‘The Most Amazing Harvest’ is a local story of faith, family, farming, community

Reviewed by Katie Bogner

Agriculture teaches a unique perspective on the value of sacrifice, seasons of change, and the importance of community.

In 2015, farmer Carl Bates of Galva was told that he only had months to live. With countless other concerns to focus on during their remaining time together, one major problem for the family was solved in an unforgettable way.

As fall neared, grain farmer Carl wasn’t well enough to harvest his crops. In a powerful show of support for one of their own, more than 40 local farmers harvested all of Carl’s crops in just one day. Ten combines, 12 grain carts, 16 semis, and a grain elevator that designated it “Carl Bates Day” collected their 450 acres of crops and took them to market, but more importantly showed the Bates family that they were not alone.

Authored by Carl’s wife Pam Bates and her twin sister Paula Patty, the new book “The Most Amazing Harvest” actually focuses minimally on the famous harvest, but instead gives unique insight to the farmer behind the viral story.

Creative storytelling (with Carl’s “guardian angel” as a narrator) shares more than just a factual biography of Carl Bates. The book reveals the things that really mattered to him — his family and his faith.

Peppered with catechetical truths, the book also teaches about Christ and His Church and provides background on topics like mercy, forgiveness, death, and heaven, all within the context of Carl’s life.

This book is a gift to those who knew and loved Carl, but is also a valuable read for all of us connected to him through the Body of Christ. Whether facing a family illness or loss, appreciating small-town farming communities, or seeking solace in a tale of hope, “The Most Amazing Harvest” takes a local story beyond the town’s borders and ensures that readers will be sharing Carl’s legacy for years to come.

Katie Bogner

Katie Bogner is the junior high faith formation teacher at St. Philomena School in Peoria and a member of The Catholic Post’s book review team. She blogs at looktohimandberadiant.com.

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