Antique tractors further teen’s dream to farm By Leah Ward firstname.lastname@example.org IONA — Seveteen-year-old Ryley Thraen found his first antique tractor by chance in 2014, and he’s been curating a collection ever since. Thraen was with his grandma on the way to Tyler to watch his brother Evan’s football game when they spotted an NNA 1954 Ford tractor for sale on the side of the road. His grandma said that was the model she used to drive and that she’d like to have one again. Thraen and his dad went
Leah Ward / The Globe
Ryley Thraen (right) and his brother, Evan, showcase the first antique tractor Thraen bought, an NNA 1954 Ford.
back later to make an offer. “We stopped at my grandma’s place first so she could take a picture on it,” Thraen recalled of the trip home with his prize. He fell in love with the tractor and has spent the last several years collecting more tractors, equipment and memorabilia from ages past. He prefers Ford tractors and Dearborn equipment. In addition to the machines themselves — which Thraen uses to farm his own 1.5 acres of corn and soybeans — he likes to find toy versions of
them, as well as their manuals and advertising brochures. Ebay, Craigslist and auctions are Thraen’s main ways to find more treasures for his collection. He has become an expert bargainer. The brochures date back to the 1950s and 1960s, and show how the technology was developing at the time. Copies of Farming Today magazine dating back to 1941 help explain why the tractors Thraen uses are desirable. Thraen has learned about the new-for-its-time
mechanical workings of his machines, since he does the needed mechanical work himself. He reads the manuals and watches YouTube videos to figure out maintenance, rather than spending the money to hire someone. Thraen can rattle off facts about the history of Ford tractors, including how wartime affected production and how American agriculture has changed as a result. For example, in previous decades, corn was planted farther apart than it is now. Thraen has to take this into
consideration while harvesting his crop. “(The equipment) is old, plus there’s a lot more crop to process,” he said. This means he has to drive slower so the machine can gather everything. Thraen doesn’t mind the slower pace. “Sometimes, you’ve got to go slow,” he said. “Otherwise, is farming really farming? You’ve got to enjoy it.” Antique tractors are not the only thing keeping him busy.
LEGACY: Page C7
C2 • The Globe • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Contact Travis at 507-360-2782
• Wednesday, September 11, 2019 • C3
Rallying on the home front Neighbors, church community prepare to lend hands this fall for farmer deployed overseas By Alyssa Sobotka email@example.com FULDA — Harvest will be a lot different this year for the Jesse and Tara Nantkes family. As the season of gathering in the grain looms, the rural Fulda family is gearing up for a little help in getting the corn and soybean crops out of the fields. Circumstances have the family planning how to get it accomplished without the farm’s main man, Jesse. A member of the United States Air Force Reserves, Jesse has
answered the call of duty and is now stationed in the Middle East until early next year. That leaves Tara, along with Jesse’s parents, Grayson and Myra, to step in to do more work around the farm and home. “I learned how to combine last year in preparation for this,” said Tara, whose first experience on big farm equipment was last fall. At the time, they already knew of Jesse’s six-month deployment.
RALLYING: Page C11
Special to The Globe
The Nantkes family, Jesse (back), Tara and Anders, are captured in this photo in the combine.
C4 • The Globe • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Will my corn make it to maturity before a killing frost? LIZABETH
STAHL U of M Extension
also potential for more ear molds, ear drop, stalk rots and/or stalk lodging. The Midwest Regional Climate Center website, which hosts the “Useful to Useable” Growing Degree Day Decision tool at https:// mrcc.illinois.edu/U2U/ gdd/, uses long-term weather data to make trend projections in crop development. I ran the tool on Aug. 29 to predict when we might reach physiological maturity (black layer or maximum dry matter accumulation) this fall under various scenarios, using a location in Martin County. You can run the tool for your own location, as results will vary by location depending on the weather data used for
that location. At the selected location, the tool calculated the average first freeze date to be Oct. 13, although dates ranged from Sept. 23 (in 1983) to Nov. 10 (in 2005). 28° F was used as the killing freeze temperature for corn. I ran six different combinations of hybrid maturity and planting dates through the tool. The relative maturity, planting date, and estimated black layer date (Est BL) as predicted by the tool are listed below: C1) Planted 103 RM hybrid May 15, Est BL = Oct. 20* C2) Planted 103 RM hybrid May 25, Est BL = > Dec. 1* C3) Planted 95 RM hybrid May 25, Est BL = Oct. 3 C4) Planted 95 RM hybrid June 1, Est BL = Oct. 14* C5) Planted 90 RM hybrid June 1, Est BL = Sept. 29 C6) Planted 90 RM hybrid June 5, Est BL = Oct. 6
Helping you maximize growth potential on your farm
WORTHINGTON — As of Aug. 28, the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca reports growing degree units (GDUs) since May 1 are 5% less than normal. The Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton reports GDUs are behind as well, running 5.8% behind the long-term average as of Aug. 26. Corn has generally been at least one crop stage behind where we would expect it to be, and cooler-than-normal conditions combined with late planting dates continue to make us question if crops will reach maturity before a killing frost. Grain corn killed by frost before reaching physiological maturity can not only result in lower yields, but grain that is lower in test weight and higher in moisture. Kernel quality can be reduced, and harvestability may be a challenge. There is
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*Corn will likely reach black layer prematurely due to a killing frost
Will my corn dry down in the field this year?
