For North Dakota farmer Larry Leier, the help Farm Rescue provided to him and his family was so important, so meaningful, that he decided to pay it forward by becoming a Farm Rescue volunteer.
Leier from Hague, North Dakota, has two children who suffer from Friedreich's Ataxia, a rare progressive nervous system disorder. Volunteers from Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization based near Fargo, North Dakota, twice came to help tend to Leier's crops as he was tending to his family.
"At the time, when Farm Rescue came, probably what would have taken me two weeks they did in a couple of days," Leier recalled. "It gave us an opportunity to spend more time with and take care of the two children who were needing a lot of care."
Leier recently sat down for the Fastline Fast Track podcast with Brent Adams to discuss his family's experience with Farm Rescue and why he decided to volunteer.
Dan Erdmann, program manager at Farm Rescue, said the organization has more than 1,000 volunteers coming from across the country to support farmers across the Midwest.
"It's an incredible family we've built here at Farm Rescue," Erdmann said. "It started in 2006, that was our first year of operation. I think they helped 10 families just in North Dakota that year with five volunteers, since then we've grown to over 1,000 farm rescuers."
Erdmann said volunteers come from all walks of life from retired farmers to pastors, police officers, pilots, veterans and many more professions.
"The folks that carry out this mission that serve as our boots on the ground are an incredible story in themselves not to mention the folks that we're helping, those farm and ranch families in crisis," Erdmann said.
John Deere is helping Farm Rescue raise money to support volunteers like Leier through a livestream benefit concert titled "The Farm Must Go On by John Deere" on Dec. 9 at 8 pm EDT.