A Recipe Fresh off the Farm

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That’s a wrap!

Harvest season is over and now farm families begin to focus on a few other activities: Christmas, football and basketball seasons. All three new points of focus offer great opportunity for one thing: trying out a new recipe.

This week Harvest Land farmer-member Heather Hill partnered with the Indianapolis Colts Best Tailgate on Fox 59 WXIN Indianapolis and Registered Dietitian Kim Galeaz to introduce a tailgate (or Sunday afternoon couch session, or holiday party) recipe that uses a staple product from right off the farm: farm fresh pork.

While serving as an AGvocate and telling her  story on the news, Heather made a great point that farmers are the original tailgaters, since we eat so many meals on the tailgate of the truck during the spring and fall seasons. We couldn’t agree more! We also couldnt be more proud to have one of our members on television discussing how products grown right in here in our trade territory make it to the general consumers’ supper table.

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See the segment here.

Poblano Pork Chili

  • 1 ½ tablespoons corn or vegetable (soybean) oil
  • 2 pounds boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¾ cups finely chopped onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 jar (16 oz.) salsa verde (green chili salsa)
  • 2 large poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cans (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 2 cans (15.5 oz.) white or golden hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro

Garnishes/toppings: Crushed corn tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream, angel hair coleslaw, sliced radishes, lime wedges.

Heat oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add pork cubes and cook, browning on all sides and stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

Place pork in 5-quart slow cooker pot along with broth, onions, garlic, poblanos, green chilies, hominy, cumin, oregano, cloves, black and red pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. At the 7 ½ hour mark, remove ½ cup chili liquid in glass bowl and add flour; stir to make a paste.

Add this paste back to chili and stir well. Add beans and stir. Cook another 30 minutes or until chili is thickened slightly. Stir in cilantro. Serve with desired garnishes and toppings, and corn tortillas, too. Makes about 14-15 cups (7-8 servings).pork-poblano-chili

Recipe by culinary dietitian and nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN CD

We should note that even though this has affiliation with the Indianapolis Colts, we invite  Bengals fans to enjoy this recipe, too.

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Fire Training

Part of our commitment to the rural communities in which we do business is ensuring operational safety. We understand that our equipment, vehicles and busy employees burn up the road in small towns across Indiana and Ohio state lines, so safety for our employees, members and communities is our top priority.

In an effort to educate those who keep our home towns safe, we recently hosted fire training for local fire departments. Departments from Centerville-Abington, Williamsburg, Straughn and New Castle, Indiana each participated.

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The training allowed fire departments to do a live burn with propane tanks and also learn how to get flames under control in small teams. Participants were also coached on how to best shut off tanks.

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This education is fundamental in equipping responders – who may have to fight rural fires where propane heats residences – with the best understanding during pivotal circumstances. Harvest Land also donated the propane for the event.

We are grateful for the turnout we had and the interest shown by all departments. Thank you for working with Harvest Land to keep our communities and homes safe!

On His Way

No one likes unexpected company, so we’d like to give you a heads up now: A visitor is coming.

He won’t leave dried up toothpaste in the bathroom sink but he might be the reason for an extra long shower.

He won’t clean out your refrigerator or cupboards but he may be the reason why you insist on chili at least one night a week.

He won’t talk your ear off over morning coffee but he may be the reason you’re late to work.

Be warned: There is a very good chance he’ll overstay his welcome.

Old Man Winter

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Before he gets here, make sure you’re prepared for the guy. The preparedness goes beyond bags of salt, electric blankets on the beds and making sure the kids’ snow boots still fit (they don’t, by the way).

How can Harvest Land help? We’d like to help ensure that icing and gelling of your diesel fuel don’t interfere with your routine during these cold winter days.

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  1. Talk with your EnergyPro Specialist about adequately treating your bulk fuel tanks for the temperatures you will be dealing with this winter. Our energy professionals are trained to help customers develop plans for ensuring their diesel fuels will provide optimal performance all winter long.

2. Installing a 30 micron filter on your fuel storage tanks in preparation for the coldest months of the year can help insure the performance of your diesel fuel all winter long. Need new fuel storage tank filters? Contact us today for the winter diesel fuel supplies you need.

