Some people think praying is a waste of time, but we here know that to be totally untrue. As a matter of fact, sometimes it literally means the difference between life and death. Such was the case here a while back.

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Ord...

For the last several years, we were having a lot of trouble with the silo unloader in our big silo bringing out the haylage that we feed to our cows. The unloader’s augers and blower were continually getting plugged up with haylage.

When that would happen, Joshua or I would have to climb up into the silo with a large wrecking bar and unplug it. Sometimes we would have to do it a number of times in one day, which really took a lot of time and work.

On a number of occasions, we would end up getting our hands cut on the sharp augers. We had the dealer out a number of times to work on it, and we spent a fair bit of money doing that, but it never helped very much.

Well, it got so bad that we finally made the decision to buy a new silo unloader. All four of us were in full agreement on this. Joshua and I did a bunch of research on the different unloaders out there, and we also talked to some farmers.


We finally chose the one we thought would be best. I contacted the dealer for that particular brand of unloaders and bought one from him. This was late summer, so I knew they would have plenty of time to get it in before winter set in. Or so I thought.

The man told me there was so much demand for these silo unloaders that they were way back-ordered already. He said it would take about two months to get it. I didn’t like it, but there was nothing I could do about it except wait.

Well, two months went by and we were still waiting. November came and with it an early winter. Freezing rain and snow and bitter cold. And yes, then our new silo unloader, too.

I didn’t like it, but the crew came on a bitter cold day to put our new silo unloader in. The outside of the silo had a thick coat of glare ice on it from the freezing rain that we had a few days before. Shortly after they got here, we went into the house for breakfast.

When we were done eating breakfast, we did what we always do: We prayed together as a family. On this particular day, I felt so strongly to pray for the safety of the men putting the new unloader in. And so we did, as a family. We pray as a family because we know it pays to pray.

To put the new unloader in the silo and to take the old one out, the crew fastened a pulley system to the top of the silo. Then, with a man 60 feet up on the silo, standing in a little cage, he would guide the parts in and out of the small opening in the roof. With a couple men on the ground and a couple more in the silo, this usually worked pretty well.

Things were going fairly well until they came to the largest piece to put in: the frame of the unloader with the long auger and heavy gearbox attached to it. The piece was about 12 feet long weighing a few hundred pounds.

They had it pulled 60 feet up to the top of the silo, and the man had it halfway through the roof opening, when his pulley setup ripped loose of the silo because of the ice.

The silo unloader piece came flying back out of the silo and went crashing to the ground with the pulley setup, landing just a few feet away from the man standing there. The man standing in the cage on top of the silo stayed up there and didn’t get hurt when all that stuff went crashing down around him. The man on the ground didn’t get hurt either.

It did damage my silo roof some and the cage the man was standing in. When it hit the ground, it bounced and hit the running board of the pickup, totally destroying it.

It also sent a small rock flying up like a bullet that hit my silo filler pipe, putting a hole in it the size of a man’s fist. The auger also got bent bad and had to be replaced. Needless to say, the men were really shaken.

It obviously was an answer to prayer and a miracle that nobody got hurt or killed here that day. The head man of the crew kept shaking his head saying, “We just got lucky; we just got lucky. We’ve been doing this for 18 years and never dropped an unloader.”

But luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. God did. And God did because we as a family prayed as we were led to by His Holy Spirit. God, as a loving Heavenly Father, longs to answer our prayers. And because He did, men’s lives were spared on that bitter cold November day. PD

The silo where the incident occurred. Photo courtesy of Tom Heck.

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Contact him by email, or order his new book at his website.