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Helping harvest: Local farmers help after death of farmer Terry Laufer

HETTINGER--Terry Laufer was killed in a farming accident on Oct. 13 at 56 years old. Not only did he leave behind his wife Donna and two children, Jennifer and Devan, but he also left behind crops that still needed to be harvested.

Local farmers spent two days harvest over 1,000 acres of crop to help the Laufer family after the death of Terry in a farming accident two weeks ago. (Submitted Photo)
Local farmers spent two days harvest over 1,000 acres of crop to help the Laufer family after the death of Terry in a farming accident two weeks ago. (Submitted Photo)

HETTINGER-Terry Laufer was killed in a farming accident on Oct. 13 at 56 years old. Not only did he leave behind his wife Donna and two children, Jennifer and Devan, but he also left behind crops that still needed to be harvested.

Local farmers took time away from their own farms and crops to lend a hand and harvest Terry's last crop.

"He was the best," Scott Matthis said of his brother-in-law. "I know if it was any of the other neighbors, he would have been there. We'll do the same for him."
Devan knows that to be true of his dad too.

"My dad was the kind of guy, if this would have happened to someone else he would have had all of his equipment here doing the same thing," he said. "He'd have been the first guy. He wouldn't have even called. He'd have just shown up at the field with everything, the whole farm if needed."

Farming runs in the veins of the Laufer family with relatives being out on the 1,000 acres this week to lend a hand.

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"My cousin died in a farm accident just a year and four months ago," Lisa Messmer, Terry's sister, said. "When that happened, we were all there helping them. Their family has all been here helping every day."
Matthis said that farmers in the community offer help like this as often as they need to.

When a local farmer, Roger Wilson, had a farming accident at the beginning of harvest, Matthis said there were 18 combines in his fields just a few days later.

Messmer said she thinks that that kindness and willingness is built into farmers.

"I think it's a heart of a farmer," she said. "I don't think it matters where you're from as far as that goes. They stick together, if something happens to one, the others are just right there to help."

Messmer said when the local farmers were offered fuel for the tractors they didn't take any because they wanted to help as much as they could and to do it all for free.

The only thing the farmers were paid in was food and drinks. Messmer said they had three meals a day for the farmers with most all of it being donated by local families and Wilbur-Ellis Company in Mott.

Butler Cat in Dickinson and West Plains Inc. in Hettinger also donated equipment for the two-day harvesting.
Devan said that his family hasn't been able to deal with the death of Terry yet.

"We wanted to get this season done with," he said. "We were ready to get the year done and over with and maybe finally relax and think about everything that has happened in the past two weeks. We've been moving so fast I think a lot of it hasn't hit us yet. Now we'll have some time to slow down and actually think about all that's happened."
Even though the family will mourn the death of Terry, the farm will still keep going on for as long as the family can see.

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Norman Laufer, Terry's father, and Devan will continue the work of Laufer Farms, without Terry by their side.

"I'm going to continue the farm," Devan said. "It's what he would have wanted. He'd come back and kill me if I didn't try."

Chuck Miller, neighbor of Terry, said that he came out to help because Terry was a lifelong friend and was even the best man in his wedding.

Miller said he knew that it meant a lot to the family.

"You could see that they really appreciate it," he said. "They were happy to see us."

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