Neighbors harvest crops for Colfax County farmer recovering from West Nile virus

November 8, 2018

SCHUYLER — More than 20 individuals came together in late October to help a Colfax County farmer diagnosed with the West Nile virus.

“We really appreciate it,” said Mark Shoultz, who fell ill around the end of September, thanking the group of area residents who came to his farm to help with his harvest.

The 55-year-old man has spent the majority of his life farming crops like corn, soybean, oats, alfalfa and wheat with his father, Billy. Their fields are located north of Schuyler.

After spending several weeks in and out of the hospital, Shoultz was sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation. He added that the illness has taken a toll on his strength.

Farmer and neighbor David Jedlicka said it will take Shoultz several months to fully recover. Jedlicka said the fall season is considered the most important time of the year for farmers because that’s when crops are harvested for revenue. But, he said this year’s season was pushed back slightly due to inclement weather.

“So we just decided to just go to them and see if we could help him,” Jedlicka said. “It’s just one less thing that Mark and his dad have to worry about.”

Jedlicka took time off his own harvest routine to help the Shoultz family.

He also helped spread the word to neighbors, family members and friends, who rallied to give a helping hand. There were a total of five combine harvesters, support vehicles and trucks harvesting soybeans from sunrise to sunset. Volunteers were separated into groups to cover different grounds.

While his family members harvested crops on his land, farmer Allan Shonka spent his day helping the Shoultz family.

“It feels good,” said Shonka, who is Shoultz’s uncle. “It’s a nice neighborhood get-together.”

Before they started, volunteers were provided with meals by their wives and representatives of Farm Credit Services of America in Columbus. Schuyler Co-op donated fuel for the combines, as well.

“Everybody has been really good,” Jedlicka said. “The (Shoultz) family is just overwhelmed with the support that they’ve received. They are good people.”

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