Fourth gen farmer Larry Yockey, 63, who is in a fierce battle with stage 4 cancer and is struggling with doing the farming on his 1,200-acre farm received an outpouring of help from fellow farmers in the Ritzville, Washington, area.
Harvesting his crop would have taken Yockey 3 weeks, which he could have used to spend some quality time with family. Thanks to 60 of his caring neighbors, it was completed in just six hours.
Miles Pfaff, one of the farmers, wrote on his Facebook about the “Harvest Bee” that took place. “Farmers don’t quit,” he wrote. “They don’t retire. They’re tough. Even when told they’re quite sick, they still lace up their boots, throw on that ball cap, and go out and farm as long as their bodies will allow. Day in and day out. They know no different. It’s their land, their livelihood, it’s what they care for, and it’s everything to them.
“But there comes a time when farmers do quit. They quit what they’re doing, put aside their own obligations, their weekends, when one of their own needs help. They donate their time, their diesel, and their equipment. They do whatever it takes to ensure a fellow farmer can finish his harvest and get the crops in. The crops he’s worked all year, tirelessly for.
“And when this happens we call it a Harvest Bee. And it’s not just the farmers, it’s the local volunteer firemen with their fire trucks, the chemical company with their dust defeating water trucks, and their mechanics with their service rigs. It’s rare sight. A tangible, palpable feeling and environment. And it’s living, breathing proof that community, compassion, and goodwill still exist.” Pfaff concluded, “Here’s to the farmers who put their life on hold today. Those who didn’t think twice when asked to help. And likely never will.”
Mike Doyle, another of them said he was happy to do what was required. Yockey was taken aback when farmers turned up with dozens of machines and operators on his property, to help him harvest his crop. He said, “It’s not describable the gratitude I have for what’s going on,” His daughter, Amanda plans to carry on the family tradition and be a farmer. “I plan to be the fifth generation out farming our grounds some day,” she said, “so yesterday we had a few moments that were bittersweet for the both of us.”
Our hearts are melting with this story of kindness shown by fellow farmers to one of their own in Washington, this is the reason why we believe that there is a lot of good still left in this world.