Friends take over harvest after Amelia farmer dies cleaning equipment

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. – A group of Amelia farmers did not hesitate to help the family of a fallen friend during their darkest hours.

Wayne Keener, 86, died Tuesday cleaning equipment on his Amelia farm.

Soon after Mr. Keener’s body was discovered in his combine, fellow farmers Howard Easter, Wallick Harding and Kerry Harding took over harvesting Keener’s barley crop so the Keener family could grieve and make funeral arrangements.

“It’s just something that you do. I know my friends would certainly help my family if they were in need,” farmer Kerry Harding, 51, said. In addition to being friends, Harding and Keener were cousins.

“Wayne and [his wife] Nellie are the nicest couple in Amelia,” Harding said. He added despite his advanced age, Wayne Keener continued to do everything around the farm.

The circumstances surrounding Keener’s death, while not suspicious, remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon, according to Amelia Sheriff Rick Walker.

“They’re going to take care of what needs to get done,” Walker said about farmers’ helping mentality.

Keener’s farming friends took care of about 60 acres of barley crop that needed harvesting, he said. The barley crop must be taken care of before the weather beats it down, Harding added.

Funeral arrangements for Wayne Keener have not yet been made public.

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