Harvest Land Co-op Merges with Co-Alliance, LLP

When the original articles of incorporation were written for county cooperatives in the 1920’s, the organizations were being founded on the idea that farmers could be more successful working together as a collective whole than individually. Cooperatively, they could pool resources to gain product more quickly, at a better price, in a larger quantity to serve all. It worked well in in 1920’s – and it still does today. 

Today we’re excited to formally announce that Indiana-based agriculture and energy cooperatives Harvest Land Co-op and Co-Alliance, LLP boards and memberships have overwhelmingly agreed to merge.  

The new organization will be named Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc. and the merger will take effect on February 1, 2021.  This merger will create a cooperative that is focused on delivering an unmatched customer experience to our shareholders. 

The newly formed Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc. services customers Indiana, Ohio, Michigan & Illinois. It has four core divisions, including Agronomy, Energy, Grain and Swine & Animal Nutrition.  Together, this new cooperative will have over 900 employees and $1 billion in sales.  Co-Alliance Cooperative will be headquartered in Avon, Indiana.  

The boards have chosen Kevin Still, current CEO of Co-Alliance LLP, to be the new CEO of the merged cooperative.

“Co-Alliance Cooperative brings together two extremely strong cooperatives with a successful history of servicing member-owners at the highest level.  I anticipate this powerful combination will provide synergies and resources that will enhance our customers’ experience and prepare us to meet the needs of our future stakeholders,” said Kevin Still 

Harvest Land CEO Scott Logue will be the Executive Vice President of Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc. 

“Merging Co-Alliance & Harvest Land enriches our ability to embrace the cooperative spirit by focusing on our member’s needs and investing in our local communities.  This historic merger creates a cooperative that can proactively navigate the ever-changing industries we service and provide an environment in which our customers & employees thrive,” added Scott Logue.

And now, we hustle. 

Before spring comes in like a lion and planters begin rolling we have a lot of work to do. 

You’ll see our logo change from the Harvest Land aerial view of fields to the promising horizon of the Co-Alliance brand. 

You’ll also see our social media accounts merge into the Co-Alliance Cooperative account (make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram!). 

And by the way – you’ll see your dependable fuel driver still arrive on the farm, your propane deliverer still pull a hose to your house and you’ll still hear that familiar voice when you call us with a question. 

Because our people and local service aren’t going anywhere. Everyone remains in place, working for our customers in our rural communities. And we couldn’t be more excited to continue to Cultivate Communities as Co-Alliance Cooperative.

(Say that last sentence three times fast.)

We’re happy to welcome you to Co-Alliance Cooperative and we look forward to remaining your local source for Agronomy, Energy, Grain and Swine & Animal Nutrition.

Salute to Service: Vickie Ramsey

You may be able to find similar product offerings in other places, but you’ll never be able to replicate the people that make Harvest Land what it is today. That’s why we’re so excited to share with you another Salute to Service nomination and this one was awarded third place in the 2020 contest. Vickie Ramsey rides for the Harvest Land brand long after she leaves the Richmond office for the day.

Nomination was submitted by the Manship Family.

Good evening, Harvestland Team! 
We would like to nominate one of your employees for the Salute to Service award. We are customers of Harvestland and value so much all of your work and service. All of your employees have been delightful. One, however, we would like to elevate for your awareness and consideration for this award. 

We would like to nominate Vickie Ramsey. Vickie has gone above and beyond to exemplify positivity, hope and dedication in the community.  They ways in which Vickie serves others is immeasurable.  For years, Vickie has helped lead a 4-H club in her community. This year was exceptionally challenging since face-to-face meetings, workshops, and activities were all canceled.  Most leaders in any organization simply paused activity as a spring/summer quarantine led Hoosiers to “hunker down” and isolate. However, Vickie recognized that the values of staying positive, doing hard work, connectivity to friends and family, and honoring a commitment to doing your best and persevering, should not be lost. She recognized a sense of normalcy for youth (and our communities) was desperately needed.  So, Vickie started an initiative all on her own which helped keep youth connected and engaged via Facebook in positive ways.  In a time when so much had been canceled or was uncertain, Vickie stepped up to help the youth connect online, share their work virtually, see each other online and find hope in the chaos.  The importance of that was impactful in such a scary time for kids of school cancellations, elearning stress, event cancels, etc.  Furthermore, Vickie was one of the first people to step forward to help the community ensure a safe and covid-compliant fair which met guidelines of Purdue, Health Departments and more.  She volunteered multiple hours, attended numerous meetings and worked multiple shifts before, during and after the fair – all to help the youth and serve the kids.  Without her efforts, the outcome would have been different for our county and the children. 

