Iowa Farming Community Harvesting Crops for Late 39-Year-Old Who Died in September

by Taylor Cunningham

Last month, an Iowa farming community tragically lost a friend in a horrific accident. And the late farmer’s family was left with a massive fall harvest to plow with no help. So in a show of strength and solidarity, their neighbors came together to help.

In Mid-September, 39-year-old Cole Vanatta died in a tree-trimming accident on his family’s farm in Tabor, Iowa. He left behind a wife and three children.

The grief is still fresh for the Vanatta family. And with harvest season upon them, they were struggling to find a way to plow the fields, which hold the family’s livelihood. So 50 farmers from surrounding towns band together to help.

“We’re going to bin a little bit of the corn, bin some beans,” organizer Clint Blackburn told KETV7.
“We’ve got a lot of moving parts coming today.”

Cole’s wife, Shannon, said that she was left with over 1000 acres of harvest to tend, and she didn’t know what to do. But she had to find a way to cash in the crops. So the area volunteers were an absolute blessing.

“They kind of just pick up, where I don’t know where to go with it, and they just said ‘I got this,'” Vanatta said. “And they took over and it’s been great.”

This weekend, the helpers brought four-grain baggers, 15 combine harvesters, and roughly 25 auger wagons, to Vanatta’s 150-year-old farm. Over the course of a few days, the farmers worked to harvest the crops for Cole, who was their dear friend.

“Cole was a good man,” Blackburn shared. “Cole was someone who gave the shirt off his back to anyone.”

And Shannon, touched by the compassion, said she doesn’t know how to properly thank the farmers for helping her mourning family. But she’ll never forget the gesture.

“I’ll never be able to repay people for what they’re doing today,” she added. “But I’ll try,” Vanatta said.

Just Like This Iowa Farming Community, You Can Show Your Appreciation for Farmers Too

October 12th was National Farmer’s Day, and it was a good reminder that we can always help the people who bring food to our tables.

America’s farmers work hard and often thankless jobs. And that shouldn’t be the case. But there are many ways to help your local farmers

For example, when you need meat or produce, you can skip the grocery store and head to your area farmers’ markets instead. When farmers can sell directly to consumers, they cut out the hefty price of middlemen. Buying at markets also cuts down on pollution from shipping and your food is fresh and more nutrient-dense.

To learn more about farming communities and how you can help year-round, click here.