Farming community joins together to finish injured friend's corn harvest


When farmer Ron Rehm was knocked unconscious following a fall in one of his grain bins, he figured he wouldn't get to finish his harvest before the snow arrived.

But in a show of community spirit, Ron's fellow farmers near Rochester, Minnesota, joined together on Thursday to harvest the 150 acres of corn Rehm still had left in his fields.

Agrinews reports that Rehm suffered a broken rib and a broken vertebrae in the 12-foot fall while working in empty bin on October 16, as well as a concussion, but his main feeling now is immense gratitude to the farmers who brought in his harvest, many of whom hadn't even finished their own.

"It's tough to accept the fact you can't do it yourself," he told Agrinews.

The harvest was organized by Randy Hart and Jim Klavatter, who farm in Oronoco and Eyota respectively, and Hart said it wasn't hard to persuade fellow farmers to help out, with 5 combines, 5 grain carts and more than 12 trucks involved.

Coming together in adversity

While certainly heart-warming, the effort of Rehm's fellow farmers is not unique, with farming communities across the Midwest showing compassion when injury, or even death, affects a harvest.

In the village of Monee, Illinois, earlier this year, The Daily Journal in Kankakee reports that farming friends of Matt Schoenbeck rallied to finish off the 250 acres of wheat remaining in his fields, after he suffered brain trauma following the construction of a new home on his farm.

In Dickens, Iowa, Chad Sorenson suffered horrific injuries after being caught in a farm wagon in August 2013, but was given a boost in his recovery when local farmers, many of whom were strangers, turned up to finish off his soybean harvest, according to Farm News.

And on Wednesday, around 50 farmers in Racine County, Wisconsin, turned up to a farm in Union Grove to pay their respects and finish the harvest of Arthur Green, who was tragically killed when a 50-foot grain auger was blown over by high winds, WDJT Milwaukee reports.

America's most dangerous industry

Farming is considered to be the most dangerous industry in the world, with figures from the International Labour Organization saying half of the 335,000 workplace fatalities every year worldwide occur in agriculture, according to the Modern Farmer, while in the USA it has been the deadliest industry over the last decade, ahead of mining and construction.

The risk is particularly great during the harvest season, according to the University of Minnesota's agricultural educator Dan Martens, who told the St. Cloud Times that the stress of harvesting sometimes prompts farmers to take a more casual attitude to their safety.

In 2012, there were 374 fatalities on American farms, a rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to data from the CDC, with overturned tractors the leading cause of deaths.

The CDC also found that 167 agricultural workers every day suffer an injury that requires them to take time off work.

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