Blessed by Farm Rescue
by Dee Goerge
Daryl and Marla De Groot know what a blessing it is to help others. For about three decades they have mentored teens who work for them on their dairy farm. Last year the De Groots gave Farm Rescue volunteers the opportunity to be blessed by helping them. The De Groots' Hull, Iowa, farm was the first Iowa farm the nonprofit organization helped plant crops since it added Iowa to its service area with a fall harvest project in 2012.
Farming from the Sidelines
Daryl was in a full leg cast when Farm Rescue volunteers planted 55 acres of soybeans and 250 acres of corn on May 13, 2013. Marla laughs that while he couldn’t do any farm work, Daryl didn’t want to miss all the action, so he made a few rounds sitting sidesaddle on a four-wheeler. In addition to Farm Rescue volunteers planting with a 24-row planter, the De Groots' neighbors and family prepped the fields.
This isn’t the first time neighbors have come to the De Groots' aid. In 1987, a cow fell on Daryl’s right knee and caused a serious injury. Surgery repaired the knee for several years, but in 2006 doctors replaced the knee. Unfortunately, it was crooked, but Daryl thought he could live with it for 10 years. By 2012 it was apparent he couldn’t, and he had a second knee replacement, which developed a serious staph infection. After cleaning it out and installing new parts, doctors thought they solved the problem. But a year later Daryl was plagued with a second bout of staph infection. Doctors at St. Mary’s in Rochester, Minnesota, used a different approach, and on March 10, 2013, they took out the knee and put in spacers. Daryl was put in a cast for 10 weeks to get rid of the infection and to prepare the area for a third knee replacement at the end of May.
“It was such a blessing to have Farm Rescue because there was such a short window for planting corn last spring, about three days,” says Daryl. “The neighbors had to plant their own crops, too. They did help for a half a day and got all the ground ready.”
“There were five tractors of our friends and neighbors' equipped with their disks and cultivators,” adds Marla. “They worked the land right ahead of Farm Rescue on that Monday morning.”
Farm Rescue volunteers planted for a day and a night before moving on to their next job in South Dakota. The De Groots showed their appreciation with lunch for all the volunteers, and other Farm Rescue sponsors provided supper and other meals.
Blessings Both Ways
Receiving help from Farm Rescue was both awesome and humbling, the couple says. They are more familiar with being on the giving end. “God brings kids to us,” explains Daryl. “We have them work for us, and we pay them for the work they do. And we send them on.”
“I would take them in. They would be part of the family, and we’d have lunch together,” says Marla. (The De Groots have three children of their own.)