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3. Wind chills in the negative numbers will make outdoor experiences uncomfortable for people and animals, but will not have the same impact on diesel fuel. When determining how diesel fuels will operate, it is more important to study air temperatures. Over-treating diesel fuel with either additives or kerosene to compensate for bitterly cold wind chill factors can significantly increase the cost of operating your diesel engines. Our promise to our customers it to deliver premium diesel fuels that are properly treated to maximize fuel value and keep your diesel engines running strong all winter long.

4. Block heaters are not designed to warm an engine. They are designed to maintain the heat already generated in the engine. Thus it is crucial that the truck be plugged in while the engine is still warm.

5. Remember to unplug diesel vehicles before starting them. Two to three seconds of the engine running while the block heaters are plugged in is enough to burn out the block heaters.

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6. Icing can be as much of a challenge to diesel fuel, as can fuel gelling. Because of the threat of icing, we regularly check the fuel storage tanks we fill for moisture. In addition to good tank maintenance practices, CountryMark premium diesel fuels also contain powerful de-icers, which dramatically lower the point at which free water in the fuel system freezes.

7. Remember to drain fuel water separators. As the ambient air temperatures fall, the ability for water to condense in fuel tanks increases and can be carried into the filter/heater unit. During periods of extreme cold this should be done on a daily basis. The fuel filters on your vehicle are the only protection the engine has against contaminants in the fuel. A larger micron fuel filter should never be used to extend filter life or increase flow on the vehicle. It may void the warranty and can be damaging to the pump and/or the injectors.

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8. Be sure air hoses are hooked up to each other or to the dummy gladhands when the equipment is not in use. This is one of the leading causes of brakes freezing up.

9. Be sure gladhands hook up tight. If they go on loose they will come off in a tight turn and will cause unnecessary cycling of the air compressor. Make sure you have a nice and snug fit.

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10. When temperatures drop to their coldest, make sure you are running a HIGH CETANE diesel fuel. Cetane is a measure of diesel engine startability. The higher the cetane number, the quicker the fuel will ignite. CountryMark premium diesel fuels have a minimum cetane number of 50, which give these on-and off-road diesel fuels a significant advantage in colder conditions.

11. Did you know CountryMark kerosene is treated with lubricity additives to protect fuel injection system components? We don’t believe you should have to pick between cold weather operability and protecting your fuel injection system components. CountryMark premium diesel fuels are built to meet the needs of today’s modern diesel engines.

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12. Premium diesel engine oils, such as CountryMark Advantage 15W-40, are formulated to provide increased cold weather start-up protection at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the kind of diesel engine oil you need when temperatures are at their coldest!

13. In late winter months, temperatures can swing dramatically causing condensation to collect in fuel storage tanks, which can then lead to icing should temperatures drop again dramatically. Keeping fuel tanks full this time of year will minimize opportunities for condensation and ice-related fuel failures.

14. Mark your calendar to change fuel storage tank filters back to a 10 micron filter as spring weather approaches.

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Trumps Wins: Now What?

America just witnessed a presidential election like we’ve never seen before. As the dust settles and the nation gets back to business, we thought it might be insightful to provide some information regarding President elect Donald Trump’s take on agriculture.

Penton provided these questions and Mr. Trump responded.

Who will be your closest advisors in understanding more about the needs of rural America?

Trump: The Trump Administration will be a pro-agriculture administration. As president, I will fight for American farmers and their families. I am proud that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana will be our nation’s next vice president. Mike will be a trusted source of counsel for me on many issues, including agriculture. I have also assembled an Agriculture Advisory Committee comprised of dozens of leaders who represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities. Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving with them in serving all Americans from the White House.

The discussion now revolves around whom Trump has chosen to sit on his Ag Advisory Committee. The latest names are as follows:

▪ Charles Herbster, chairman of the advisory committee, Angus cattle farmer, Falls City, Neb.; owner of The Conklin Company, a chemical marketing-distribution company in Kansas City, Mo., and owner of a cattle breeding operation in Northern Virginia.

▪ Sam Clovis, national co-chair of the Trump campaign, professor at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa.

▪ Rebecca Adcock, senior director of government affairs, Crop Life America.

