Payne's Favorite Story of 2022

Young Farmer Taps Resiliency During First Harvest Despite Loss of Father

Susan Payne
By  Susan Payne , DTN Social Media and Young Farmer Editor
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The late Timothy Pohlmann (left) and his son Clay Pohlmann stand in front of the family's soybean field. Tim passed away on Oct. 31, 2021, at the age of 46. (Courtesy photo)

Editor's Note:

The turn to winter traditionally has us thinking back over the year that was. Here in the DTN/Progressive Farmer newsroom, we're also prone to look back on the accomplishments, the challenges, and the things that didn't turn out as planned. In that vein, we again asked our reporters and editors to look back at some of their favorite stories from the year. The pieces range from hard-hitting investigative journalism, to heart-tugging stories of loss, to the fun discoveries that can be found on farmsteads and small towns. We hope you enjoy our writers' favorites, with the second one being today by Susan Payne.


OMAHA (DTN) -- After losing his father, Clay Pohlmann left school and came back to the farm. With the help of his family, friends and community, he harvested his first crop with resiliency and strength.

Everyone's reason for farming is different, but Pohlmann, 19, truly enjoys the work, the structure, the decision making and growing crops. While equally tragic that his father is no longer by his side, Pohlmann's show of dedication to farming in his first year is inspiring.

Titled "Young Nebraska Farmer Harvests First Crop Following Unexpected Loss of Dad," I sought the story via Twitter, after Pohlmann's cousin posted a photo of the young farmer in a combine harvesting his first crop.

I found that Pohlmann and his cousin, Brad, are closely tied to the Pohlmann Land and Cattle in Deshler, Nebraska, left by the late Timothy Pohlmann, and that the farm is an operation that has been in the family for five generations.

Pohlmann felt a strong pull to come back to farming after his father died, and through Brad's mentorship, saw a successful first harvest.

Timothy Pohlmann died during the harvest of October 2021 unexpectedly. On the way to the hospital, Clay said his father suffered a combination of smaller strokes, leading up to a larger one that "set him back for good."

Brad and Paula Hobelmann, who operate a multi-generational farm operation in Kansas, 10 miles from the Deshler border, became the executors of Tim's will and had to decide if they wanted to take on another farm operation.

"I operate a multi-generational farm operation in Kansas, and the Pohlmann operation adds a considerable amount," Brad Hobelmann said. "We were in a position to help, so I said, 'We can certainly take a shot at it.'"

While not completely taking over, Clay's first year of farming with the Hobelmanns on his side, and with a farmhand named Brandon, has shown the family resiliency and his lifelong commitment to farm; so, they set up a piece of land jointly farmed by Clay's grandmother and the Hobelmanns that Clay now rents.

"We thought it would be good for Clay to have a piece of his own where he can dive into his own management strategies and risk," Hobelmann said.

While writing this story, it was fascinating to see the spirit and faith that drives them to continue farming despite all circumstances.

Looking back at the last year, Hobelmann said, "We see how these things are set in place before anyone knew, and there's a real purpose to it. Even though we're crazy busy, it's been a blessing ... Faith is very important to us, and we credit the good Lord for every blessing we have."

When you're that young, Hobelmann said, people take a chance on you.

Find the full story here:…

Susan Payne can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @jpusan

Susan Payne

Susan Payne
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