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Help: ‘It’s what neighbors do’

By Staff | Oct 22, 2010

Green and red combines came together Tuesday morning near Badger to help Leroy and Randy Lemberg bring in 300 acres of corn. It was some of the last standing crops within that section of north east Webster County.

BADGER – Standing on a gravel road, close enough to this northeast Webster County community that its elevator and storage buildings are within easy view, Randy Sherman watches as four combines work a 107-acre corn field. It was early Tuesday morning.

He confers with semi owners, tractor drivers pulling tandem grain carts and an operator towing a catch cart looking for a trailer into which he can auger his load.

Sherman is directing the coordinated efforts of a local harvest bee to help Leroy and Randy Lemberg finish their corn harvest.

Leroy Lemberg is recovering from 12 weeks of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation and is now building his strength for cancer surgery, set for Nov. 18. The Lembergs had gotten their soybean acres out of the fields, but had some of the last standing corn in the Badger-Vincent area.

Sherman started an effort to bring the Lembergs’ neighbors together to help the ailing farmer and his partner brother finish off their harvest.

Leroy Lemberg visited one of his two corn fields that were being harvested for him and his brother, Randy Lemberg, by their surrounding neighbors. Leroy Lemberg is recovering from chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Exactly a week earlier, Sherman was northwest of Humboldt, assisting in a harvest bee to finish the Geoff Mickelson harvest. Mickelson was in Kansas City undergoing rehabilitation from a fall he sustained earlier this year.

Sherman said he and Leroy Lemberg were boyhood friends, growing up just a few scant miles from each other near Badger. Sherman said he’s finished with his own harvest and thought assisting his friends was something that had to be done.

“If things were the other way around,” Sherman said, “they’d help us.”

Farm News caught up with Leroy, Randy and Zach Lemberg in another field three miles east of Sherman’s position, where another 200 acres were being harvested by five combines.

“It’s a humbling experience,” said Leroy Lemberg. “You really find out who your neighbors and friends are. It brings tears to your eyes.”

A John Deere 9660STS combine unloads corn into a grain cart Tuesday, near Badger, during the Lemberg harvest bee.

Leroy Lemberg said the field where Sherman was working was being hauled to NEW Co-op in Badger and the second field was being hauled to NEW Co-op in Vincent.

He added that he and his family have helped others in similar harvesting bees over the years, but added “This is more humbling because it’s not supposed to happen to you.”

Randy Lemberg said the family heard of the harvesting bee being organized on Saturday. Randy Sherman had started the ball rolling with some phone calls and the harvesting plans fell quickly into place.

“We have nine combines out here,” Sherman said, “and more are coming yet. We should be done before noon.” Farmers from around the Badger and Vincent communities and one from Clare joined the effort, Leroy Lemberg said.

A fuel truck was scheduled to arrive at the fields by 11 a.m. to refill all thirsty tanks.

A John Deere 9660STS combine unloads corn into a grain cart Tuesday, near Badger, during the Lemberg harvest bee.

Although in one sense, the Lembergs are competitors with their neighbors for local grain prices, in a very real sense, they are all tied into a working community.

“You get to find out how nice people are,” Leroy Lemberg said. “But that’s just what neighbors do. They all have their own work to do, but they’re working out here.

“And all you can say to them is ‘thank you.’ That just doesn’t seem to be enough.”

But the Lembergs said they’d try to thank everyone by scheduling a luncheon for all those involved in the harvest bee at the Lutheran Church in Badger that day.

When asked if they’d need help with fall tillage, Karen Lemberg said much of that work has already been completed as tillage equipment followed combines on other fields.

Concerning Tuesday’s 300 acres, Leroy Lemberg said, “We can take care of this ourselves. Those guys have their own tillage work to get done.”

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

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