▪ Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

▪ Former Florida state Sen. J.D. Alexander, a Republican, former CEO of Atlantic Blue Group, Inc., a rural property company in central Florida, and of Alico Inc., and great-grandson of Napoleon B. Broward, governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909.

▪ Jay Armstrong, operator of Armstrong Farms, Muscotah, Kan., former chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission and former chairman of the Farm Foundation.

▪ Gary Black, Georgia agriculture commissioner.

▪ John Block, former Agriculture secretary, senior policy adviser at OFW Law.

▪ State Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-N.D.

▪ Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, a Republican.

▪ Charles Bronson, former secretary of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

▪ Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican.

▪ Edwin Camp, farmer and chairman of Western Growers.

▪ Chuck Conner, CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Conner is scheduled to be a speaker at our 2017 Winter Innovation Forum on February 22. He is going to present an update on how the election of Trump will directly affect agriculture.

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▪ Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

▪ Harold Cooper

▪ Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, a Republican.

▪ Former Michigan state Rep. Gene DeRossett, who also served as the Agriculture Department’s state director for Michigan.

▪ Former Rep. Tom Ewing, R-Ill.

▪ Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a Republican.

▪ Oklahoma state Sen. Eddie Fields, a Republican, chair of the state Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

▪ Former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill.

▪ Bill Flory, Idaho wheat farmer.

▪ Steve Foglesong, former president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

▪ Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a Republican.

▪ Bob Gray

▪ Bob Goodale, former CEO of Harris Teeter.

▪ Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

▪ Michigan state Sen. Mike Green, a Republican.

▪ Helen Groves, rancher, daughter of Robert Kleberg of King Ranch.

▪ John Harris

▪ Ron Heck, Iowa farmer and past president of the American Soybean Association.

▪ Former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican.

▪ Wyoming state Rep. Hans Hunt, member of the state House Agriculture Committee and rancher.

▪ Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

▪ North Carolina state Sen. Brent Jackson, Brent, a Republican.

▪ Rick Johnson

▪ A.G. Kawamura, farmer and former California food and agriculture secretary.

▪ John Kautz, CEO of Ironstone Vineyards, California.

▪ Doug Keesling, grain and livestock farmer, Kansas.

▪ Carol Keiser

▪ Charlotte Kelley, cotton grower and ginner, Tennessee.

▪ Mark Killian, farmer, rancher and Arizona state Agriculture commissioner.

▪ Charles Kruse, farmer and former president of Missouri Farm Bureau.

▪ Brian Klippenstein, executive director of Protect the Harvest.

▪ Trent Loos, writer.

▪ Forrest Lucas, CEO of Lucas Oil.

▪ Mike McCloskey, CEO of Fair Oaks Farm.

▪ Nebraska state Sen. Beau McCoy, a Republican.

▪ Ted McKinney, former director of global corporate affairs, Elanco Animal Health and current Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

▪ Bobby McKown

▪ Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture commissioner.

▪ Patrick Morrisey

▪ Jim Moseley, former Agriculture deputy secretary.

▪ Missouri state Sen. Brian Munzlinger, Republican and chairman of the Missouri Senate Agriculture Committee.

▪ Oklahoma state Sen. Casey Murdock, a Republican.

▪ Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers.

▪ Phil Nelson

▪ Steve Nelson

▪ Garry Niemeyer, former president of National Corn Growers Association.

▪ Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.

▪ Former Georgia Gov. Sonn Perdue, a Republican.

▪ Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former state Agriculture commissioner.

▪ Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Agriculture commissioner.

▪ Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group.

▪ Kimberly Reed

▪ Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese.

▪ South Dakota state Sen. Larry Rhoden, former House majority leader and Senate majority whip; chair, Senate Agriculture Committee.

▪ Bill Richards

▪ Al Rider

▪ Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican.

▪ Dale Reicks

▪ Martha Roberts

▪ Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

▪ Ken Rogers

▪ Marcus Rust, CEO of Rose Acre Farms, an Indiana egg producer.

▪ Leslie Rutledge, attorney general or Arkansas and co-chair of the National Association of Attorney General Agriculture Committee.

▪ Bill Schuette

▪ David Spears, former member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

▪ Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry commissioner.

▪ Red Steagall, official cowboy poet of Texas.

▪ Iowa state Rep. Annette Sweeney, former chair, Iowa House Agriculture Committee.

