Community Unites to Harvest 1,000 Acres of Land after Farmer’s Tragic Death
'They had well over 100 people show up'
More than 100 members of an Iowa farming community have banded together to harvest crops left behind by a local farmer who tragically died.
Cole Vanatta, who farmed 2000 acres of row crops just south of Tabor with his father and grandfather, suffered a farming injury and died last month.
Vanatta was just 36 years old and was survived by his wife and three children.
Cole’s brother-in-law, Daniel Morse, told the Epoch Times:
“He and his father, Tom, 62, and his grandfather Wayne, 93, all still worked together; it’s a family farm."
“They were just getting ready for harvest, they were prepping the land, they were prepping the equipment, and the accident happened.”
Daniel said they were trimming trees to clear a path for farm machinery when a tree snagged.
“Something that they take for granted, they do all the time, just went incredibly wrong that day,” he added.
Following the tragic accident, the farming community united to harvest the corn and soybean crops that he had tended.
“A local farmer—a neighbor and a friend of ours—put a simple post on Facebook and said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna get together, we’re gonna honor Cole one last time,'” said Daniel, who works as a Tabor city firefighter.
“They had well over 100 people show up.”
The group covered 1,000 acres in just two 10-to 12-hour workdays.
The community ran 20 combines to harvest corn and two or three for soybeans.
Cole’s grieving wife, Shannon, was overwhelmed by the gesture.
“They just said, ‘I got this,’ and took over. It’s been great,” the mom of three told WLWT 5. “I’ll never be able to repay people for what they’re doing today, but I’ll try.”
“Wives, businesses, the whole community showed up. We had food donated from local restaurants, coffee houses bringing coffee, people catering breakfast … multiple church groups,” Daniel told The Epoch Times.
“Even if they weren’t able to work in the field, they came in, they helped move stuff around, they dropped food off, they moved fuel barrels,” he marveled.
“We had one person, because it was cold in the morning, just run in and get new propane bottles so we could run heaters. Everybody helped in whatever way they could.”
Even Cole’s and Daniel’s children got involved.
Daniel said he hoped the experience would teach his own kids that there are “things bigger than yourself” in life.
“Their uncle passed away, and that’s sad, it’s horrible,” he reflected, “but at the same point, their community showed up to help, just to show what that person meant to them.”
According to his brother-in-law, Cole was a polite man who always kept his cool.
For Cole, his family meant everything.
“He spent his whole life working the land and trying to build something for his family,” said Daniel, “to keep a family legacy that he had going and pass that on to the next generation.”
Daniel said the farming community jumped to the aid of its members in times of need for years.
“A lot of times, it goes unrecognized,” he said.
“Nobody’s asking for recognition … [but] it’s happening on a regular basis, and it’s amazing to see these small communities come together and help each other out in that way.”
“I’m trying to think of the right words, but that feeling that you’re doing something bigger than yourself, for no other reason than it feels like the right thing to do, is something I think that we all need to take time to remember.”