QC nonprofit champion Clark chosen to lead Farm Rescue

Former Deere exec’s next focus farm families

Nate Clark
Among the things Farm Rescue does for families in need is bale hay during an emergency. Nate Clark will be its next executive director. CREDIT FARM RESCUE

Nate Clark, a former John Deere executive, has been named the incoming executive director for Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing support to farm families who have experienced a major illness, injury or natural disaster. 


Nate Clark

Farm Rescue is based in Horace, North Dakota. It provides free planting, haying, harvesting, commodity hauling and livestock feeding assistance to farm families facing challenges in life. Farm Rescue provides assistance to farm and ranch families in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Farm Rescue’s greatest source of strength in serving farm families has always been our people,” Bill Gross, the organization’s founder and president, said in a news release announcing Mr. Clark’s new post. “To accomplish our work, we depend upon exceptional staff, tireless volunteers, and generous supporters. Nate Clark builds upon this strength through his philanthropic expertise, industry knowledge, and proven commitment to the dignity of farm families and rural communities.”

Mr. Clark, of Bettendorf, joins Farm Rescue after a 20-year career at John Deere. There he served in many leadership capacities. That includes most recently as the Moline-based company’s global director of corporate social responsibility and president of the John Deere Foundation. 

Under his leadership, John Deere earned its first-ever recognition through The Civic 50 as one of the 50 most community minded companies in America. 

Deere sets giving record

Mr. Clark also designed the John Deere Foundation’s strategy to invest at least $200 million from 2021 through 2030. 

During his tenure, John Deere invested a record $55.5 million in charitable giving in 2022. It put an enhanced focus on ending hunger around the world and raising up its home communities. Among the investments was a $300,000 grant to kickstart the Rock Island West End Revitalization plan. 

“Farm Rescue embodies one of the strongest values found in agricultural communities across the country – the commitment to lend a hand to someone in need,” Mr. Clark said in the release.

“Inspired by this shared value, Farm Rescue’s staff, volunteers, and supporters have created a vital lifeline for farm families facing crises that threaten their wellbeing and very existence. I am privileged to join this extraordinary group.”

In an email to the QCBJ, he said “I’m particularly thrilled to be joining Farm Rescue as it approaches its 20th anniversary. Despite having grown to serve more than 1,000 families across the Midwest, including in Iowa and Illinois, we know there are far more farm families that deserve the dignity of a helping hand in times of need.”

Mr. Clark has been celebrated for his work in the Quad Cities. For example, he received YWCA’s Male Champion of Change Award in 2023 and was named one of the QCBJ’s Most Influential Leaders the same year. 

Earlier this year, Mr. Clark stepped down from his roles at John Deere. He wrote at the time in a social media post “From John Deere’s social responsibility experts and thousands of John Deere volunteers and philanthropists, I learned that we all have the capacity to make the world better if we are earnest.” 

Volunteer ready to lead

Farm Rescue Senior Development Officer Tim Sullivan has served as the organization’s executive director the past two years. With the addition of Mr. Clark to the organization, Mr. Sullivan will continue growing support for the nonprofit. That includes through business sponsorships, individual donations and grant funding as the leader of Farm Rescue’s development team. 

“Nate Clark brings a wealth of philanthropic experience to help lead Farm Rescue’s mission and take our efforts to the next level,” Mr. Sullivan said. “This is an exciting time for our organization under new leadership.” 

Mr. Clark will officially assume his new role as executive director in mid-June, the release said. But the organization said as a past volunteer he has already provided support and expertise to several administrative projects in the past. 

Farm Rescue was founded in 2005. It has helped more than 1,000 families since its inception including a dozen families and eastern Iowa. Its mission is to help farmers and ranchers experiencing a major illness, injury, or natural disaster. Farm Rescue does so by providing the necessary equipment and volunteer labor to perform time-sensitive services. In 2023, Farm Rescue added Illinois to its service territory, and has served five farm families to date.  

“I am proud that the Quad Cities has been a powerful source of support for Farm Rescue over the years with many volunteers and donors, such as John Deere and Wyffels Hybrids, calling this community home,” Mr. Clark told the QCBJ.

Applications are currently being accepted for assistance. Get help at www.farmrescue.org or call (701) 252-2017.

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