▪ Kip Tom, CEO of Tom Farms, Indiana, and farmer in South America.

▪ Johnny Trotter, CEO of BarG and Texas farmer.

▪ Steve Wellman, former president of the American Soybean Association.

▪ Walt Whitcomb, Maine agriculture commissioner.

▪ Georgia state Sen. John Wilkinson, a Republican, member of the state Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.

▪ Alan Wilson

▪ Doug Wilson

▪ Fred Yoder, chair of the The North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.

Source: The Hagstrom Report

Click here if you’d like to learn more about Trump’s possible Cabinet selections.

Agriculture has an estimated 2 million workers here illegally. How will you ensure the ag sector continues to remain viable and have access to needed workers? And what will be key components of your farm labor immigration policy?

Trump: I recognize the unique labor challenges facing the American farm community and will include farmers and ranchers in the process of determining the best possible immigration policies. To be clear, the Obama-Clinton system of open borders is wreaking havoc on our rural communities. Enormous stresses are being placed on state and local government services, while jobs for American citizens and wages for American workers are in decline.

Here are my three core principles of real immigration reform:

  1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
  2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
  3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

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Agriculture is very concerned about current costs and negative impact of over-regulation. How would you resolve that concern?

 Trump: Our nation’s regulatory system is completely broken. Terrible rules are written by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who often know nothing about the people they are regulating. The regulators have all of the power, and our nation’s farmers are often forced to endure costly, burdensome and unwise regulations that are bad for American farmers and consumers. In many instances, extreme environmental groups have more influence in setting the regulations than the farmers and ranchers who are directly impacted.

As president, I will work with Congress to reform our regulatory system. We will reduce the power of government bureaucrats, and increase the freedom of our nation’s farmers to be as productive as possible. We will increase transparency and accountability in the regulatory process. Rational cost-benefit tests will be used to ensure that any regulation is justified before it is adopted. Unjustified regulations that are bad for American farmers and consumers will be changed or repealed. There will be no more “sue and settle” deals with extreme environmentalists.

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Do you support the current Waters of the U.S. rule proposed by the Obama Administration? How do you plan to pursue this going forward?

Trump: No. I will eliminate the unconstitutional Waters of the U.S. rule, and will direct the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA to no longer use this unlawful rule and related guidance documents in making jurisdictional determinations. This rule is so extreme that it gives federal agencies control over creeks, small streams, and even puddles or mostly dry areas on private property. I will also ensure that these agencies respect the valid exclusions under environmental statutes for agricultural practices. As importantly, I will appoint a pro-farmer administrator of EPA.

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How will your tax plan benefit farmers?

 Trump: I have announced a comprehensive tax reform plan. Under my plan, we will:

  • Simplify taxes for everyone and streamline deductions. Biggest tax reform since Reagan.
  • Lower taxes for everyone, making raising a family more affordable for working families.
  • Dramatically reduce the income tax.
  • Simplify the income tax from 7 brackets to 3 brackets.
  • Exclude childcare expenses from taxation.
  • Limit taxation of business income to 15% for every business.
  • Make our corporate tax globally competitive and the United States the most attractive place to invest in the world.
  • End the death tax.

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The U.S. Farm Bill will be written during the next presidency. What do you envision being its key components?

Trump: The Trump-Pence Administration will be an active participant in writing the next Farm Bill and delivering it on time! Our farmers deserve a good farm bill written by those who are thankful for our remarkable food system in this country. I support a strong safety net for our nation’s farmers.

U.S. agriculture heavily relies on trade. How will you protect agricultural trade while renegotiating trade deals?

Trump: As president, I will be an aggressive proponent for defending the economic interests of American workers and farmers on the world stage. I will fight against unfair trade deals and foreign trade practices that disadvantage the United States. I strongly oppose TPP as drafted and will work hard to develop trade agreements that are in the national interest and benefit American workers, including our farmers.

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How do you anticipate encouraging policies that allow for protecting the environment while still protecting land owners’ rights and ability to use the land?

