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Friends, family help with harvest after farmer’s death

Bryan Snechter and his two sons, George, 8, and Wekdon, 7, stand by the Case 8120 combine they used to pick the cornfield on Crab Creek Road.
Bryan Snechter and his two sons, George, 8, and Wekdon, 7, stand by the Case 8120 combine they used to pick the cornfield on Crab Creek Road.

Bryan Snetcher was facing not only his brother’s death, but 400 acres of corn to bring in with the weather not cooperating.

Bryan, 34, of Shannon, worked for years with his older brother, Daniel “Opie” Snetcher, who died Nov. 14, 2019 at age 38 after a car crash. The brothers had their own farming operation, and also did custom farming for other producers across Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, and Stephenson counties, and as far away as Aurora and Naperville.

“Nov. 14, we were about to start into our harvest,” Bryan said.

Even as the Snetchers tried to process Daniel’s death, friends of the family swung into action to help bring in the harvest. Neighbors started coming to help on Dec. 19. Family friend Ryan Rabb of Durand brought his 16-row combine, and helped organize a group of about 40 volunteers.

“We’ve gotten big help from neighbors. We’ve been blessed with the number (who are helping). It probably would’ve taken me a month if I’d done it myself,” Bryan said.

At the time of Daniel’s death, the family had about 400 acres left to harvest, scattered north of Shannon and others between Lanark and Mount Carroll. Volunteers helped reduce that to 80 acres, with about 50 acres left on Friday.

“We’ve been drying corn constantly Monday (Dec. 23) and Tuesday (Dec. 24),” Bryan said.

As for the Snetchers’ custom farming, Bryan will continue, although the scale of the work will likely be reduced for some time.

“I’m not sure what adjustments will be made. I can still do it,” Bryan said, adding that he may have to hire some other people to help.

The next generation of Snetchers may some day chip in as well. Daniel left behind two sons, Caleb Snetcher, 14 and Tatum Snetcher, 12, and two daughters, Dani Snetcher, 10, and Taylor Feld, 8, while Bryan has two sons, George Snetcher, 8, and Welden Snetcher, 7.

Bryan said a celebration of life fundraiser for Daniel’s children is tentatively planned for February.