Farm Rescue combines it forward

BURLEIGH COUNTY, N.D. - Cold weather, snow and a double bypass didn't stop a Burleigh County farmer from bringing in his crop Thursday.

After having open heart surgery in October, John Rogstad is grateful for his brother's and Farm Rescue for opening their hearts to help him harvest his corn.

Conditions weren't ideal for harvesting corn, but volunteers braved the elements to help a fellow farmer in need.

"It gives me the opportunity to serve others, farm and serve god all together," said Levi Wielenga.

Wielenga has been with non-profit Farm Rescue since 2010. Starting as a volunteer, he worked his way up to operations manager and has helped with nearly 300 rescues.

Wielenga, three other volunteers and John Rogstad's brother all came together to cut 600 acres of corn in the cold.

After Rogstad's open heart surgery, he was scared he would not be able to harvest, but their labors of love will help him rest easy at night.

"I'm glad it'll be done. I don't have to worry. I can heal better," said Rogstad.

This rescue is one of several this fall season that has proven more difficult than others.

"In our 13 years, this has been the toughest fall we've ever had. I mean look at the snow we're in, look it's seven degrees outside, bitter cold," said Wielenga.

Wielenga says the machinery isn't made to work in the snow, mud and 20 degree temperatures, which means they deal with more repairs.

Since 2005, Farm Rescue has helped nearly 600 farmers like Rogstad in six states come rain or shine -- or in this case, flurries and freezing temperatures.

The Farm Rescue team has been on site for the last two days and hopes to finish the corn crop Thursday.