After going through a recent surgery, Terry Gossard thought he would have to hire someone to harvest his corn, but friends and neighbors had another idea.
Not knowing anything was wrong, Gossard had a slight heart attack about three weeks ago. He later underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and his doctor told him he couldn’t run a combine for 90 days.
Gossard didn’t know what he was going to do about the corn still in the ground on his farm spread out around the area of his home in rural Altamont. He figured he would have to pay someone to do the work.
Instead, Will Owens and Zach Townsend started contacting people to help out. It didn’t take long to get enough volunteers to handle Gossard’s harvest. Owens said he talked to a few farmers, and “the snowball effect kind of kicked in at that point.”
On Monday, 24 people with eight combines, 15 semitrailers and seven grain carts showed up at 10:30 a.m. to harvest 360 acres of corn.
“Everybody was done and out of the fields by 4,” Owens said.
Valuing Terry and Leslie Gossard as friends, Owens didn’t hesitate to organize the effort.
“Terry is just a family friend. He’s down to earth, him and Leslie, and they’re just great people in our community,” Owens said.
Owens is a sales associate for Farm Bureau Financial Services in Altamont. He also is a fifth-generation farmer for Owens Farms LLC, working with his parents, Jamie and Lynda Owens, and grandparents, Bill and Mona Owens. He said in the farming community, neighbors helping neighbors is just commonplace.
“The farming community is definitely a family,” Owens said.
The group already has plans to volunteer for the soybean harvest in late October or early November.
“We all have the agreement that Terry would have done it for us, and so we’re willing to drop what we’re doing and get it done for the bean harvest,” Owens said. “It’s next person up, and that’s why we’re neighbors.”
Gossard didn’t expect the help from his friends and neighbors, but he is very grateful and appreciative.
“It was amazing,” Gossard said.
Gossard knew he had good friends and neighbors but didn’t imagine a couple of dozen people stepping up for him to help out and harvest almost all of his corn in one day.
He and his wife prepared lunch for the workers, and Gossard was able to get out and visit with the different groups while they ate. Gossard said he is recovering well and should be able to get back to all of his farm duties before long.
“Hopefully, I’m going to be good to go,” he said.