This summer’s drought has left many North Dakotans high and dry. Farm Rescue has stepped in to help those struggling the most.
Lee Henke, a farmer in New Salem, is just one of the many hurting from the drought.
He said, “The drought has left us drastically short of hay and everything else, I mean, crops aren’t doing very good either.”
On top that, Lee had another set back. He was injured by a sickle mower and just got out of the hospital over a week ago. It broke 6 of his ribs.
“Just doing every day things, you can’t do them,” he added.
So, that’s where Farm Rescue stepped in. Lee’s wife applied for donated hay – and they got it.
Came in here to New Salem to help this fella out that’s a little short on grass,” said Keith Barkema, the Farmer’s Rescue driver.
Normally, ranchers are in charge of purchasing their own hay, and Farm Rescue will transport it for free. But Lee’s case is special – so they’re doing everything for free.
“Kinda overwhelming,” Lee said.
His neighbors have also stepped in to help since the accident. One came by to help unload the 34 bails of hay.
Henke said, “It’ll help me out a little bit financially and just the comfort that I’ll have some hay here just in case we get an early storm or something.”
Putting things in perspective, to buy and truck these 34 bails of hay would cost Lee over $5,000 and it will last him 3-5 weeks.
“It’s pretty rewarding to be coming out here to help these guys, you know,” said Barkema.
Farm Rescue’s “Operation Hay Lift” is hoping to help out at least 90 families who have applied. Lee and his family were one of the first.
Lee said, “I’m glad they’re around. I hope some day I can return the favor.”
Farm Rescue is a nonprofit that has been around since 2006. They have helped over 400 families in 6 different states.