When I woke up this morning and checked Facebook I happened to see several people had shared a news story about a combine in rural Kansas being stolen last night. My first thought was “that’s crazy, who steals a combine?” But after seeing it more and more on my feed today I couldn’t believe some of the responses and wanted to share my opinion.
First of all…. Really? So I don’t know what thoughts or events all led up to you deciding to steal something and go on a joy ride, but if I had to guess I would say that some drugs or alcohol were involved. So whatever was going on in your brain obviously told you it would be a great idea to choose a combine to steal. I guess you weren’t going for the inconspicuous look. Speed must not have been a factor either seeing as how I’m guessing you didn’t get over 15 mph. The only thing I can think of is that maybe you thought you were in a tank and invincible.
The news said that callers reported the combine “swerving all over the road”. Ummm…. First can we say thank you God that nobody was killed! Do you know how easy it would have been to run over a car and kill whoever may have been inside? Apparently you didn’t know how to operate that piece of machinery because you did in fact hit a vehicle. You struck a pickup hard enough to rip the 8 row corn header off of the combine. Wow. But you didn’t stop there, because you weren’t going down without a fight. You continued on your path of destruction destroying power poles, lines, and two police cruisers. They actually had to fire 18 rounds into the combine to disable it and arrest you.
But hears the crazy thing. There have actually been some people blaming the farmer. Forget the fact that he just lost an around a quarter million dollar machine, but the combine you ruined was how he made most of his livelihood. He is going to now have to deal with insurance and try to finish cutting his crop. Hopefully he has good neighbors that will step in and lend a hand. I don’t know if you know this or not, but harvest is an extremely time sensitive and stressful time for farmers. When it’s time to harvest the crop that’s exactly what you do. You only have so long before it starts deteriorating and that’s a very big deal when that’s your yearly salary.
The people commenting on the news stories are saying things like “stupid farmer” and “doesn’t deserve insurance to cover it”. I have seen several comments saying that he should have taken the combine home. First of all, we don’t know how far his field was from his house. Maybe it was 1 mile and maybe it was 50 miles. At a top speed of 15 mph it could take him up to 4 hours to get home. Maybe even longer. Harvest means late nights and early mornings and sometimes 5 hours could be all the sleep a farmer gets if even that. Then counting the trip back to the field he would be spending a good majority of his day roading the machine. And don’t forget to take into account that all that time is time away from his family trying to make a living and help feed the world.
You don’t hear about combines getting stolen often so I doubt his last thought before parking the combine and going home exhausted before starting another long day wasn’t “I better pull the keys and lock up”. Farm machinery being stolen for joy rides is just pretty rare and I would pay money to bet that farmer wasn’t thinking anything like that would ever happen. You may say “well we never expect things like that to happen so he should have anyway”. Good point, and for vehicles I would say yeah it probably should have been locked. But vehicles are stolen everyday and that’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges.
The whole point of this is to say stop and think before you go around slamming the farmer. He is doing a pretty thankless job and to be called the names like he is on top of just losing such an expensive and vital part to his farm, is just ridiculous. How about we stop ridiculing him and just be thankful no one got hurt and the guy that stole it is behind bars.
A lot of people seem to think that their food just magically appears in grocery stores. They don’t know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting it there. It all starts on the farm and no farmers equal no food. People might be tired of hearing that, but it’s the truth and everyday there is something new that they have to try and defend themselves against. But still they spend the hours away from home and their families because they know somebody has to do it and it’s their passion. To all the farmers out there, my husband included, I say thank you. Thank you for continuing to do what you do even through the hard times, low crop prices, and uncooperative weather. Thank you.