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Published November 06, 2009, 08:36 AM

Farm Rescue assists 100th family

Farm Rescue, an organization that helps farmers during an individual crisis, is assisting its 100th family today in Ypsilanti. Lynn Hopewell of KSJB radio in Jamestown covers the story from the Lien farm in Ypsilanti, N.D.

By: Herald staff report/Lynn Hopewell, Grand Forks Herald

JAMESTOWN, N.D. ¬– Farm Rescue volunteers are in the field harvesting soybeans today for the organization’s 100th farm family since operations first began in 2006. Dustin and Lucinda Lien of Ypsilanti, N.D., are the recipients of the non-profit organization’s goodwill.

“This is a young farm family that really needed our help after Dustin broke his pelvis and injured his knee in a farm equipment accident earlier this year,” said Bill Gross, founder and president of Farm Rescue.

“We couldn’t be more thankful for this help,” said Dustin Lien. “As far as we’re concerned, all of the Farm Rescue volunteers and sponsors are heroes.”

Farm Rescue plants and harvests crops free of charge for farm families that are in crisis from a major injury, illness or natural disaster. The organization has assisted farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota, eastern Montana and western Minnesota.

Matt and Laura Biel of Dickinson were the first farm family to receive assistance from Farm Rescue, after Matt lost his hand in a grain auger accident. Bill Krumwiede of Voltaire, the organization’s first volunteer, helped plant the Biel’s crop four years ago and is working on the 100th case today.

“I hadn’t farmed in 20 years when I volunteered, but I told Bill (Gross) it was a wonderful idea and I had time to help,” said Krumwiede. “It’s been very rewarding.”

Farm Rescue will be accepting applications for spring planting assistance from Jan. 1 to March 15. For more information, log on to

YPSILANTI, ND –Dustin Lien returned to the family farm near Ypsilanti about ten years ago to join his mom and dad to operate the place.

Lien had many of the same struggles his neighbors did in the winter and spring of 2009: too much snow, too much water, too many damaged roads.

Then on July 21, things got much worse.

While servicing his equipment, Lien was pinned and rolled between his pickup truck and a tractor. The accident broke his pelvis and severely damaged his left knee.

For three weeks Lien and his wife, Lucinda, believed he was making a good recovery. Lien told himself that he’d be back on his feet in time for the harvest.

“I think we were in denial, to tell you the truth,” the fourth-generation farmer said on Thursday.

“Then we went back to see my specialist (August 4) and he gave us a much worse prognosis than we expected. He told me to expect to be on crutches through Thanksgiving.”

That was when Dustin and Lucinda realized they were going to need more help. At the urging of a friend, they got an application and submitted it to Farm Rescue on August 5, the deadline for applying for harvest assistance from the non-profit.

“We got our application in the day it was due: that was August 5. The board met August 5 and we were called that same night to let us know that our application had been accepted. So they reviewed all the applications, made their decisions all on the same day and called to tell us they were coming to help,” explained Lucinda.

In fact, the Liens turned out to be a significant milestone for the volunteer organization that helps needy farmers throughout the Upper Midwest with planting and harvesting.

“I knew we would reach this day,” said founder Bill Gross, “but I never expected it to come so quickly.”

“We just want to say thank you to Farm Rescue, the organization and all of its volunteers,” said Dustin Lien. “It’s unbelievable that there is somebody out there that would be willing to help us in this way and so many farmers as they have helped already. And I know that they will do more.”