- Associated Press - Monday, September 15, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Farm Rescue will have planted or harvested more than 300 farms for farmers in need this year. Charlie Bartsch, Louie Rothmann and Bill Krumwiede have been to about 100 of those.

The trio is part of a group of five retired farmers who have volunteered for the charity almost since its inception.

“These guys keep calling me,” Krumwiede said, pointing to Bartsch and Rothmann as the culprits of his eight-year run as a volunteer.

Krumwiede, a native of Voltaire, found out about the charity in 2006 from a newspaper ad asking for volunteers. When he called, he was told they had enough volunteers that year, but he offered to help anyway, “fill a frill or whatever it takes.”

Now Krumwiede runs the combine, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1qjanhD ) reported.

“You can’t get him out of there,” Rothmann joked.

“That’s the best job on the farm,” Krumwiede said.

Rothmann said Krumwiede never really got farming “out of his system” and said Krumwiede has been an asset to Farm Rescue during his time there.

On Sept. 5, the three men waited in Washburn for a wheat field to dry so they could finish combining the 265 acres for John Renner.

“I prefer planting. It seems like with harvest we run into too much of this,” Bartsch said referring to the wet field.

Renner had a cyst removed from his back and can’t work. He managed to get the crop in by himself, but said he really was hurting.

“Three months ago I couldn’t have stood here like this,” he said.

Renner said he’s thankful for the help from the three men who have spent several years traveling the region helping out fellow farmers unable to work.

“It’s really a good program,” Bartsch said.

“And it gives us an excuse to play in the dirt,” Rothmann said. “I buried a tractor in a graveyard.”

“You buried one in a slough, too,” Bartsch shot back. “For a while, we called him Cemetery Louie.”

“We’ve had our share of mishaps,” Rothmann said.

“We make a little fun out of it,” Krumwiede added.

Rothmann got into Farm Rescue in 2008, after a farmer working south of his hometown of Washburn was severely burned in a combine fire the year before.

Bartsch, a former farmer and rancher from Minot, learned about Farm Rescue from another volunteer at an agriculture industry show in 2008. The volunteer gave him a number to call and the next day Bartsch was joining the ranks.

“This life has been good to me so it’s a way to give back,” he said.

Bartsch said not long ago he was in J.C. Penney when a little girl whose family farm in Crosby he had volunteered on came up and hugged him. He said he plans to keep helping as long as his health holds up.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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