During this time of year in counties throughout the state, most crop farmers are worried about one thing and one thing only – harvest season. For the McClain family of Champaign County, however, harvesting over 150 acres of soybeans this fall season has taken a back seat to a more pressing issue – tending to an ill child.
Fortunately for the family, a group of Champaign and Logan county farmers weren’t about to let the soybean crop at the corner of state Route 507 and McClain Road go unharvested any longer. In a span of a few hours on Tuesday, individuals from 10 to 12 local farming families joined forces to successfully harvest 170 acres of soybeans located on the McClain family farm at 8493 McClain Road.
The cross-county effort was organized by Champaign County contractor and farmer Wes Krabill, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to lend a helping hand.
While at the McClain residence recently to do contractor work, he talked with Richard McClain, the family patriarch, who revealed the family’s soybean crop hadn’t been harvested due to the hospitalization of his grandson, Teddy McClain, a West Liberty-Salem student.
According to Krabill, the family discovered a few weeks back that Teddy had developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare disorder affecting a person’s skin and mucous membranes, usually brought on by an adverse drug reaction or infectious illness.
Since the harvesting duties on the McClain farm are handled by Teddy’s father, Ted McClain, Krabill decided to call upon his fellow farmers, and they answered his call for help.
“Ted needs to be with his boy, and Richard just isn’t physically able to do this type of job anymore, so I just thought it was the right thing to do,” Krabill said. “I didn’t call one person who said ‘no.’ I think everyone I called realizes there are times we all need a little help, and they were all willing to take half a day to help out.”
Along with the countless farmers who showed up to help Tuesday, the harvesting operation also received help from individuals who donated use of their tractors and grain carts, combines and semitrailers for transporting the harvested soybeans.
Krabill said he appreciates the support he received from his fellow farmers. He added the family also appreciates the help.
“They were just very thankful that someone would do something like this for them,” he said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.