Illinois News

Illinois farmers harvest fields of injured neighbor

Corn is offloaded from a combine Saturday outside of Basco, Ill. Eighteen farmers came together on Friday and Saturday to harvest John UfkesÕ crop. Ufkes was recently injured, which prevented him from harvesting his soybeans and corn. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 28, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Oct. 28, 2017 11:45 pm

BASCO, Ill. -- Farmers across the region delayed their own harvests this weekend to help a neighbor in need.

John Ufkes recently fell from his grain trailer, breaking two vertebrae and laying him up for about three months. With Ufkes out of commission for the season, the work falls entirely on the shoulders of his brother, Gene. Recognizing the need to keep the Ufkes' harvest going, Rod Bushmeyer, Ace Lantz and Scott Mudd enlisted farmers from as far away as Hull to help harvest more than 300 acres of fields for the brothers on Friday and Saturday.

"We're concerned about our own -- we have 300 acres of corn to do still -- but we'll get it," Lantz, an Augusta farmer, said. "I know everybody would help me out if it was me."

One farmer at the Ufkes' Basco field Saturday morning remarked that this harvest was different from others because it was the first time he had the opportunity to help someone who would recover. He said such help often takes place when a farmer dies suddenly.

"The farmers out here might be bidding against each other to rent ground," said West Point farmer Gene Flesner, "but they still showed up and came together to help."

Eighteen farmers brought out their combines and semi trucks over the two days. On Friday, 160 acres of beans were harvested, and 160 acres of corn were harvested Saturday.

"I just love when the farmers get together and do this type of thing for each other," said Carla Mudd, who brought coffee and doughnuts to the farmers in the fields. Scott Mudd, her husband, coordinated where each combine went.

"Harvest is busy, and they don't have a second to spare," Carla said. "This is how they make their living for the rest of the year."

The farmers agreed that, were the situations reversed, Ufkes would be out in the field helping them.

"We're just doing what neighbors do," said Golden farmer Les Post.

Ufkes said the biggest gift the harvest gave him was peace of mind. He estimates that the help of his neighbors sped up the process by about a week. Although he is still recovering, he came out to the fields both days to speak with those helping him.

"It's amazing how some farmers are not finished themselves but will stop to help their neighbor," Ufkes said. "The farming community really rallies around someone when they have a problem."

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