Friends harvest ailing farmer's crops
SEYMOUR – What goes around comes around, and when word spread in Seymour about Bill Young's health problems, Mark and Jim Nibling knew exactly what to do.
They started organizing, and on Monday, neighbors drove combines to Young's 100-acre cornfield to take out the crop in a matter of hours.
"I've been on the receiving end," said Mark Nibling, recalling that when his father, Dale, died suddenly in 1985 in the middle of harvest, neighbors – including Bill Young – showed up one day late in October to harvest his crops.
"I know what it means," said Nibling, who started planning the harvest back in August. "When he started having trouble and was going to be laid up for a while. We knew everyone was going to have to jump in.
"It's the way the farming community is. You see it everywhere. If someone needs someone to help, they're there. You always know you may be the next guy who needs help."
Young said the morning's work finished his corn harvest. He said he can't thank his friends enough for the physical help and for making his mind a lot easier about the future.
Young's landlord, Bud Barker, helped organize the team – about 35 people working with six combines, four augers, seven semitrailers, 10 grain wagons and three tandem hitches.
Young said he was blindsided in mid-August when pains he was experiencing were diagnosed as aneurysms in both main arteries running from his heart to his legs. On Aug. 16, emergency surgery was performed at Carle Foundation Hospital.
"I got replumbed," he said. "It happened so fast I had no time to think."
Young was released after four days and told to take it easy. But with the harvest imminent, that wasn't a viable option, even though his wife, Tina, drives a combine and is an active partner in the operation.
"I tried driving a combine and the Nibling brothers were nagging me to get out of the field, then all of a sudden, everyone was here," Young said.
He said he's taken part in neighborhood harvests several times, including the harvest for Nibling's father.
After Monday's job was done and neighbors drove back to their own fields, Young went to Topflight Grain Cooperative's Seymour office to check harvest results.
Jason Goodner, site manager, said Young's yields averaged 207 bushels per acre.
Goodner, who's been at the elevator since 2005, said the Young harvest was a first for him but not for the community.
"He's a lifelong resident, he's very well known and he's helped other people, so this is a way of helping back," he said of the community attitude.
Goodner said he posted signs about the harvest and some farmers helped out by hauling to Monticello or Lodge so the elevator could handle the volume.