CROOKSTON, Minn. — As Brenda Mack looks over the sugar beet field she helps farm, she's reminded of the tough times she and husband Trent Brekken have faced throughout this harvest season.
"I grew up in a farm family in East Grand Forks, my husband's been farming his whole life, and it's been the most difficult harvest that he can remember," Mack said.
Their struggles, along with the struggles of others, inspired them to open their shop to farmers all across Polk County for a support session in conjunction with the Northwestern Mental Health Center.
During the session Saturday, Dec. 14, they shared cups of coffee and conversation, which Brekken said was a great way to open up about the harvest.
"(It's) just a bunch of (the) community getting together and just talking about how they did this year and the struggles they had," he said. "It's good to talk about it and just get it out in the open."
Bennett Osmonson made the trip from Gully, Minn., which is about about an hour east of Crookston, to lend a helping hand.
"There's a lot of things where we just don't get together unless you're a part of a church or social club of some kind," Osmonson said. "People are alone and further apart between us and farms."
Now, as time grows shorter to get crops out of the ground, Osmonson believes farmers need to alert people to the urgency of the situation.
"I think time is of the essence to get something done," he said.
As for Mack, she hopes these talks in a relaxed setting spark a change for the better and provide hope for a happier harvest.
"If I can make any small, positive impact on people in farming or farm couples, I will be able to lay my head on my pillow at night and sleep soundly," she said.