Additionally, Vickie has led several efforts to collect donations for masks, food drives for those in need, and collected and delivered hundreds of socks for those in need.  She’s done all of these (and more) while exemplifying care for neighbors, strangers, ensuring safety, and genuinely valuing her fellow friends.  She’s done all of this with an hope-filled and positive attitude while navigating tough  challenges.  

Since our kids suggested we nominate Vickie, we asked them why.  Here is what they said: 

“Vickie makes me feel good because you know how much she cares about our club and each one of the kids in it. She would go out of her way to help any of us. I would call her if I ever needed help.”

“Vickie makes me feel like I still matter even if I don’t get a really big award. She knows I still did my best and she always makes me feel good.” 

“Vickie makes me happy and is so nice to me.”

“Vickie is really just like a superhero. She never gives up, she includes people, she is kind. She just makes everyone better.” 

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to nominate Vickie Ramsey and we hope you will consider her worthy of winning your award. She’s an amazing ambassador for Harvestland. She’s changing our community, our youth and individual lives for the better. We are grateful to know her. 

Respectfully submitted,
The Manship Family 

We’re grateful to the Manship family for the effort and time they put into this nomination of Vickie. We’re also proud to have such a person on the Harvest Land team! Congratulations to Vickie for receiving such a nomination.

Salute to Service: Royce Cook

You can’t go wrong with sharing good news, especially in a week such as this. We continue to read through the Salute to Service nominations that were submitted on behalf of our employees and feel quite proud to work among some fantastic people. 2020 certainly wasn’t all bad.

This nomination was special because it was written by a farmer-member, rather than an employee. This week we salute Royce Cook, who won second place ($500 and a vacation day!). Royce is the Manager of our East Crops division, which includes Mt. Summit, Oakville and Dunreith Ag Centers.

Nomination was submitted by farmer-member Dale French.

I would like to nominate Royce Cook, Mt. Summit Coop, as an example of a very positive and encouraging employee.  Royce has often been the first to arrive and the last to leave the plant.  It doesn’t matter if you farm 10,000 acres or 500 acres, Royce treats everyone with respect.  He can answer any question you ask of him.  If he doesn’t know the answer, he will find someone who does and get back with you. Royce will always go beyond his expectations just to keep us up and running by coming in early or staying late.  He will often check at the end of the day to see if you need one more tank of anhydrous.  Royce will come in on Sundays and prepare for those of us who think we can’t pass up a good day of sunshine. This past spring I was applying way too much anhydrous and through coming to the field, not once but two or three times, Royce determined I definitely had an external problem.  After bleeding down my hoses and carefully taking my manifold apart, the next day we discovered a hole in the external gasket.  To save me a 2 1/2 hour trip to get one, Royce was able to have one couriered back to me via one of his employees.  This is just one of many tasks Royce gets accomplished. Royce Cook is an outstanding individual, a man who wears many hats. He never has a negative comment and never compares one person to another. I’m sure you know value in people and to so many of us, in or near Henry County, Royce is one of our most valuable assets. My wife and I have often commented, “when Royce retires, so are we”. Whether Royce wins this or not, I’ve always wanted to tell this to someone.  NOW I HAVE!!!

THANK YOU, DALE, FOR THIS FANTASTIC NOMINATION!

2020 Salute to Service Winner Announced

The most gratifying employee program we organize annually is the Salute to Service contest. We receive a tremendous amount of nominations from customers and employees, telling stories of the impactful things our employees do during their day-to-day jobs.

2020 was no different. We’ll share more nominations with you throughout the year, but to kick off 2021 we want to announce the winner and winning nomination.

Nomination written by Teri Dunlavy, Harvest Land’s Credit Manager:

I am nominating Luann Nichol for a 2020 salute to service award.  Luann is well known in her position as HR Manager, but I want to make sure she becomes well known for her heart and dedication to Harvest Land, our board of directors and all of us as employees.  

Luann plays a very important role in not only making sure we get our paychecks every payroll period, she makes sure we are incompliance with labor laws, workman’s comp rules, accident protocol, new employee on boarding, making sure driver’s licenses are current, health physicals are current, mediates tough employee – supervisor conversations, is a great ear for employees needing to vent about work life and often times homelife (I am sure I am missing some key things but you get the idea).  Luann carries our burdens when we are sick and rejoices with us when we have great things happen.  The things she assists us with are not things that can be turned off at 5:00 when official work hours are over.  Sometimes I am sure, she will carry those experiences, relationships, and things she has supported us through for the remainder of time.   