At physiological maturity or black layer (when it occurs naturally), moisture content of corn grain is expected to be around 28% to 35%. For safe storage up to six months, clean, aerated corn grain should be no more than 15% moisture, and no more than 13% moisture for
storage longer than six months. Allowing corn to dry in the field after reaching maturity is a common practice to help save on drying costs. Daily moisture loss for corn grain drying in the field in Minnesota can range from 0.75 to 1% from Sept. 15 to 25; 0.5% to 0.75% from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5; 0.25 to 0.5% from Oct. 6 to Oct. 15; and 0 to 0.33% from Oct. 16 to 31. After Oct. 31, very little dry down is expected to occur. These scenarios reflect a snapshot in
time, and what actually happens this fall remains to be seen since it all depends on the weather for the rest of the growing season. When you were able to plant corn and what maturity was planted will be key factors in whether or not the crop reaches maturity before a killing frost. One message is clear: we should be prepared to handle wet corn this fall, as we will likely have less natural drydown of grain in the field than we normally expect.
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• Wednesday, September 11, 2019 • C5
Kruse-Klaassen families reach 100 years of farm ownership By Julie Buntjer firstname.lastname@example.org SIBLEY, Iowa — When Travis Klaassen was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in early 2014, his dream was to return to the family farm and see it reach 100 years of continuous family ownership. He missed that goal by a year. In August, Klaassen’s wife, Joanne, and several family members traveled to the Iowa State Fair to accept the plaque signifying a new Century Farm in Osceola County. Klaassen, who died Aug. 4, 2018, would have been so proud. “He was always living the
dream if you asked him how he was doing,” Joanne said. She and Travis moved to his family’s farm four years ago. It was just five miles south of where the couple had been living and raising 900 head of cattle and 3,400 head of hogs. “Travis always wanted the home place,” she said. “At least he got to live here for a while.” They sold their livestock, followed by the acreage, and moved to the southwest quarter of Section 32, Viola Township, to become the fifth family to own the farm settled by Travis’ great-great-grandfather, Tenges Kruse, on March 3,
1919. Tenges bought 157.71 acres at a cost of $200 per acre a century ago. According to the land deed, he transferred ownership to his wife, Nannie, on Jan. 11, 1937 for “one dollar and love and affection.” Eventually, the farm went to their son, Harm “Harvey,” and wife Cora Kruse before it was sold to Harm’s sister, Elma and her husband, Fred Klaassen, in November 1955. Later, Elma would sell the farm to their son, Robert, and his wife, Melvina. “My dad died when he was 51,” said Robert, who was just 18 years old at the time. “I worked for my mother for
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how it changed everything. Before electricity, oil lamps brightened the house and lanterns were carried to the barn for chores. An old gas engine was used to pump water. Indoor plumbing wasn’t installed until after Robert and Melvina, married in 1960, had been living in the farm house for a few years. “I put the water system in,” Robert shared. “We was milking and dug the trench. Then it rained and, oh, what a mess that was.”A pantry on the home’s main floor was converted to a bathroom, ending the days of using the outside biffy.
