December 15, 2019
Written By Megan Hill
How a Community Came Together to Bring in a Farmer’s Final Crop
Small communities, especially rural ones, are known to naturally come together when faced with misfortune. One northeast Missouri community recently demonstrated this phenomenon when volunteers pitched in to complete a farmer’s last piece of labor following his unexpected death.
Early in the morning on Aug. 27, 2018, Floyd Buckman, a 61-year-old grain and livestock farmer from Stoutsville, Mo., was tragically killed in an automobile accident on a county road near his home.
“It was an overwhelming experience for me and my kids,” said Deanna Buckman as she recalled the passing of her husband.
Following Floyd’s passing, a group of friends and neighbors from the surrounding community banded together to make sure the Buckman family’s crops were harvested.
“In a time of tragedy, it helped us out and brought people together,” said Jacki Potterfield, one of Floyd’s daughters.
Floyd’s untimely death was felt not only by his family and friends, but also at MFA Oil, where he had served on the company’s board of directors since 2011. As an active community member within the greater Monroe City, Mo., area, Floyd was known for playing his electric guitar in various local bands and for volunteering with organizations like the Knights of Columbus.
When he died, Floyd left behind not only his family and friends, but also several fields of corn and soybean crops. Aaron Benson, who owns and operates Hassard Grain Elevator in Monroe City, decided to take action following the tragedy.
“I just figured that this was a calling I had,” Benson said. “It was something I could do to make things easier on the family.”
Benson and members of the Buckman family gathered together to create a game plan to ensure the crops were harvested on time. Working closely with Deanna, Jacki and Jacki’s husband, Josh, Benson coordinated a large group of at least 30 farmers from surrounding communities to help the family see to its fields of corn and soybean. The harvesting began with farmers who lived nearest the Buckmans’ fields getting things done first, but Benson soon found he had no trouble recruiting help. There was no shortage of willing volunteers.
In September, the group began cutting corn and finished with that crop in five days. The soybeans would not be ready until October, but the volunteers graciously returned to complete the harvest.
Along with coordinating the field work, Benson also made sure the farmers participating were well-fed. Deanna, Jacki and several local women prepared and organized meals for the large group of neighbors who assisted with harvesting Floyd’s final crop.
“It wasn’t just the men, the ladies helped out too,” said Jacki when she described the harvest effort. “The ladies gathered and prepared different dishes. They made sure the men had food to eat while they worked.”
Deanna and Jacki both expressed deep gratitude for the greater community and the work that was completed out of the kindness of their hearts.
“People came from all around, even farmers from other areas,” Deanna said. “It’s always been a small community, and I think if it was the other way around, Floyd would have been there for whoever needed help.”
As the harvesting process entered its final stretch, the Buckman family and volunteers were touched by an inexplicable act of nature.
“While the last load was brought in, a rainbow appeared over the grain bin,” said Jacki. “The rainbow expanded out of the combine. It hadn’t even rained in a while.”
As the harvest ended, this unexpected sign in the sky offered Floyd’s friends and loved ones a sense of comfort during a time of sorrow and new beginnings.