Luann is always the face of Harvest Land and is on call to us 24-7.  I have witnessed people calling her on her vacations, returning e mails on vacation and coming back early from vacations to take care of the needs of employees or our board of directors so that we would have the above mentioned pay checks in our bank accounts on time, help for our busy seasons hired in time, assistance with our enrollment in our benefits packages.  Prior to being at Harvest Land, my previous employers handed out our benefits packages with a deadline for them to be returned. We were expected to figure it out and utilize resource websites or benefit reps on our own.  The service that Luann offers goes above and beyond that.  Luann has made sure that either she or someone from her staff goes through every single benefit package with every employee to make sure they understand their selections and that they feel comfortable with those.  It has also been my experience at other places that pay checks were direct deposited and access to pay stubs and W-2 forms were all on-line.  No exceptions figure out a way to access your information. As employees of Harvest Land, we have a choice in this and that is largely due to the fact that Luann is ok with adding the extra work for her department to allow us to have what is convenient for us rather than what would be convenient for her. 

With the onset of Covid-19, her responsibilities to keep us all safe increased enormously.  She has had to keep up with CDC guidelines and state mandates for Ohio and Indiana, take texts or phone calls at almost all hours to answer questions and explain steps necessary to keep illness down within the company and keep up with how our ill employees are doing.  These conversations and protocols are nothing she has any input in but must see that we comply.  These conversations and the affects that the circumstances have on the employees, their families and our company are all taken very seriously and often I would imagine weigh heavily on Luann as I have witnessed her care and concern for the Harvest Land employees over the years I have worked across the hall from her. 

When we see Luann, she has a smile for us and a calm presence in listening for the facts and even with the tough conversations she has to have she does so with that same calm presence unless the situation calls for a bit of her mom like sternness.  (She is not afraid to use her mom voice!) In my location within the office, I sometimes have a window into just exactly how worried she becomes for our individual well-being.  Luann is more than her title to Harvest Land.  She is an integral part of what we as employees need every day, even when we do not know we need her. 

This pattern of doing what is needed within Harvest Land has been evident throughout her career.  I am confident that I am only mentioning a few of all the many ways she serves Harvest Land.  She has held job titles of Credit Manager, Administrative assistant to the board of directors and CEO in addition to HR manager.  In each position, it is my understanding that when asked, she was willing to take on new things and do what was needed when asked.  She is still doing this today as HR manager and this dedication to us all is why I believe she is worthy of a salute to service! 

Thank you to those who made a nomination for the 2020 contest. We look forward to sharing more stories with you throughout 2021!

2020 Harvest Elite Winners Announced

On Monday we went live on our YouTube channel and announced our 2020 Harvest Elite yield contest winners. It was interesting to learn that the winners of this contest in its inaugural year would not have even made the top 5 in 2020! Harvest Elite is comprised of innovative, competitive growers to who actively seek solutions for better yield, year after year. Below you’ll find the winners and results.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!

If you’d like to watch the full awards program and learn more about the benefits of Harvest Elite, we invite you to view it on our YouTube channel:

Harvest Strong Program Reaps Rewards

Our Harvest Strong yield contest, which is a Harvest Land and Dekalb Asgrow program, had a record number of growers participate in 2020. Check out the list of growers who submitted yields:

We recently held our virtual awards program and announced the first and second place winners, who were awarded an all-expense paid trip to a tropical destination in 2022!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING WINNERS!

We encourage you to take a few minutes and watch the video of the conclusion of the 2020 Harvest Strong program. There is tremendous insight about the 2020 growing season and hybrids and traits.

Do you want to be a part of Harvest Strong in 2021? Sign up now by contacting your YieldPro Specialist!

Merger Vote Information Available

This week the staff in our Richmond office filled more than 4,500 envelopes with the 2020 Annual Report, director election information and many details regarding the upcoming merger vote with Co-Alliance. All should arrive in farmer-members’ mailbox in the next couple of days.

