It's a true story of dedication, love, and loss. Two young women are being called heroes by their family and friends after saving the family farm. Boyd Huppert takes us to Lamberton, Minnesota for this touching story. WATCH.
Miranda and Kaycee Altermatt were just 20 and 22 when their grandfather asked them a question that would alter the course of their lives: “Do you WANT to farm?”
Days earlier, their father, Perry Altermatt, had been killed in a boating accident. Their dad's only brother died tragically in a skid loader accident back in the 1980s. Now, after two unexpected accidents, the two girls were left to inherit a 1,300-acre family farm in crisis.
Their father had built up the farm for more than 50 years after he had taken over the farm from his own father. Perry always said, “when you build something, you want it to continue to be built.”
So when Miranda and Kaycee’s grandfather asked them if they wanted to farm, they only had one answer: “We’re going to help.”
WATCH THE STORY ABOUT KAYCEE AND MIRANDA ABOVE.
At the time of their father’s death, neither Kaycee nor Miranda had ever planted corn or driven a combine. Now, five and half years later, the girls have completed their fifth harvest and have learned to effectively operate large machinery, further proving to their neighbors and relatives that the sisters are in it for the long haul.
“I wasn't sure if they were up to it, but I am now,” says Scott Haas, their uncle who drives out from the Twin Cities to lend a hand during harvest. (Scott is their mom's brother.) “They’re learning fast,” their grandfather proudly says from the seat of his pickup, where the 79-year-old keeps a watchful eye on the harvest.
Kaycee, 5' 2", maneuvers a massive John Deere harvester through 12 rows of corn at a time. She looks to her left as her younger sister Miranda pulls up in a tractor with a grain cart to offload the shelled corn.
“Terrifying,” is the word Kaycee uses to describe her first time driving the combine.
Yet Miranda, also looking back, sums up the feelings of both siblings. “If we didn't take it over then who would?”
“We lost both boys,” says Barb Altermatt, mother to Doug and Perry, tears welling in her eyes, thinking especially of that dark summer night in July of 2012, when the boat being driven by Perry slammed into a bridge on Lake Shetek.
Miranda and her mother, Tammy, the only other people aboard, both survived the crash. “You got to go on,” says Tammy, wiping away a tear.
With help from their grandpa, friends, and relatives, Kaycee and Miranda have done exactly that.
This story originally produced by KARE-TV in Minneapolis (NBC).