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What this farmer does with his shovel may surprise you.

Caught on camera: Missouri farmer takes matters into his own hands. What he does may shock consumers.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

April 9, 2015

3 Min Read

Driving down state Highway 94 in southern Warren County, I slowed as a man with a shovel appeared along the roadway. He stepped out of his all-terrain vehicle and watched as car after truck after van passed by. Then with one swift movement, he did it. He stabbed the ground with the shovel and started to dig.

It was a rainy morning yesterday complete with hail and flash flooding in the eastern part of the state. At my farmstead, we received 3 1/2 inches of rain in just two hours. Creeks were running fast and ditches were full of water and debris. I decided to head out and assess the damage. And I was not alone.


Scott Frankenberg, a local farmer from Marthasville, was out checking his field culverts to see if any were plugged. You see, debris in a field culvert can cause water to back up into his fields.

After checking his fields, Frankenberg could have easily put the shovel back in the ATV and drove to the farm. But he didn't. He couldn't help but notice water accumulating on the highway adjacent to his farm ground. So he went up to investigate.

American consumers this may be shocking news--while farmers and ranchers care about the safety of your food and the environment, their concerns extend well beyond the end rows of a crop field. They produce materials for your homes, offices, clothing and even fuel, much as they provide for their own family. It is no surprise that farmers consider you--the consumer--part of their extended family. And they will protect you.

This stretch of road is a main thoroughfare for parents picking up children from school, mothers heading to the grocery store or fathers returning home from work. And Frankenberg wanted it to be safe.


He was not sure if there was a culvert under the roadway but knew that the high water was making it tough for vehicles to cross. So he nudged the shovel into the wet ground. After some difficult digging, he realized there was no culvert. Rather than stop shoveling, he continued to clear debris off the side of the road and allow the water to drain.

In today's world, it is not often we see individuals lending a helping hand in any situation without wanting recognition. It took me three times of asking Frankenberg for his name. He just shrugged it off. Recognition was not what he was after. Accolades are not motivating factors for farmers. They help because, well, it is the right thing to do.

So if one day you find yourself face-to-face with a man and a shovel on a rural highway consider this and be thankful: America's farmers and ranchers, like Frankenberg, not only provide nutritious food, but also head out after a storm, pick up a shovel and clear the roadway that leads home. 

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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