Farm Rescue helps 1,000th family

Farm Rescue helps 1,000th family
Jul 14, 2023

The Pifer family farm in Illinois experienced major tornado damage in March

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A nonprofit organization providing ag assistance to family farms recently celebrated a milestone.

Farm Rescue, which helps farmers who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster by providing free planting, haying, harvesting and other services, helped its 1,000th family in June.

Volunteers drove to Brad Pifer’s family farm in Palestine, Ill. to help harvest the last 50 acres of his winter wheat crop.

Zach Johnson, a farmer from Minnesota whom many people follow on social media under his Millennial Farmer profile, was among those helping with the harvest.

Being part of the day helps highlight the important work Farm Rescue does.

“It’s important to me to be able to showcase Farm Rescue and what they do,” he said during an interview from inside a John Deere combine. “This is the thousandth farm rescue that they’ve done. It’s not just about this 1,000th rescue, it’s also about the 999 other ones along the way.”

Pifer contacted Farm Rescue after a tornado tore through his family’s farm in the spring.

The EF3 (wind gusts between 136 and 165mph) tornado occurred on March 31 and caused severe damage, including destroying the family’s home.

“Our entire farm sheds were completely collapsed,” Pifer told Your News Now. “We didn’t have a single building standing and it was on top of all of our equipment. So, we were ready to start the planting season and we realized we had not a single piece of equipment in springtime that we could use.”

Farm Rescue also assisted the Pifers with spring planting.

Bill Gross, a pilot who grew up on a farm in North Dakota, founded Farm Rescue in 2005 and currently serves as chairman of the board.

The organization helped its first family in spring 2006 with planting.

More farm families will need help, and Farm Rescue will be there for them, he said.

“It has been a great honor to partner with donors, sponsors and volunteers to provide vital assistance to 1,000 families who have experienced unexpected crises,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to serving many more farmers and ranchers in the future.”

Farm Rescue is available for farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Anyone requiring assistance can contact the organization’s website or call 701-252-2017.

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