After being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma back in March of 2019, Larry Yockey was unable to spend long periods of time working in the fields on his harvest crop. The fourth-generation farmer's cancer had spread and made it to where he was unable to lift more than 10-15 lbs at one time. This was a big change from his normal farm work.
"The cancer has spread to my bones, so I have a broken hip and ribs," he told KREM News. But the Ritzville farmers jumped at the opportunity to help Yockey and make sure that he was able to complete his crop during harvest season.
60 fellow farmers joined together to work on Yockey's wheat crop on his 1,200-acre farm. They were able to complete 3 weeks of work in six hours. Finishing the crop like that in one day was such an enormous help to the Yockey family, news has spread regionally as well as nationally in 2019.
"This is wonderful. Just wonderful," Yockey told the Ritzville Journal. "My family and I appreciate it, and it just shows how these farm communities work. These guys are all neighbors and friends of mine, our kids have all grown up together and it just shows what can happen."
When a farming community comes together to finish a crop together like this, it's known as a "harvest bee". All it took was some phone calls and this little community around an hour outside of Spokane were all happy to come together for the harvest bee to help Yockey and his family.
"Larry's one of those people who has always been very outgoing, and if there's something that's needed and if he can help, he'll help," said farmer Brian Doyle. "All of us just felt it was a way to give back to somebody that's been giving all of his life."
This article was originally published on August 9, 2019.