Hans Block (1959-2009)

August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I’m back on the farm.

It wasn’t a visit of choice. On Friday, July 31, 2009, my son and farming partner for more than 20 years was killed in a traffic accident as he was returning home for dinner.

I have received numerous calls of sympathy and condolence from friends near and far, including President George Bush (Senior). The cards and E-mails are still coming in. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their support. A tragic event like this reminds us how fragile life is and how precious a loving family and dear friends can be. I know that my family and I are in your prayers.

My son, Hans, came back to the farm after graduating from college to farm with my father and me at age 21. When I got involved in government work (Illinois Director of Agriculture in the late 70’s, and then Secretary of Agriculture), my son was there to help fill in the void that I had left.

My father, my son, and I – family partners – operated and grew the business over the years from 200 acres to 4,000 acres. My son gradually took management control. In August 1997, my father died. That just left the two of us and men working for us that have been so faithful over the years.

The challenge now is to hold it together as my grandson comes back from college next year. That’s what family farms do. The home farm bordering Spoon River, Knox County, Illinois, has been in the family for a long time. It was farmed by my Great Grandfather in 1848.

Hans Block leaves behind five beautiful children and a caring wife. We are reminded that tragedy can strike any family any time. It is natural to mourn our loss, but then we must go on and get the work

One of these days, God will call each of us home. When that happens, we will want the family that we leave behind to persevere and prosper.

Thank you for your prayers, and I am John Block from Washington, D.C.