OWNERSHIP: Page C8
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a year, and then I took over part of (the farm). I worked for a few years, and then I bought part of it from my mother.” Robert purchased 46 acres to include the homestead, and the rest of the farmland was sold. Though thrust into farming at a young age, Robert said it was all he ever wanted to do. “I lived here all my life,” Robert said, noting the exception of the last two years, following his move into Little Rock, Iowa. “I was born in this house.” Born in 1940, Robert recalls the day electricity arrived at their farm in the 1950s and
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C6 • The Globe • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
BQA, BQAT certification is part of doing business
ORANGE CITY, Iowa — Consumers have made it clear they want to know how the beef they eat is raised. And, retailers and packers heard them. It was no surprise that when Wendy’s announced it would only buy beef that was Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified, major packers told feedlot producers they would only purchase cattle from feedlots with BQA certification. So, what is Beef Quality Assurance? It is a national program
designed to educate cattle producers about best management practices in cattle production. These practices feature nutrition, animal handling, biosecurity, animal health and carcass quality. The objective is to provide the consumer with a safe, nutritious and high quality product with attention to animal and environmental stewardship. Is the industry listening? Yes. Reports indicate that cattle produced without BQA certification are discounted $5 to $10 per hundred-
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weight in the marketplace. On a 1,400-pound animal, this discount can amount to $44 to $88 per animal. To avoid a discount, producers without their BQA certification are urged to either attend a workshop or go online at bqa.org to complete the curriculum. Other than time, there is no cost to obtain the BQA certification.
The latest news is Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT). Several major packers have announced that as of Jan. 1, 2020 they will not accept cattle from any transporters not having BQAT certification. Transporters will include farmer feeders and commercial truckers that haul cattle directly to a packing plant. Why is BQAT being required? The program has several objectives: 1) to provide for transporter safety
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2) to deliver cattle in a timely manner, and 3) to provide the most comfortable transportation for the animals. If you plan to haul cattle to a packing plant, you will need to either attend a workshop or go online at bqa.org to complete the BQAT curriculum. An early winter workshop is being planned in the four-state area. Stay tuned for details as they become available. If you have questions about BQA or BQAT, please contact me at (712) 737-4230 or email email@example.com. 001630979r1
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• Wednesday, September 11, 2019 • C7
LEGACY From Page C1
He also milks cows for his uncle and helps his dad on the family farm. He, along with brother Evan, is an FFA officer in the Murray County Central chapter. “I don’t really do sports,” he said. “I’d rather work.” Right now, Thraen does farm work after school and on weekends. He takes an occasional day off of school if there’s a lot to do. Although he still has two more years of high school, Thraen already has a plan for his future. Eventually he’d like to farm full-time, but he has experienced firsthand how difficult it is for farmers to survive on just their crops. Just in case he needs a side job, he plans to get two-year vocational training after high school. He will study something ag-related, since that’s Thraen stands next to his Dearborn combine from around 1950, which he uses to farm. what he loves.
Leah Ward / The Globe
HEADS UP POWER LINES ARE HOT!
Coming in contact with overhead power lines can be deadly. Today’s farm machinery is bigger and taller, making the danger of working around electric lines greater than ever. Fall can be the most dangerous time of all.
Make sure all family members understand these rules: •Utility lines are uninsulated. Don’t let your body become a direct link to the ground or the result could be fatal. •Know the clearance height of all farm equipment. To be safe, keep all objects at least 10 feet away from overhead lines. •NEVER attempt to raise or move a power line. If you’re operating equipment that touches a line, stay where you are and have someone call the utility. •If you must leave the equipment, jump as far as you can so that no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time. 22636 US Hwy. 59 - P.O. Box 788 Worthington, MN 56187-0788 Telephone: 800-776-0517 Website: noblesce.coop • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer
C8 • The Globe • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
OWNERSHIP From Page C5
Chore time was a big part of growing up on the farm, and Robert and his siblings — two older brothers and one older sister, twin younger brothers and another younger sister — kept busy with stock cows, pigs and chickens. When his dad died, Robert and his twin brothers, then 16, took care of the livestock. “When my mother had sale, then I went to stock cows,” Robert said. “There were a couple years we had Holsteins.” The Holsteins were Melvina’s idea, and she had planned to do the milking. When the babies arrived — four in a span of three years, including a set of twins — Robert said the Holsteins were sold off because he wasn’t going to milk. Robert and Melvina actually lived in a tenant house on the farm when they were married, and remained in the house until about 1965, when Elma suggested they switch houses. She didn’t need all of the space of the farm house — though she had just completed a renovation — and Robert and Melvina didn’t have enough space for their family of six in the tenant house. “Not too many years later she moved to town,” Robert said of his mom.
