Janesville56.8°

Combines combine to harvest 70 acres near Sharon

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ANN MARIE AMES
November 14, 2009
— In this wet, cold fall, a dry day such as Friday was precious to grain producers.

But not so precious that a dozen of them couldn’t take a break and get a neighbor’s soybeans picked.


Five combines flew through 70 acres of beans just east of the Rock-Walworth county line. It took less than three hours to get the fields cleaned up.


The soybeans belong to Becky Wehrwein and her dad, Richard Seefeldt. Wehrwein’s husband, Joe, died Oct. 15 of leukemia.


Seeing Becky Wehrwein stuck with a heavy heart and fields full of soybeans, neighbor Bill Johns organized the volunteer harvest, although he is not a farmer himself.


“I said one thing to one person, and … holy mackerel! … We’ve got combines coming out of our ears,” Johns said.


The combines belonged to friends and neighbors from Janesville, Clinton and Darien. A row of semitrailer trucks and straight trucks hauled the beans away.


Curt Krebbs of Clinton was one of the bean pickers. He had planned to pick his own corn Friday morning, but he decided the corn could dry for a couple more days.


Getting the beans out of the field was a load off Wehrwein’s mind. But it meant more than getting fieldwork done.


“It makes it all easier to bear,” she said.


Joe Wehrwein was diagnosed with leukemia in February. He was in remission and awaiting a bone marrow transplant when the cancer came back, she said. He was 48 when he died.


Becky and Joe had been married 23 years, and Joe had been her dad’s “right hand man” on Winding Creek Farm since 1991, Becky said. Both had off-farm jobs—Becky is a real estate appraiser, and Joe worked at SPX Processing in Delavan. But Joe dreamed of getting out of the factory and farming full time, Becky said.


Just before lunch Friday afternoon, Becky snapped a photo of the last two combines—an International and a John Deere—racing to pick the last soybean. The International won.


Becky and her neighbors chuckled. Then she shook her head and looked around at the clean fields.


“Wow,” she said. “Wow. There truly are good people in the world.”



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