SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Harvest season is just beginning for many soybean farmers across KELOLAND, but even in this busy season, many farmers in the Worthington community are taking time to help a neighbor…something they’ve all been doing the past six months. 

“This is our home farm, I am actually considered the fourth generation that grew up on the family farm,” Stephanie Vande Kamp said. 

And thanks to her Dad, Bruce Lubben, the fifth generation also got to experience life on the farm with grandpa.

“He loved it, loved everything about it, farming was definitely his life,” Vande Kamp said.

Like many farmers, Lubben started every day with chores, but this past Easter Sunday, he went out to feed the calves before church, and never made it back home.

“He had a heart attack doing chores, doing what he loved,” Vande Kamp said. “He was only 56 years old.”

“The unexpectedness was probably the worst. Nobody expects that phone call,” Wade Anderson, Lubben’s longtime friend and regional manager at Wyffels Hybrids said. 

A sudden death was devastating enough on its own, but the timing was also incredibly difficult for the family farm.

“How are we going to get a crop in? Just the logistics of farming alone is difficult, but when the kingpin disappears and nobody has any idea what’s happening,” Anderson said.

“It was a hard, it was really hard,” Vande Kamp said. “Our sheds were full of seed that had to be delivered yet.”

Lubben was not only getting ready to plant his own fields, but he was also a long-time seed dealer in the Worthington community with nearly five thousand bags of seed ready to be delivered to customers.

“All of the neighboring dealers are also friends in this neighborhood,” Anderson said. “They all showed up on a Tuesday with their trailers and delivered all the seed.”

Then a few weeks later, more neighbors started showing up to work Lubben’s fields.

“There were three different operations that pulled in to plant his crop this spring,” Anderson said. 

“They did everything to help us with the spring planting, all of the spraying, literally everything from start to now finish,” Vande Kamp said. 

“There’s a part in the Bible that says love your neighbor, that’s what this is about,” Lubben’s friend and neighbor Rod Bosma said. 

This week his friends and neighbors started harvesting Lubben’s soybeans.

“We’re going to get this field knocked out today, and another small field down to the south, Anderson said.
There’s been no shortage of people stepping up to help as neighbors see work underway and just show up with another combine or grain cart to help out.

“We’ve been inundated with phone calls of people who want to help,” Anderson said. “Everybody wants to do something.”

“A friend of mine planted this, the fields have all been worked, other guys have planted other fields for the family, there’s going to be more people coming in for harvest and obviously we’ve had a ton of trucks here today,” Bosma said. 

An entire community of farmers…

“I can’t even count them all,” Vande Kamp said. 

“Probably 20 to 30 people at different times for different things this season,” Anderson said. 

…all coming together to help one of their own.

“He’s been part of the farming community forever, he was such a part of everything that happened in this area,” Anderson said.

It’s why they all know if the roles had been reversed, ‘Spanky’ Bruce Lubben would be doing exactly the same for all of them.

“My dad would give the shirt off of his back to help them do anything and everything. So we are very fortunate and very appreciative and thankful. Praise the Lord for good friends and family who have helped us through all of this,” Vande Kamp said. 

And while all those farmers still have their own fields to bring in, they’re all making Lubben’s family farm a priority this year and are already planning ahead to cover the rest of this year’s harvest.