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Farm Rescue expands into Iowa

By Staff | Jul 26, 2012

GRIMES, IOWA Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization that plants and harvests crops free of charge for farm families facing unexpected crises resulting from major injury, illness or natural disaster, has expanded into Iowa.

“It’s always devastating when a family member experiences an unexpected crisis like a severe injury or illness. When a farm family experiences an unexpected crisis it can be even more devastating,” said Bill Gross, Farm Rescue founder. “For many farm families, their livelihood relies on getting their crops planted and harvested in a timely manner. The assistance we provide is beneficial to rural communities and people throughout the United States. Agriculture plays a large role in the economic well-being of our nation. There are 2.2 million farms in the United States. It is our nation’s farms which provide the commodities used to produce healthy and nutritious food for everyone in America.”

Armed with dedicated volunteer labor and sponsored farm equipment from RDO Equipment Company, Farm Rescue has planted or harvested crops free of charge for nearly 200 farm families facing a crisis situation such as injury, illness or natural disaster in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana.

“We started helping farmers six years ago because I noticed changing demographics in rural America. Forty or 50 years ago it used to be that neighbors could do all of the work if something happened. Now we’re seeing fewer family farms, less children on each farm, and it has simply become harder for neighbors to help one another due to the economic pressures upon their own business operation. Farm Rescue is a structured avenue for farm families to turn for assistance during a time of crisis. Just one injury or illness could be the end of a family farm. That is why Farm Rescue was formed– to help prevent family farms from ceasing to exist,” said Gross, who has been named a CNN hero, featured in People Magazine’s “Heroes Among Us,” and DirecTV’s “Small Town Hero” for his creation of Farm Rescue.

Farm Rescue relies solely on the generosity of its business sponsors, individual donors and grants.

Members of the business community have stepped-up in support for Farm Rescue.

RDO Equipment Company sponsors the farm equipment for Farm Rescue to carry out its mission. “Supporting family farming is key in maintaining the economic health of small communities,” said Keith Kreps, vice president of RDO Equipment Company. “In fact, farming is tightly linked to many industries in the midwest. We believe that supporting Farm Rescue is a great way to give back to rural and agricultural communities.”

“Walmart has been a sponsor since Farm Rescue’s first year,” said Todd Carr, Walmart market manager.”We are extremely excited to be helping out in Iowa and are always happy to help when called upon by the communities we’re in.”

“A lot of Farm Rescue sponsorships come from members of the agricultural community like Key Cooperative,” said Cindy Van Donselaar, Director of Communication and Member Relations at Key Cooperative. “Really, Farm Rescue emulates a co-op in the sense that it’s the community helping out its members.”

“Agriculture and farming play a large role in Iowa’s economy,” said David Thompson, National Sales and Marketing Director at Stine Seed. “We’re happy to step up and support Farm Rescue because it offers support to this vital piece of our economy.”

Businesses with footprints all over rural communities support Farm Rescue.

“Farmers support small towns and rural communities. Many of these towns exist because of farmers,”said Len Jentz, Operating Partner at Pizza Ranch in Waverly. “Pizza Ranch exists in rural communities across the state. Without farmer support, a lot of these communities might not be here.”

Agriculture and ag-related industries are a major component of Iowa’s economy. In many small communities, agriculture is the primary industry.

“Farm Rescue not only is important because it helps today’s farmers that are in need; it’s also helping to ensure that farms stay in families for the next generation of farmers,” said Keith Jackson, Advertising Manager at Wilson Trailer Company. Wilson Trailer Company has sponsored a semi-trailer to use for field operations.

Farm Rescue does not offer help to farms that have been mismanaged, and Farm Rescue does not give money to families. Farm Rescue provides their services to farm families that have been screened and it’s determined that they are in need of help due to circumstances beyond their control.

“We are here to help farm families during crises,” said Gross. “If you or someone you know are facing an unexpected injury, illness or natural disaster, please reach out to us. We’re here with equipment and manpower to provide free help to qualifying farm families in Iowa. Anyone may contact us anonymously and refer a farm family in need of assistance.”

Farm Rescue will continue to raise awareness of its mission in Iowa now through the beginning of harvest. Iowa is the fifth state with a Farm Rescue presence. Farm Rescue equipment will be displayed at select Walmart locations throughout the state and at the Farm Progress show in Boone.

Applications for assistance are obtained online at www.farmrescue.org or by calling 701-252-2017.

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