Feeder cattle and pigs were raised on the farm when Robert and Melvina lived there, and Robert purchased additional land in the neighborhood to grow corn and soybeans. Though Robert no longer lives on the farm, he’s still very much a part of the operation. He grows corn and soybeans on the home farm, as well as an adjacent quarter. “I like what I’m doing,” he said. In 2007, Robert built a pair of finishing barns to house 2,400 head of hogs, which Travis and Joanne managed. Travis and Joanne’s son, Clint, now takes care of the hogs, in addition to crop farming and hauling livestock and grain for farmers throughout the region in the family business, T&J Custom, Inc. The trucking business was started by Travis in 2004, and in 2016, he and Joanne constructed a new shop on the farm for the trucks. Clint and his wife, Jamie, are the current residents on the Kruse-Klaassen century farm. They moved into the farmhouse in July 2018, and are now raising their two children, Haley, 22 months, and Colt, two months, there. Joanne moved into Sibley in October 2018. Though Clint didn’t live on the century farm during his childhood, he has many fond memories of spending time
Julie Buntjer / The Globe
Four generations of the Klaassen family are shown with their century farm plaque in front of the house on the rural Osceola County farm. Clint (second from left) is shown with daughter Haley, Joanne Klaassen is holding grandson Colt, and Robert Klaassen is at right. there with his grandparents, Robert and Melvina. It was a family tradition that all of the grandchildren would come together to spend a week at the farm to coincide with Vacation Bible School. Clint said six grandsons would share one upstairs bedroom, and four granddaughters would share the other. “That week, all of the cousins were here and it was more fun,” he said. There was always something to do during a visit to grandma and grandpa’s farm, and Clint said he’d help with cattle chores and tinker around in grandpa’s work
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in the family,” added Joanne. In addition to Clint, Travis and Joanne each had children from previous marriages. They include Jason Klaassen, Tracy Henning, Terri Sneller, Teresa Bullerman, Heidi Garms and Crystal Daniels. “It’s pretty good if you can hold it together,” Robert said. “That’s one thing Travis thought was really cool — as long as they’d have the farm in the family,” added Joanne. In addition to Clint, Travis and Joanne each had children from previous marriages. They include Jason Klaassen, Tracy Henning, Terri Sneller, Teresa Bullerman, Heidi Garms and Crystal Daniels.
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shed, where they would find all sorts of iron to build stuff with. “We built forts out in the grove with cement blocks and fence posts,” Clint recalled. “If you could think of it, we were probably doing it. “And then Grandpa got a four-wheeler and he could never keep gas in it,” he added. Clint said he hopes to keep the century farm in the family, and Robert would like to see that happen as well. “It’s pretty good if you can hold it together,” Robert said. “That’s one thing Travis thought was really cool — as long as they’d have the farm
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• Wednesday, September 11, 2019 • C9
Farm economy has region’s farmers back floating WORTHINGTON — I ran into someone in the farm store parking lot a month ago. We are friends, but had not seen each other in a long time because we don’t associate in the same circles since our kids graduated from school. He looked at the other gentleman in our conversation and said, “Here is the guy that writes stories about how tough times are for farmers and how much money we keep losing.” I apologized by saying, “I don’t want to write that story, but we are in year six of tough times and the general public needs to know the facts.” If you read the Aug. 14 edition of The Globe, you realize it was too wet around here for some people to plant their crops. They could not get into the field and plant their crops in time to produce a normal crop in normal growing conditions. These are called prevent plant acres, and this year they are scattered across the entire United States. A record number of acres accumulating to 15.5 million acres for corn and soybeans were not planted. Locally, The Globe reported that 223,918 acres were not planted in our immediate six county area. In case you don’t know how big an acre is, it is 43,560 square feet. The acres not planted in our six-county area would equal 349 sections, or a piece of ground nearly 19 miles wide by 19 miles long. A producer does get paid a prevent plant payment from their crop insurance policy
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based off his previous yield and the insurance coverage level they purchased. Most prevent plant payments would cover the average cash rent, cost to plant the required cover crop, chemical and maybe just enough to complete fall tillage. For our local downtown economy, the true consequences of these prevent plant acres are just starting to unfold. Local businesses sold far less seed, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel and parts. The producers who prevent planted have limited funds to spend on anything until October 2020. Simple math says a normal corn crop at $4 per bushel yields about $750 per acre for the farmer to spend on expenses and pay for family living. Prevent plant payments were around $325 per acre for average coverages in our area. If you take the difference between the two, that is $425 per acre that our local producers will not spend downtown. That figure averages out to $15,860,858 per county that will not be spent in town from now until October 2020. Non-profit organizations will be hard pressed to operate as normal because donations will decline. Retailers will see a decline in normal sales. Only
