A day before what would have been his dad’s 104th birthday, Bob Schuler of Zearing was delivering a much-needed gift to farmers in western Iowa. He knows his dad, Ernie, who passed away in 2009, would have done the same.
Schuler is a 1973 graduate of NESCO High School, who’s been farming in the Zearing area since the year he graduated. His father had farmed in the Zearing area for 65 to 70 years, and Schuler’s son Jason now lives and farms where Ernie did.
Schuler said the idea of giving to farmers in Western Iowa all started when Bill Couser, who farms north of Nevada, was talking to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig about the needs of flood-stricken farmers in western Iowa. Couser talked to Schuler — the two work together on some projects — about donating some bales of corn stalks, and “it evolved from there,” Schuler said.
“We had access to some of these DuPont bales, and Couser had bought those, so we were just going to use those to help these guys out,” Schuler said.
Last Thursday, March 28, Schuler drove one big truck and Chris Rasmusson of Zearing drove another of his trucks — also making the trip was Paden Lawler of Union. Lawler had a truckload of 30 round bales of hay, while Schuler’s trucks were carrying two loads of 36 square bales of corn stalks.
The delivery was made to a farm near Malvern, a little over 200 miles from Zearing. “A farmer by Malvern was storing the donations, which would be disbursed to farmers in need…,” Schuler said.
It ended up being a big news event at Malvern that day, as local reporters were on hand to capture the moment.
“I kind of had a heads-up there (about all the reporters),” Schuler said. “Since the Iowa Secretary of Ag was there, there were a lot of people there.”
It was Schuler’s first opportunity to meet Naig. “He is very personable. I was very impressed with him.” Schuler said Naig was hoping the media coverage would encourage more people to give what they can to help the farmers in that area.
Schuler could see for himself where the Nishnabotna River had cut a path of destruction during recent flooding. He was glad to know that Story County farmers could help out in some way. The cornstalks that were given, he said, could be used for feed or bedding, since what farmers there had, ended up washing away.
Schuler calls all of this an Iowa thing. “You never feel bad about helping somebody else, especially someone who appreciates it and is in dire need.”
This week he plans to help out again. His son, Jason, was contacted by someone about farmers in need in the Fremont, Neb., area. So this week, Schuler planned another trip west, or make that two trips. He said his plan was to drive one truckload to Fremont on Tuesday, and another truckload Wednesday.
Now, he just hopes others will do the same. “We’re not going to solve anybody’s problems, but maybe (we can) make it a little better,” he said.