Generosity and Gratitude
If you have been a farmer for any measurable amount of time, I’m sure you have witnessed some sort of crop damage. Drought, excessive rain, wind and hail are some of the common offenders.
Last year we had the pleasure of experiencing some wind damage late in the growing season on our crops. It was no joy ride. After the wind storm went through, I was out driving around to the fields checking on them. After flying our drone over top of a particularly damaged corn field and seeing all the downed corn, it felt like I got punched in the gut. As I drove south towards some heavier damaged fields that were not ours, the feeling got worse.
There was no doubt that our fields were damaged, but these fields were completely flat. I had to pull over next to one of these fields and just breathe. It must have been the dust from the gravel road, but my eyes got cloudy pretty fast. The effort we all put in to grow a crop and provide food, fiber and fuels to the world is incredible. To see all of that hard work and planning destroyed overnight was very emotional. I made a video about the damage and posted it to my YouTube account, Scott Family Farms. The amount of messages and check-ins I got from people was amazing. A friend even sent me $10 to “buy me a beer”.
This spring and summer have been crazy on the weather front already. I don’t think I have ever seen my old farmhouse’s unfinished basement this many times in one year. Tornadoes and 100+ MPH winds have caused massive damage across the state already. I have done some traveling around the state and have witnessed this damage as well. This is not crop damage however. Bins, machine sheds, animal housing and homes all have been destroyed. As farmers, we all have crop insurance. We never want to use it but are glad to have it when we need it. With the current construction costs and supply chain issues, I’m afraid that many of the damaged farms are grossly underinsured. There is no way to get bins built before harvest, even IF you could get the steel for them. The damage I witnessed this spring is much more emotional than crop damage. Nobody ever expects to have to rebuild your shop, bins, hog buildings or homes.
The response I personally received from that video about our crop damage somehow made the damage feel like it was less of a burden. The support from others while going through something emotional like that was very uplifting. This is why I believe that it is important to look out for your friends and neighbors when things like this happen. Show up to help clean up, move cattle, or just bring a meal. I have found that the more generous you are with your time, the more time you find to take care of your own farm. If any of that is not in your schedule as I know we are all busy, even just a phone call or text to say, ‘I’m thinking about you. Are you ok?’ will go a long way. I am very grateful for the amazing farming community we have in this state and for the support we have received during times of struggle. Reach out, go help or just Venmo that neighbor $10 so they can go “grab a beer” or soda.
South Dakota Soybean Association President