Trump: America is blessed with abundant natural resources and beautiful wildlife. Our nation has a proud tradition of conservation and stewardship. This is more true for farmers than anyone else. Farmers care more for the environment than the radical environmentalists. Regrettably, many of our federal environmental laws are being used to oppress farmers instead of actually helping the environment. For example, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has a poor track record of actually helping to recover animals at risk of extinction. In truth, the ESA has become a tool to block economic development, deny property rights to American landowners and enrich activist groups and lawyers, without actually helping those species that deserve protection. Instead of saving endangered species, the Obama-Clinton bureaucrats are endangering American workers with disastrous choices made at the whim of extreme activist groups.

As president, I will direct the Interior Department and Commerce Department to conduct a top-down review of all Obama Administration settlements, rules and executive actions under the Endangered Species Act and other similar laws, and we will change or rescind any of those actions that are unlawful, bad for American farmers and workers, or not in the national interest. I will also work closely with Congress to improve and modernize the Endangered Species Act—a law that is now more than 30 years old—so that it is more transparent, uses the best science, incentivizes species conservation, protects private property rights, and no longer imposes needless and unwarranted costs on American landowners.

With regard to property rights, it is also important to mention that I will appoint conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who will defend the constitutional rights and protections of all Americans.

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We encourage you to keep a pulse on the transition of leadership between the Obama administration and team Trump. As your farmer-owned cooperative, we’ll provide information as it becomes available to us.

Remember, a great resource for industry updates and information is our Winter Innovation Forum. Registration will open closer to the event and we hope to see you there.

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Interview answers pulled from Farm Progress

Farming or Being A Chicago Cubs Fan: A Comparison

We anticipate that the nation will continue to talk about the 2016 World Series game between the Cleveland Indians and the champion Chicago Cubs for some time to come. It may be one of those significant American events where we remember just where we were when the Cubs broke their 108-year streak of defeat.

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The living room of their first house?

Their cousin’s garage?

Their favorite bar on 18th Street?

Their college dorm?

Sitting with granddad?

Asleep in bed?

Cubs fans are a unique breed, aren’t they? Sticking around for decades in the darkest hours to celebrate – finally – in the brightest light. The more we talked about the World Series at the co-op, the more we agree that farming and being a Chicago Cubs fan isn’t that much different.

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Farming or being a Chicago Cubs Fan: Not for the Faint of Heart

You have to be a tough (crazy?) breed to base your income off of things completely out of control such as the weather, markets and international conflict. But farmers do just that every single year. They ride the markets, survive the drought and stay informed of what’s going on overseas because they know events near and far affect them. But their heart is strong and their heart is in being a farmer. So they stick with it.

For 108 years Cubs fans have watched from their living rooms, trekked into the city and sat in the garage with a radio beside them to tune into thousands of games. They’ve sat through bad calls, bad pitches, bad innings, bad seasons and – frankly – bad decades. But their heart is strong and their heart is in being a Chicago Cubs fan. So they stick with it.

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Farming or being a Chicago Cubs Fan: Living in a Constant Roller Coaster

Up or down.

Win or Lose.

Profit or Loss.

Strong or Weak.

Bull or Bear.

Drought or Flood.

The highs and lows of farming or being a Cubs fan can go on and on.

And the above can all be experienced in just a single year.

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Farming or being a Chicago Cubs Fan: Indescribable Dedication

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Farmers, nor Chicago Cubs Fans, can just shut it off. Good seasons or bad, they always come back. There is no sitting it out a year, trying a different career – or some other team – for a while to see if that works out better. No, farmers and Cubs Fans are both all in, all the time. They plan weddings around the season. They decorate their homes with pieces of their passion. They spend absurd amounts of money to stay in the game. Just one more year.

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Farming or being a Chicago Cubs Fan: It’s Genetic

Farmers tend to raise the next generation of farmers and Chicago Cubs Fans tend to raise the next generation of Cubs Fans. It’s just how life goes.

It’s a proven farm fact that a large majority of buddy seat passengers grow up to be tractor drivers or combine operators. The view from the cab is something farm kids learn to appreciate early, even if their head bounces on the window as they drift off to sleep to the hum of the engine growl. They’re doing what they love, with whom they love.

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The same can be said for Cubs fans, except we aren’t talking buddy seats, we’re talking cheap seats. Section 233, Row 5738, Seat Z: still the best seat in the house. They’re doing what they love, with whom they love.

