America’s Got Talent

There is a familiar topic often discussed around the tanks, bins and offices of our farmer-owned cooperative: Finding good help. 

Today more than ever we’re in constant need of individuals who are willing and able to work. But we understand that we’re not alone in this need. We visit with other cooperatives, agriculture industry partners and businesses in general who have a real need for employees to fill various job openings and be willing to do the job at hand.

While there is great social pressure for people to attend four-year colleges, we believe in the value of sound training, honing a skill and capitalizing on natural talents. Not everyone was cut out to be a financial analyst, programmer or lawyer. Many people are much better at framing a home or repairing a bridge than they would be behind a computer. We need more of these talented workers to keep America running!

We need more applicators who understand the importance of chemistry, mixing order and precise spraying so that the crop grows strong and healthy.

We need more people who find value in their day when they realize they supplied propane to two elementary schools, the soup kitchen and a country church – all in the same day.

We need more truck drivers who enjoy routine and understand weight and structure limits, licensing and defending against distracted drivers who are on their phone.

We need more welders who can repair the tongue on a trailer needed to haul seed corn to the local farmer.

We need more individuals who would much rather work in the fresh air and sunshine (or crisp air and snow), instead of a frigid air conditioned office, scrolling Facebook on company time.

We need more folks who don’t mind a little dirt under their nails and appreciate a good bar of lava soap. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ending the day in soiled clothes and dirty hands; those are both great indications of a hard day’s work.

lavasoap

We tend to believe that the person who can mix shielding gas along with wire electrode to combine metals to repair a tank that goes on to heat a doctor’s office during a winter storm is just as important as the doctor, herself.

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can repair a water line that irrigates 100 acres of corn that will be donated to the local food pantry once marketed in the fall.

bollenbacher

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can process the mechanics of a machine and understand the intricate details of power. They understand cause and effect and that each piece serves a purpose.

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can recognize a leak within a seal and repair it before it costs the company thousands of dollars in replacement parts.

greghayes_countrymark_042315__0241

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can walk three feet into a soybean field and identify the cause of the damage and make a recommendation for addressing it before the grower loses hundreds of acres to disease.

soybean-leaves

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can use common sense to logically think through a process and find a solution. This basic, but crucial, talent is how food is grown to feed the world, cures are found and lives are literally saved.

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they genuinely care about customer service and believe in treating people with respect. They are honest and trustworthy and it is obvious to anyone who does business with them.

Some people have the greatest talent in the world because they can communicate clearly that everything is going to be ok when a worried home owner calls in a panic because she smells gas during her baby’s nap time.

dsc_0391

We need more of these people. The ones who are ready to execute on the talents instilled in them, build upon the skills they’ve already acquired and spend their days working for the common good.

America’s got this talent, and we’re looking for it. If you’re interested in a career, rather than just another job, we hope you’ll contact Harvest Land.

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

 

Thank You: Fueling Freedom 2017

Another successful Fueling Freedom is in the books and we have you to thank!

19250402_825054954316348_3410238287383190439_o

For every gallon of fuel pumped during the event, CountryMark and Harvest Land donated 50 cents to the local National Guard Family Readiness Group. It’s pretty awesome when you consider that more than 20 National Guard Family Readiness Groups will benefit from Fueling Freedom in 2017.

19390742_825054987649678_6948926237765294795_o

19237916_825054840983026_8090478872170096475_o

19250468_824877021000808_1342417967207393589_o

100% of the proceeds from Fueling Freedom go to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups. Family Readiness Groups fund activities for troops and their families. Many of the groups use their funds to host summer picnics, hold Christmas dinners, send packages to deployed soldiers, and offer after-school programs for children of American soldiers.

19400546_825054844316359_7995157850050161095_o

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 1.34.02 PM
And this was only what Harvest Land contributed!

19402118_825054947649682_7593254803030448098_o

19417405_825054897649687_3519915507690500133_o

Many thanks to anyone who purchased fuel from 12:00 – 5:00 to support Fueling Freedom. Your willingness to support such a worthy cause is very much appreciated.

19437791_825054907649686_277519665427552811_n

 

 

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

Photo Friday: Colors of Independence

Our nation will celebrate its independence next Tuesday, July 4. The weekend we’re about to kick off will be filled with parades, cook-outs, concerts, family get-togethers, fireworks and of course a lot of red, white and blue.

_DSC0078

The three colors of independence are all over the farm if you take minute to recognize them!

Today in this “Photo Friday” we’re doing just that.

_DSC0063

_DSC0029

_DSC0067

_DSC0037

_DSC0051

_DSC0054
Sure sign that a farm kid lives here.

