ND Farm Rescue & Volunteers Go the Extra Mile

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
It all started with the record rains and “bomb cyclone” that pounded the Midwest. More than 1 million acres of farmland has flooded and current damages exceed $3 billion. Farmers and ranchers are facing major losses, as the flood wiped out swaths of livestock, damaged equipment, drowned feed, and destroyed fences, outbuildings and homes. As the flooding continues, people around the country have invested their time and money in providing these farmers and ranchers with some relief.
The nonprofit organization Farm Rescue, which serves North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa, has activated “Operation Hay Lift” to deliver livestock feed in response to the record flooding.
In North Dakota, individuals have donated time, equipment and supplies to make the relief missions to Nebraska possible. Hauling operations out of Williston and Dickinson have delivered around 500 semi loads of hay and supplies.
On Sunday, April 7, a convoy of semis departed Jamestown’s Walmart, hauling hay bales donated by community members. Law enforcement personnel escorted the volunteer drivers for various stretches of the 600-mile route, and the trucks rolled into Elkhorn, Nebraska late that same night.
Kara Kramin, of Valley City, has been involved in Farm Rescue for upwards of 10 years. Whenever things like “Operation Hay Lift” mobilize, she offers volunteers free housing, whether they’re passing through or staying in the area, at her Three Oaks Guest Inn in Valley City. Farm Rescue Operation Manager Levi Wielenga stayed there for a while, around the Winter Show this year, making contacts in the area to assist Farm Rescue in helping Nebraska farmers and ranchers. At each annual Farm Rescue banquet in the fall, Kramin donates room and full house vouchers to be auctioned.
She has seen firsthand how incredible Farm Rescue is in what it provides. In 2011, her brother was preparing for soybean harvest in South-Central Minnesota, trying to burn out and remove stumps that were in the way. With a wind switch or rush of fumes, he was badly burned. Farm Rescue made sure his crop was harvested.
Farm Rescue provides help where it’s needed most, delivering everything from milk replacer to thousands of dollars in fencing and infrastructure, and volunteering to bring in harvest for someone struggling—anything to help a neighbor in need to the areas that need it most. Those who have received Farm Rescue’s assistance express how overwhelmingly grateful they are for what communities have done to go the extra mile (or 600 miles) to help.
Farm Rescue asks that people consider donating hay or monetary gifts, volunteering trucks and/or CDL driving services.
Those affected are asked to apply for assistance. To do so, visit farmrescue.org. If you’d like to volunteer as a CDL driver or make a monetary donation, visit Farm Rescue’s website or call 701-252-2017, and contact Levi Wielenga, Farm Rescue Operations Manager, if you’d like to donate hay: 712-389-1024. Three Oaks Guest Inn is located at 530 3rd St SE in Valley City.