Area cornfields have been buzzing with activity but there was a special mission behind the combines harvesting at Sprague Farms in southeast Kansas.

On Sept. 7, farmers met up at the Service Valley Charter Academy north of Oswego, Kansas, for a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast and to lay out a plan to harvest 700 acres of corn for farmers in need.

Brothers Joe and Larry Sprague had both suffered recent health problems. Joe had also been in the hospital, making corn harvest a difficult, if not impossible, task.

“A farmer came to me to ask if I’d coordinate cutting the corn,” said Rick McKinzie. After agreeing to the job and making a couple of phone calls, McKinzie said offers to help started coming in on their own from friends and neighbors.

On Wednesday morning, McKinzie said they had eight combines, four grain carts and over dozen trucks to harvest the Spragues’ corn. Dozens of volunteers pitched in, working through the day to get the crop in.

“About half of these people still have their own corn to pick,” McKinzie said, adding he had thought the chance of rain may deter some of the volunteers but that did not seem to be the case.

The volunteers divided into groups to harvest the fields. They met again that evening for dinner at the school.

“I want to thank all our friends and neighbors,” Larry said, adding the support has been “a little bit overwhelming.”

“I’m just thankful,” he reiterated. “I’m surprised they did it but then I’m not.

“I think it’s kind of what farmers do — we help each other.”  £

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