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For those who farm and are also Chicago Cubs fans,
we have only three words to you brave, strong souls:

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Photo sourced from Joe Gooding

Halloween for a Farm Kid

Halloween is quickly approaching on Monday and there is even a good chance towns every where will celebrate the sugary event over the weekend. Plastic pumpkins, face paint and rubber masks that have melted in the attic are being pulled out of storage across America. While most children enjoy celebrating Halloween, there is just something different about the experience for farm kids.

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Rural Route

Trick-or-Treaters in urban areas have the good fortune of walking only 50± feet from one house to the next. The result? Hitting at least 30 houses before the town-wide curfew strikes.

Farm kids must take a different approach. They live on a rural route where loading up in the car and driving from farmhouse to farmhouse is mandatory to hit any kind of candy quota. They won’t hit thirty houses, but rather five. The only highlight to this is the fact that the rural neighbors usually anticipate exactly what local children will visit that night, making them more likely to have the best to hand out: individual goodie bags, homemade treats or even full size candy bars.

The down side to the Halloween rural route is that farm moms typically take approximately 30% of the candy loot in repayment for the gas they’ve used while driving all over the township. It’s Farm Mom science.

Farming Father

Go to town on trick-or-treat night and you’ll see a lot of fathers walking around with their children. But farm kids don’t always get that opportunity. Farm dads are usually still in the fields when October 31 rolls around. If it’s a nice enough evening to dress up and set out on a voyage in search of candy, it’s nice enough to get in another hundred acres. Consequently, Dad’s field lunch will feature 1-2 pieces of Halloween candy until at least November 15.

Grandparents’ Pride

While dad may not always make it to trick-or-treat, there is a very strong probability that grandparents will. No doubt about it, if grandparents live within twenty miles of the farm kid, they’ll see their pride and joy in costume. It’s just how life works.

Tried and True Costumes

There is an unwritten law that farm kids have a pre-determined set of Halloween costumes that rotate throughout the years:

Farmer (duh): It’s their dream job and it gives them reason to wear their favorite outfit

Cowboy/Cowgirl: Anything involving boots, buckles, fringe and a pony is alright for a farm kid

Hobo: Default costume. The Hobo costume is a solid sign that October 31 snuck up on the family. Hobo can be easily pulled together in a pinch. Farm kids just need to go to the clothes basket, pull out some dirty barn clothes, tie one of dad’s handkerchiefs to a stick to create a bindle and be done with it. Farm kids may get extra candy if they rub dirt on their faces.

Parent’s Occupation: Dressing as their parent, whether that be a farmer, teacher, nurse, veterinarian, construction worker, mommy, etc., is the equivalent as dressing as a super hero for a farm kid. Remember that.

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Save the Date: 2017 Winter Innovation Forum

While most might consider the winter months the off-season or “down time” for farmers, those involved in the day-to-day operations know that cold winter months equate to a calendar just as busy as April or October. Farmers may not be sitting in tractor cab or combine, but their time is divided between

4-H meetings

Church responsibilities

Digging out rural neighbors

High school and college basketball games

Serving at the soup kitchen

School board meetings

FFA banquets and events

And who could forget a quick jaunt down to Florida to thaw out the patient spouse?

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Harvest Land wants to be your resource for sound information to enable you to operate successfully, but we don’t want to cluster your calendar with meetings.

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That’s why we invite you to save the date for our Winter Innovation Forum,  which will bring agronomy, energy, feed and grain customers to one large meeting and trade show event on February 22, 2017. Nationally renowned industry leaders will deliver breaking industry news and updates to enable you to operate successfully.

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In 2016 this event brought nearly 700 growers and energy business owners to Richmond, Indiana.

What did attendees say about the 2016 Winter Innovation Forum? We’ll let them tell you, straight from our post-event survey:

Well worth my time being there. Well done

Excellent program! Speakers were informative, topics were spot on with agriculture in today’s world. Great job!

Hopefully this event continues

Comprehensive, well run, organized and relevant.

I really enjoyed the program, I was surprised on how many people I saw from my area. There was a great turn out and it was beneficial.

Some really top-notch speakers!! Thanks for putting this on and covering the cost of my pesticide application training

Great job! Great turn out and awesome atmosphere.

