Harvest Helpers

Posted: November 15, 2021

Farmers have done it again. Local farmers dropped what they were doing to help a fellow farmer in need during harvest.

Mark Hawkins, a Kingston farmer, organized the harvest effort for his farm friend, Mike Hagemann, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. The farm crew harvested 450 acres of soybeans in a day and a half in fields along Church, Lanan and Glidden roads south of Kingston.

“It was quite difficult to accept help, but humbling to know there are such good people,” said Hagemann. “Some of the farmers that showed up I had never met,” he thankfully acknowledged.

Normally, the 48-year-old Monroe Center farmer would be harvesting alongside his father, Larry, and employees. But not this year.

Hagemann knew that his ill-health would prohibit him from the usual long hours of harvest. He was told by doctors in August that he would need at least three months to recover from a planned surgery. So he met with family and some friends. His farm friends helped strategize harvest as they perused field maps of the soybean and corn fields which Hagemann farms spanning multiple counties.

Hawkins, a cancer survivor himself, inspired Hagemann to “get healthy” and uttered, “we’ll get the crops out.” Hawkins contacted local farmers who didn’t hesitate to help with harvest.

The soybean harvest in Kingston fields involved 5 combines, 4 grain carts, and 5 semi-trucks operated by farmers, while family and other volunteers helped feed the crew.

“This has been the most humbling experience of my life,” said Hagemann. “I want to be on the giving end, not on the receiving end.” Lord willing, he will be giving back for the next crop year.

Several combines and grain carts were running in fields to help fellow farmer Mike Hagemann with soybean harvest. Shown operating them are (from left) Ben Drake, Jeff Halat, Dustin Fowler, Matt Baenziger and Joey Hawkins. Photos courtesy of Mandy Baenziger.