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Farmer reports soybean bushels stolen in Illinois

October 22, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after an Iowa farmer reported that someone stole about $18,000 worth of soybeans from 18 acres on his farm in Illinois.

Matt Schuster of La Motte, Iowa, is missing more than 1,600 bushels after someone took the crops in East Dubuque, he told the (Dubuque) Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/1yXJ1kV ). He noticed the theft when he checked on the land over the weekend.

“It probably took them two hours,” Schuster said. “They were in and out. ... When everyone is out in the fields harvesting, no one pays attention when you’re all combining.”

Neighbors in the area, including the famer’s mother-in-law and landlord, saw the crop being harvested but thought Schuster had hired someone to combine the field. An older green and yellow John Deere combine was spotted in the field on Oct. 14, the neighbors said.

“I own red combines, not green,” Schuster said. “In my 50-some years of farming, I’ve never heard of anything like this. It’s just too obvious because everyone knows who rents the fields and you can be spotted a mile away combining the wrong field.

“That’s the million-dollar question: Why didn’t someone call me?”

Schuster’s crop insurance will cover the loss but he has to produce about 1,600 bushels of soybeans by Nov. 1 to meet a contract, he said.

The farmer hopes the incident turns out to be “just a big mistake” and the beans are returned to him.

“I don’t want anyone going to jail for stealing beans,” he said. “No harm, no foul. I just want them to come forward and talk to me, and we’ll work it out.”

Schuster is offering a $2,500 reward for information about his missing crops.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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