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Farm Aid: Worthington man gets help with harvest

About 20 of Richard Rutgers' neighbors helped him complete his harvest of 100 acres of corn Friday near Worthington. Rutgers is scheduled to have surgery for a pinched nerve in October.

WORTHINGTON -- What goes around, comes around, and when farmer Richard Rutgers needed back surgery for a pinched nerve, his neighbors, friends and family came around Friday to help harvest 100 acres of corn just northeast of Worthington.

"That's what this community is all about, friends and neighbors," said Rutgers, who has participated in many "picking bees" in the past. "I deeply appreciate all the help they're giving me."

The 20 or so farmers who volunteered to help with his corn made short work of the fields Friday, coordinating combines, trucks and grain wagons to get the corn to the Brewster elevator.

"Richard's a great guy, a good old boy," said Rutgers' neighbor, Bob Kirchner, who was hauling corn for the group.

Norm Rehborg, a friend of Rutgers, is already finished with his harvest and went to the Rutgers place Friday to help out.

"Friends help friends," Rehborg said.

And on Friday, Rutgers' friends showed up at 9 a.m. in force.

"I'm just kind of a spectator," Rutgers said. He had been at a doctor's appointment -- preparation for the back surgery set for later this month -- in the morning and missed the first part of the harvest bee. "People hear about it and they just pitch in."

Four or five combines were zipping back and forth on Rutgers' fields all morning and part of the afternoon, clearing eight rows of corn per pass. Four semi trucks, two other trucks and a few grain wagons were on the scene, too, scattered near the grove of the Rutgers farm site and on the opposite end of the field.

"I just brought coffee," said Charlene Kirchner, another neighbor, whose refreshments were much sought-after by those working in the fields. "Kay Voss is making cookies."

The farmers took a break for lunch, too -- prepared by the ladies of the Christian Reformed Church of Worthington.

"I wanted to thank them, too. It was very much appreciated," Rutgers said.

Rutgers hopes to bring in 1,700 bushels of corn this year.