essential items will be purchased. There is no way to avoid this in our area for the next 15 months. You can’t spend money you don’t have. Lenders have tightened their belts and slowed their advances as well because they cannot lend money to a producer who cannot repay their increasing loans. The only solution for producers to survive is simply to tighten their belts and not spend. The biggest issue for our local producers is not just having less commodities to sell because of prevent plant acres, but also that commodity prices have not improved since last year. In fact, many commodity market prices at the end of August were actually less than a year ago due to the tariffs on China and reduced exports. So, we not only have a short crop coming locally on what is planted because of our late start and heavy rains, but we also have to add reduced prices as well. No one understands how this can be when you have record prevent plant acres and some of the lowest prices in December corn in the past year. Now I am writing this in late August, but a hint of early frost or a trade agreement would definitely help to improve commodity prices. Neither is predicted or expected to occur at this point in time. I read an article recently that used the word capsized as part of its general theme to the agricultural atmosphere. The
article basically said everything in agriculture was on one side of the boat and the economy was soon to capsize from the waves of China tariffs, lower prices and increased inventories due to limited trades. That article reminded me of the swim lessons I took as a kid, attempting to earn my lifesaver title. When you take swimming lessons to be a certified lifesaver, they talk about boats capsizing and people panic swimming. The first thing they taught me in swimming lessons at the Heron Lake pool was to perfect the survival back float. It takes limited energy and keeps you from drowning. I remember the instructor saying that anyone can learn this quickly. She would teach us this by just having us look up in the sky and remain calm as we float. She then took each of us away from the edge of the pool and showed us how to stick our chest out of the water, let our legs just float and relax our body, breathe deeply and stare at the ceiling as she gently floated each of us in the pool to a survival float position. It seemed like hours as we each practiced this new tactic to survive in the water with limited energy. You see, she had required that all of us wear blue jeans and T-shirts to practice this back float. It taught all of us the struggle we would have from the extra weight of wet clothes, and how hard it would be for someone to float with wet clothes on in the water
after capsizing. Finally, the whistle blew and she let all of us return to the edge of the pool to catch our breath. Her final words on that lesson remain clear in my head yet today. “Panicking often leads to bad decisions or drowning,” she said. Farmers have been survival backfloating for six years now. When you have wet clothes on in the water, it makes your legs heavy and back floating hard. Farmers have been experiencing the extra weights of smaller yields, lower prices and limited demand for their ag products. It is starting to create some panic in our communities. The unfortunate and sad truth is our local economies have been struggling as well due to continued limited farm incomes. Now, southwest Minnesota communities are starting to do the survival backfloat as well because $15,860,858 will not be spent in each county at local businesses through October 2020. I am supportive and thankful our local producers have developed outstanding endurance skills. We need them for our towns to survive. We need them to re-establish a healthy community and maintain a safe and abundant food source. One thing about farming is circumstances are seldom the same and changes do happen. Let’s all hope the whistle blows soon, and we can stop backfloating and let positive changes begin.
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C10 • The Globe • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Beyond the economics of prevent plant cover crops
WORTHINGTON — The wet, cool spring of 2019 left many farmers cramming to get their crops planted. Many were unable to get all the crop planted on time and continued planting even after final planting dates, lowering their level of insurance coverage. Many fields were not planted at all, and many acres applied to prevented planting acres. Some reports show close to 20 million acres in the United States were prevented planted acres, with 11 million prevented plant acres for corn and 4.5 million prevented plant acres for soybeans. This created a problem never experienced by many farmers — what to do with these
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idle acres. Some used tillage to control weeds, some used tillage and chemicals to control weeds, some just used chemical control and many others planted cover crops. All of these weed control systems have costs associated with them. The majority of farmers carry crop insurance that will provide income for these prevented planted acres. If a farmer had 75% coverage on 190 bushels APH, the insurance payment would be $313.50 per acre. At 80%, it would be $334.40, and at 85%,
it would be $355.30 acre. If a farmer had applied fertilizer at $120, rent at $186 and weed control at $40 per acre, this totals $346, which mean a loss at 75% and 80% coverage levels, but a small profit at 85% insurance coverage. If a farmer had not applied fertilizer yet, all three scenarios would generate a profit. For soybeans, 75% coverage at 52 bushels APH, the insurance payment would be $223.24. At 80%, it would be $238.12, and at 85% it would be $253. With rent at $186 and weed control at $40 per acre, the total cost adds up to $226, and all three insurance levels would
be close to covering costs. Farmers could also chose to plant cover crops. With tillage, seed cost and weed control, costs would total $261 for cover crop acres, which generate a loss at all levels. USDA provided a $15 payment for prevented planted acres with a cover crop planted by Aug. 1, which would make the 85% cover level slightly profitable. There are other longterm benefits to planting cover crops beyond the dollars and cents. 1. Cover crops can improve organic matter in soil profile. They add organic matter to soil, which can enhance long-term productivity. 2. Cover crops can help with weed con-
trol. They help prevent contributions to weed seed bank, benefiting long-term weed management. 3. Cover crops can improve soil productivity. They help prevent fallow syndrome, which can improve yields the following year if left unmanaged. It expands the crop rotation for one year. 4. Cover crops help control or reduce soil erosion. 5. Cover crops are allowed to be harvested as forages after Sept. 1, which is helpful to a livestock producer’s bottom line. These are just some of the benefits of cover crops, although it may be hard to calculate the economic value of them.
