Drought hasn't dried up Dinuba farmer's generous spirit

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Four years of drought have hit Valley farms, ranches and dairies hard with many of them forced to shut down. But a Fresno farmer whose wells were running dry was surprised to learn a grower he barely knew was determined to save his farm.

The drought has slowed the flow of water and dried up most of Will Scott Jr.'s farm. Idle equipment sat on idle land. His old ag well only provided for five of his 45 acres.

Scott said, "Right now this is a serious situation for me. You hope to see a light at the end of the tunnel."

That light was coming from Sweet Home Ranch in Dinuba where 68-year old Paul Buxman heard about Will's water woes.

Buxman explained, "The community can't let this man go. I don't think we can afford to let him fall through the cracks."

The 75-year-old Scott sells black-eyed peas and okra at farmers markets in Fresno and Oakland. Will has used his farm to teach kids about hard work. "It's something that we need. This is how civilization was started - farming."

Will's mission compelled Buxman to help.

Paul said, "He hasn't been farming fruit and produce just to make a bunch of money. He actually says it's his calling to bring back a healthy diet to people in Fresno especially within his own community."

Scott needs about $40,000 to drill two 350-foot wells.

Buxman is asking farmers and others to sponsor Will's well for $50 a foot.

"It sounds like a lot but there's a lot of people here."

These two guys aren't old buddies. They met once many years ago but now share a spiritual bond.

Scott said, "I think as we go through this life sometimes God brings people into your life who have an answer to what you're going through or try to give you some optimism."

Buxman added, "Everybody's used to putting money in a plate as it passes at church. This is what this is."

Will was thankful but said other farmers were more deserving.

Buxman said, "He's got pride but I'm going to tell him to put that in his back pocket for a while."

Art is Paul Buxman's other passion. The drought has painted Will Scott into a corner.

Lithographs will be given to everyone who donates. Paul said Scott represented the American family farm. "I think those are the ones we really want to hang onto."

Paul doesn't use a computer though he has heard of twitter and something he called "myface."

Buxman said, "I'm good at driving a tractor. I can paint. I cannot do that. I cannot click very good. I'm just totally clickless."

But Paul Buxman has given Will Scott a reason for the next growing season.

Scott said, "When you get a voice like that saying we'd like to help you. Even just a word someone wants to help you it inspires you to say okay, I'm gonna hold on. I'm gonna persevere."

Other sites are expected to be set up to accept donations for Will Scott, Jr.

If you would like to help you can donate to:

4399 AVENUE 400
DINUBA, CA 93618
(559) 696-7187
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