Our hearts and our prayers go out to all the folks living and working along the East Coast and eastern Corn Belt regions this week. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the storms, blizzards and raging winds that spread out over the eastern third of the country, the thing that amazes me most is how well folks pull together and work together, pitching in to overcome the obstacles of these huge natural disasters.
We saw it firsthand this summer in Nebraska, as farmers, ranchers and volunteers pitched in to save the homes of their neighbors when wildfires scorched tens of thousands of acres of grazing land. We saw it as neighbors helped their neighbors by donating hay and fencing supplies after the fires. In the drought too, we’ve seen cooperation between farmers to help families make it through difficult times. We pool our resources. We stand up and with each other.
That has typically been a “farmer thing.” How many times have you seen friends, family and neighbors pull together to harvest the crops of a neighbor who passed away suddenly or was injured and couldn’t do it himself? When tragedy strikes in a small town, it is amazing how many people mobilize to help out the families who need it the most. It was the way many rural folks were raised, and it is a signature value of many folks who consider themselves quite independent and self-reliant.
In the end, we all need each other at one time or another. We need a little kindness and compassion. And we try to reciprocate that when we see others in need. So, as we watch folks helping each other through the terrible days after the recent tragedies, we know that they are simply carrying out that “farmer thing” in their own daily lives.
Feel free to share with us here times when you’ve been on the receiving end of neighborly kindness in your neck of the woods.
Be sure to watch www.nebraskafarmer.com and read our October print issue of Nebraska Farmer for news, information and tips on meeting the challenges of drought. Your best online resource for drought information is the Farm Progress drought site at www.DatelineDrought.com.