Neighbors Come Together to Harvest Deceased Farmer’s Last Crop

FILE - In this July 20, 2013, file photo, an ethanol plant stands next to a cornfield near Nevada, Iowa. The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually …
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

A group of rural Iowans demonstrated what it means to be good neighbors after they came together to harvest a deceased farmer’s last crop.

Three dozen neighbors descended upon Van Brownlee’s fields Wednesday with semis, grain carts, combines, and other harvesting materials to harvest 235 acres of corn and 165 acres of soybeans, the Des Moines Register reported.

“It’s a really good community,” says Lisa Brownlee, Van Brownlee’s widow. “I’m thankful.”

Brownlee, 58, died of a heart attack shortly after he planted his last crop in May.

Steve Downs, Brownlee’s longtime friend who organized the harvest, noted that Brownlee brought in the hay crop of a neighbor killed in a farming accident and thought it would be good for the community to return the favor.

“He was just a good old boy … a good person who always tried to do the right thing,” said Alan Brommel, a farmer who lived a couple miles away from Brownlee.

Downs said the group harvest spread by “word of mouth,” leading to a flood of phone calls and more than 30 farmers showing up to Brownlee’s farm to till the land.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on crop harvests, only 23 percent of corn and 61 percent of soybeans have been harvested this season in Iowa, making it the latest harvest for the state since 2009.

Trump vowed to protect farmers in Iowa during a visit he made to the state in June to highlight new farming technology.


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