Excellent event! Great work Harvest Land!!

I thought it was a great day of information. Thank you for putting it together

Very well done, enjoyed the day.

Mark your calendar now and make plans to attend this powerhouse event on February 22, 2017 in Richmond, Indiana.

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Month of the Cooperatives

Harvest Land is proud to announce that October is National Cooperative Month. After all, what better time could there be than during harvest to reflect on everything cooperatives do for the farmers and ranchers who own them?

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As you’re busy bringing in what promises to be another banner harvest, consider how rural co-ops, empowered by the combined strength of their owners, ensure the steady supply of affordable inputs that make your crop possible.

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Co-ops help fuel machinery, as well as your entire operation, by providing the diesel fuel, agronomic expertise, seed, fertilizers, financing and crop protection you need — all to protect the bottom line. Co-ops also provide access to broader world markets for higher profitability.

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Now more than ever, ag operations are technology driven, and once again the co-op is there to help you stay current. Because the co-op is a business you own, you can trust it has your long-term interests in mind. And there’s no better proof than the patronage you receive just for doing business with a cooperative, as well as the reinvestment the co-op makes in order to serve your changing needs and stay relevant for generations.

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Cooperatives like Harvest Land build jobs, local communities and, ultimately, a stronger America. At Harvest Land, we have 300 full-time and more than 50 part-time workers and generate nearly $360 million in sales annually.

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That’s revenue that stays in east central Indiana and southwest Ohio, rather than going to some out-of-state (or out-of-country) business conglomerate. It’s money that feeds the local economy, causing a ripple effect as it travels through the local equipment dealership, grocery store, bank, restaurant, church and so on.

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It helps keep our young people firmly planted in the area, and it’s money we use to invest in them so that they can become the community leaders of the future. It’s dollars we put toward ensuring the safety of everyone who lives here, and it’s extended toward schools, public outreach programs and infrastructure that help keep our towns vibrant.

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While the annual celebration of the co-op only lasts a month, the benefits of the cooperative system are here for you all year long.

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Pumpkin Spice What-te?

Harvest season is upon us. You can drive down a rural highway and see dozens of semis burning up the road, grain carts waiting patiently in the end rows and combines off in the distance stirring up a cloud of dust. For many, it’s a favorite time of year.

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To the general public this season equates a brief but sincere infatuation with Pumpkin Spiced Lattes – or, pumpkin flavored anything, bonfires, tailgating, Halloween and an affinity for fall fashion.

To farmers the fall season means beeswings, buddy seat conversations, suppers on the tailgate, falling asleep to the hum of the grain dryer and flannel.

Like many things in life, farmers just see the fall season differently. For instance…

 

Pumpkin Spice What-te?

Consumers are strangely obsessed with pumpkin flavored anything during the last three months of the year. Pumpkin Spice Lattes (an over priced Starbuck’s coffee drink with a lot of nutmeg and whipped cream) began the trend, filling cup after cup with a jolt of caffeine that consumers associate with fall. People wait in seemingly endless lines for these drinks! That pumpkin spice must do something to the brain that makes consumers crave it, because following the pumpkin spice latte came pumpkin flavored Cheerios, Triscuits, Blizzards, Peeps, ice-cream, marshmallows, bagels and Jello. I’m exhausted and it’s only October 7.

 

Farmers – on the other hand – are not strangely obsessed with pumpkin spice anything. What drink do they keep close during harvest season? Mt. Dew. Buckets of it.

What food do they crave while sitting hours in a combine? Their wife’s lasagna. With garlic cheese bread.

Also, farmers tend to be set in their ways. So if any marketing folks from David are reading this, I wouldn’t even think about adding pumpkin flavored sunflower seeds to your product portfolio.

Don’t. Mess. With. The. Sunflower. Seeds.

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Dry Enough

Consumers see a clear Saturday night forecast and are thrilled it’s dry enough to finally throw some firewood together, call up friends and gorge themselves on s’mores. They sit and talk about life, the clear autumn sky and how bright the stars seem.

