were overwhelmed,” she added after looking at harvest photos online from Kansas City.

“We’re thankful for such good friends,”?Cathy Mickelson said. “Geoff is a good man and these are good men doing this.”

Marso said some of the harvest activity started Sunday with crews opening fields. Whole fields were harvested for Mickelson on Monday near Bradgate and Gilmore City.

A tillage bee is also being planned, possibly yet this week, Marso said. Stalk choppers followed combines. Nitrogen was being applied in preparation for the tillage work.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453 or at kersh@farm-news.com.

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