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It isn’t just the farming that Tara will be juggling. She has their 2-year-old son, Anders, at home, and is pregnant with their second child. She will be in her second trimester of pregnancy during harvest. She’s due in late February, and Jesse will be home by then. So, as summer fades to fall, the troops are rallying together for the Nantkes to help fill the void while Jesse, a 16-year Air Force member, serves his country. The Nantkes’ neighbors and church family alike are uniting in an effort to let Tara and the family know they don’t have to go it alone. “Our church is a really close family,” said Tara of the congregation at Worthington’s Grace Community Church, where the couple are members and have attended even before getting married four years ago. Grace Community Church members Mark and Janet Isder of Fulda are leading the charge to coordinate a group of about six to eight families who have volunteered to help with farming operations — or provide meals and child care — while Tara is in the field this fall. “We’ve been trying to put
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a list of people together that can step into the gap that naturally occurs when someone leaves home,” Mark Isder said. “Life goes on. We want to make sure there’s people lined up to step in and fill gaps, whether that be with farming or family.” From hauling wagon loads of grain to their destination to drying corn and performing regular equipment maintenance, Isder and other current or retired farmers will see that Jesse’s dad, Grayson, and Tara get help during one of a farmer’s busiest times of year. Dean VanOort, a retired Fulda farmer, knows the Nantkes from Grace Community Church, and also attends weekly small group fellowships with Jesse. “It’s quite a group of people that want to help them out,” VanOort said. Isder said there’s people willing to help beyond harvest with family or other needs. The couple finds comfort in knowing there are people willing to help. “We have such a good church community,” Tara said, adding that frequent visitors from friends, family and her church have made this time feel less lonely. “I know that if we’re struggling, someone will come help.” This time has also brought her closer to God, she said.
“Through this time of Jesse being gone I’ve learned to trust God more and I know He’s going to get us through this,” Tara said of Jesse’s second deployment — but his first since the couple has known each other. Jesse’s deployment has also required an adjustment for his father. A farmer of more than four decades, Grayson had handed over much of the 900-acre farming responsibility to Jesse. “I’m proud of the fact that Jesse can be doing this Air Force work, but it does make things a little difficult here at times — changing the routine,” Grayson said. Grayson said his son preparing Tara last year to harvest this fall has been a relief. “Tara took over (combining) and is doing a really good job,” he said about his daughter-in-law. Although the learning experience could be frustrating at times, as a U.S. Army veteran herself, Tara understands the responsibility to serve and adapt as necessary. The couple worked through it together so that Tara feels confident and ready for fall. Tara smiles when she thinks about how her life has changed in ways she couldn’t have imagined. For starters, the self-proclaimed “suburban girl” never thought she’d marry a farmer, let alone
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Jesse and his 2-year-old son, Anders, enjoy farm life together, especially during fall harvest. become one herself.
Despite the thousands of
The couple, strong in their
miles between the couple,
faith, met through Chris-
Jesse and Tara make time to
tian Mingle, a faith-focused
video chat daily.
online dating service. Tara recalls feeling like she knew Jesse well before their official first date in the Cities, where they hit it off. “I told my friend when I got back after the first date that I was going to marry him,” Tara said. Sure
that same connection, and got down on one knee eight months later.
For Jesse, it’s tough to be away during the time of year that he genuinely enjoys. As
someone who isn’t traditionally quick to accept help, he’s also grateful.
“It’s always good to know
there’s people out there willing to help you when you need help,” he said. “It’s a blessing.” Isder said anyone wanting
The couple’s fourth anni-
to learn how to help the fam-
versary was Aug. 29. Their
ily can leave a message for
son, Anders, also just turned
him with Grace Community
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