This week we want to ensure you have access to all of the information regarding the upcoming merger vote. We invite you to you visit our website which has:

  • Rationale for the merger between Harvest Land and Co-Alliance
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Information about voting by proxy and how you can easily do so
  • The vote timeline
  • Access to the virtual meeting to be held December 18 at 1:00 PM EST where you can ask President/CEO Scott Logue your questions
  • A map of the proposed districts

Learn more at WWW.HARVESTLANDCOOP.COM/MERGER

“This is the most exciting opportunity for our farmer-members that I can recall since I began my work with the co-op twenty years ago. This will absolutely allow us to bring them more purchasing power, robust offerings and resources that we’ve never had access to before. All while still working with the same folks and faces they know at the local level. Fuel drivers, ag center support and beyond will remain working for the members.”

Scott Logue, Harvest Land President/CEO, recently remarked to employees

We encourage you to read through the information that will soon arrive in your mailbox and visit the website. Do you have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our main office at 765-962-1527.

Gratitude Send-Off

A Thanksgiving unlike any that we’ve ever seen has passed. Some families still met in old farmhouses big enough to socially distance. Some families ate in the shop since the combine has already been cleaned up and stored for the year. Some families, out of an abundance of caution, relectuactly called the gathering off all together.

How did you celebrate?

The conclusion of Thanksgiving means that the next month will be a whirlwind of shopping, planning and decorating. Endless desires will come from childrens’ mouths (has the toy catalog hit your mailbox yet?) and adults may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to get everything done in time.

But what would happen if we started now, the day after Thanksgiving, and committed to extending the season of gratefulness, instead of the stigma of busyness?

Rather than making a list of wants, let’s make a list of things we’re grateful for. Rather than wishing for more during this next month, let’s find contentment in what we have.

Perhaps if we spend the next 35 days focusing on the things we’re thankful for, we’ll realize 2020 wasn’t all that bad, after all.

Beginning today, we invite you to use this sheet to record the 35 things you’re grateful for as we wrap up 2020. You can download and print the PDF by clicking the button below this form:

We hope that a change in perspective this holiday season will refresh your spirit and allow you to look to 2021 with great optimism.

Harvest Elite & Strong Events Going Virtual

In an effort to protect the health and safety of our growers and employees, we’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the in-person Harvest Strong and Harvest Elite Awards Dinners, which were to be held at Montgomery’s Steakhouse in December.

We always look forward to this night tremendously, and enjoy the excitement of the announcement of our yield contest winners. 

Go Outside

The days are getting noticeably shorter. “Quitting time” arrives and many are forced to drive home in the dark. Now more than ever, it is important to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Being outside has many health benefits and a view like the one below might give you the nudge to go outside, even as the sunlight is drifting away.

Looking south from our Pershing Ag Center

Why Go Outside?

1. Being outdoors boosts your energy. 

Craving another cup of coffee? Skip the caffeine and sit outside instead. One study suggests that spending 20 minutes in the open air gives your brain an energy boost comparable to one cup of coffee. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe energy.

2. The outdoors is good for your vision. 

Research shows that elementary school students who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop nearsightedness. But down that iPad and go get some fresh air! Also, they’re bound to sleep better once their head hits the pillow if they’ve spent adequate time in the great outdoors.

3. The outdoors boosts your immune system. 

Scientists think that breathing in phytoncides—airborne chemicals produced by plants—increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases.  That’s more important now than it has ever been.

4. The outdoors provides you with free aromatherapy. 

According to science, you really should stop and smell the flowers. Research shows that natural scents like roses, freshly cut grass, and pine make you feel calmer and more relaxed. Bath & Body works may have a soap called “Fresh Sparkling Snow” but getting outside in the actual white fluffy stuff is much better for your well-being!

5. The outdoors enhances creativity. 

Do you have a writing project, church assignment or community obligation that requires your creative ideas? Getting outside gets your mind flowing and you’re bound to find new views and interesting objects all around you. Change your perspective on a walk.

6. The outdoors helps with seasonal affective disorder.  

In the winter, shorter days and lower light levels can trigger seasonal affective disorder, or sad—a reoccurring condition that’s marked by symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion, and sadness. Doctors say spending time outside can lessen sad’s severity—even if the weather’s cold or overcast.

7. Being outdoors gives you your daily dose of vitamin d.

Vitamin d is essential for a well-functioning body. It helps us absorb calcium, it prevents osteoporosis, and it reduces inflammation, among other things. Although vitamin d is present in some foods we get more than 90-percent of our vitamin d from casual exposure to sunlight.

Interview one of our many employees about their role at Harvest Land and they will tell you that being outside is one of their favorite parts of their personal role within the cooperative. Operating equipment, visiting with farmers at the farm gate and delivering product are all ways our employees keep that fresh air flowing.

Now, quit reading this an go outside!