Oct 10, 2019
Idaho farmers team up to beat hard freeze, Facebook video goes viral

Tensions were high on Idaho farms in the days leading up to Wednesday, Oct. 9. Unseasonably cold temperatures were due to hit overnight, meaning any unharvested potatoes would go to waste and further complicate what had already been a difficult growing season.

“We’d known for a week that a hard freeze was on the way,” said Jason Larson, an employee at a Hamer-based potato farm in Eastern Idaho. “Everybody was working feverishly to get the potatoes out of the ground.”

Silver K Farms, where Larson is employed, worked well into the night on Tuesday to complete harvest on its acres, but that didn’t mean the harvest was done. The way growers see it, as long as there are spuds still in the ground somewhere, there is work left to do.

“The first thing my boss did (Wednesday) was start calling around to all the neighbor farms,” Larson said. “Everybody had gotten their crop out, except one.”

Numerous area farmers mobilized their equipment and crews and sent them to help finish the harvest. Larson was among the convoy, which he caught on video and shared on Facebook. As of 9 a.m. Mountain time on Thursday — 14 hours after initially posting it — the video had been shared more than 3,300 times and received more than 135,000 views.

The video shows a long line of trucks traveling through snow to reach the farm. Larson’s caption: “When your neighbors are in trouble, and their crop is going to get frozen, you lend a hand.”

“Love this! This is what life should be about!! Helping one another!!” one of the 200-plus comments read.

Larson said things like this happen all the time in farming. He emphasized it was a “big community effort” and stressed that numerous farms pitched in, as did non-farmer members of the community.

Larson called it a “neat moment,” but was surprised the video became so popular so quickly. He chalked it up to a public thirst for stories about camaraderie.

“People don’t understand — it’s a small community way,” he said. “That kind of stuff happens all over the U.S., but it’s never recognized.

“People want to see good.”

The forecast for the hard freeze came true, as temperatures in Eastern Idaho plummeted to near 10 degrees during the night.

A wet spring hindered planting potato efforts this year and things were further complicated by unexpected freezes. Reports out of Idaho say yields are down, but quality of the tubers is good.

Leaving crop in the ground because of the early hard freeze would have further hurt farmers’ bottom lines. That won’t be a problem in and around Hamer, however. Everyone in the area made sure of it.

— Zeke Jennings, managing editor

More News on the 2019 Harvest

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