JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — A nonprofit organization that helps farm families in need is accepting planting applications from farmers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and eastern Montana.
North Dakota-based Farm Rescue assisted 50 farm families in 2013 and hopes to help a similar number of families this year.
Farm Rescue was founded in 2006 by North Dakota farm boy and cargo plane pilot Bill Gross to assist farm families who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster. The organization has helped more than 250 families since its inception. It does not dole out money but instead enlists volunteers to help with the planting and harvesting of crops.
Priority is being given to applications for planting help that are received by April 1.
"Friends and neighbors may also anonymously refer a family that is in need of assistance, since some families are hesitant to ask for assistance themselves," Gross said.
Farm Rescue relies on volunteers, business sponsors and donations. It is introducing a "Sponsor-A-Volunteer" program this year to enable donors to help with the costs of lodging and food for the volunteers who do the farm labor.
"We are requesting people to consider helping us offset some volunteer costs, which in turn will allow Farm Rescue to mobilize more volunteers," Gross said.