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Farmers – on the other hand – only equate dry autumn weather with perfect conditions to get 300 more acres harvested before tomorrow’s church service. They don’t associate a chill in the air with a bonfire. They associate it with the goal of getting a field done before the rain moves in. As for the clear sky full of October stars? Well they’re not able to enjoy them until every piece of machinery is shut down and all lights are out; cab controls and lights have a funny way of dimming even the brightest stars for farmers.

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Fall Fashion

This season fashion magazines are saturated with Hunter boots, wool socks, denim, thermal vests,  and plaid. You can walk into any department store – or search any Pinterest board – and find the aforementioned on rack after rack and mannequin after mannequin.

 

Farmers – on the other hand – only have to look as far as their dresser for every single item that Vogue magazine deems “trend-worthy”.

Hunter boots?

Farmers call them Muck boots and they’re a lot warmer and more functional.

Wool socks?

Farmers never thought of them as fashionable, they just keep their feet warm in cold weather and are less likely to fall down inside their boot.

Denim?

Farmers have kept every pair of jeans they’ve bought (or their spouses have bought) in the last 15 years. They’ve been patched, mended and stitched and are just getting broken in.

Thermal vests?

Been there. Done that. Farmers have approximately 12 and each has a different seed corn brand or implement logo on the chest. Thermal vests keep their core warm and arms free.

Plaid?

Farmers have never known a day without plaid in it. It’s called flannel. Period.

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With plenty of Mt. Dew.

 

 

Back-to-School for the Farm Kids

Farms kids across the U.S. are reluctantly putting on the new jeans their mothers bought them, cleaning off their work boots and heading back to school this month. They’re trading in show numbers for scientific calculators, pig whips for pencil pouches and buddy seat rides for bus rides. Bummer.

The back to school commercials are in full swing. Paper and pencils and lunch totes, oh my! I saw a Today Show special recently where they highlighted all the new gadgets today’s students must have to be successful – and probably trendy – this year. Not a single item highlighted looked like it belonged in the backpack of a farm kid. I saw no bailing twine, duck tape or wire cutters.

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So what are the top three things farm kids need to go back to school this season?

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Leather Water-Proofer

Farm kids don’t have the luxury of utilizing a sidewalk all the way to school, or even waiting at a bus stop. Farm kids usually walk down a long lane, one lined with corn, soybeans, pine trees or cattle. During that walk they can’t seem to avoid the thick morning dew, especially when things go awry in the night, as they often do on the farm. Sometimes they’re chasing an unruly heifer or curious colt back in right around the time they’re supposed to be boarding the bus. Leather water-proofer ensures that farm kids can participate in the early morning ranch rodeo and still get to school wearing dry socks. Leather water-proofer also allows the blooming agronomist to check all the corn and soybeans they want and still arrive to school with dry feet. Five rows in feet won’t even begin to get soggy!

Track-a-Belt

Now, I haven’t seen this on the Wal-Mart shelves, but I know there is a market for it. The Track-a-Belt is a small tracking device attached to a young man’s belt that allows for instant location of the often-lost leather waist strap. This contraption is particularly useful for young men ages 10 – 17 that, for whatever reason, have an incredibly tough time finding their belt every early morning. They ask parents, siblings, and the dog: “Have you seen my belt?”. They go on to check the bedroom, living room, washroom, barn and the truck. Usually the search lasts approximately seven minutes. Just long enough for the young man to narrowly make the rural route school bus. The Track-a-Belt will make mornings easier on every person in the family.

Industrial Strength Hand Wipes

The industrial strength detail is important for a farm kid. These hand wipes can be packed conveniently in a backpack side pocket and used on the bus, in the car or in the classroom. Industrial strength hand wipes allow the back-to-school farm kid to grab a greased bolt, a sick kitten, a newborn calf/piglet/colt/kid, a poison ivy plant, a wet dog, a shop rag or a pitch fork covered in who knows what and quickly wipe their hands clean (somewhat) in the absence of a sink and bar of soap. Note: Farm kid should use said sink and bar of soap as soon as they’re available. Especially if they held the sick kitten.

This back-to-school season, focus on the functional items the farm kids in your life really need. Functionality: That’s one more thing to appreciate about farm kids. They don’t necessarily need a savvy place to rest their cell phone. Sometimes they only need dry feet, a trusty belt and clean hands.

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