_DSC0031

_DSC0055

tractor

_DSC0071
Who doesn’t love a good farm truck with a story, or two?

a

_DSC0038

If you’re like us, you’ll agree that it’s important to keep in mind our history as we move and progress forward. Enjoy this Independence Day video from the History Channel:

 

Happy New Year

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

 

Save The Date: August 16

IMG_4956

What are you doing on August 16?

Hopefully spending the morning with us!

We invite you to save the date for our 2017 Answer Plot to be held at our Winfield plot in Pershing, Indiana.

_DSC0022

2017 Answer Plot topics include:
  • Nitrogen Management: Lessons Learned in 2017 for Success in 2018
  • Corn & Beans: Finish Strong in 2017, Start Strong in 2018
  • Why Can’t I Kill Weeds Anymore?: Managing with Resistance
  • Are Traits Still Relevant?: Seed Trait Technology
  • Does YieldPro Still Pay?
  • Keynote Presenter: King of Corn, Dr. Bob Nielson
_DSC0038
Harvest Land Agronomist Steve Dlugosz

Our expert agronomy team and Winfield’s top resources will be available all day to ensure you leave in the afternoon with great ways to preserve the potential of every acre you farm.

_DSC0042

Stick around and we’ll buy your lunch!

_DSC0031

Mark you calendar now: August 16, 2017 at 8:30 AM in Pershing.

 

 

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

Summer Break for Farm Kids

“Well, the kids are ready to go back to school,” a coworker said last Monday.

“Ready to go back to school?,” I questioned in surprise. “Didn’t summer break start at Memorial Day?” I asked, making sure I understood him.

“Yes. But since break started they’ve been at the barn by 6:30 every morning, and now with no homework we’re working outside until at least 10:00 every night. I leave a list every day before I come to the office. Life was easier when they got to go to school from 8:00 – 3:00,” he explained.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve been in those shoes, or boots, before.

Summer “break” isn’t nearly as relaxing for farm kids as it might be for those without livestock to feed, barns to clean out or hay to bale.

Farm Kid Summer

What Pool Membership?

Farm kids typically don’t have a pool membership, but rather a creek, pond or river to cool off in when the day is long and hot. Granted, they usually have to wade through thistles, rocks and maybe even nettles to get to the place where the cool water flows, but that’s still better than packing a pool bag and warm Capri Suns to suck on chlorine water for an afternoon.

Also, farm kids don’t understand all the recent hype about stock tank pools. They’ve been cooling off in stock tanks for as long as they can remember! The water was never that clear, though…

20160613-tsc-stock-tank-pool-23356ae46c0bf0553ec441b0200aa32fb

What Is Sleeping In?

This concept isn’t new, but it’s somewhat foreign to farm kids. When farm kids hear others talk about sleeping until 10:00 – or even noon – they think to themselves, “My day is half over by then!” or, “Why in the world would you start your day in the hottest hour?”

a
Who remembers this print that International Harvester put out in 1975?

Farm kids would probably love the chance to sleep in just once, but they’re afraid they’d miss the best sunrise and they also prefer to have certain jobs done before it gets too hot.

60605139-wheelbarrow-full-of-manure-and-pitchfork-in-garden

Homework Takes on Entirely New Meaning

Even though school is out, farm kids still have homework. It comes in the form of lists. Daily or weekly, farm kids are given lists from their parents and/or grandparents of deliverables they must accomplish. This isn’t just “home” work – this is also barn work, yard work, car work, field work and farm work. This makes a book report sound like, well, a day at the pool.

IMG_4270

Two-a-Days? More Like Twelve-a-Days

Farm kids might participate in fall sports, which kick of two-a-day practices during summer break. But farm kids don’t get much of a rest in between these two-a-days, because when they’re not at practice they can be found baling hay, cleaning out the barn, carrying buckets, building fence, cleaning out and bedding stalls, and more. So they might participate in two-a-day practices, but their hardest workout actually begins when they leave the gym.

e885b7918a90e57613b7fd32483b64eb

Farm kids understand early in life the value of hard work because once their two-and-a-half month shift of hard labor is finally over, it’s time to go back to school.

Happy summer “break” to all the farm kids out there.

We’re glad to have you home!

 

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

To the Class of 2017

The open houses are winding down, senior awards programs are over and the lockers have been officially emptied out.

Another school year is over.

This spring we awarded thirteen outstanding high school seniors with a $1,000 scholarship to aid in their college expenses. These very deserving students are pursuing post-high school agricultural degrees. They are, in fact, the future of agriculture. And a bright future, it is: Agricultural engineers, economists and communicators, veterinarians,  diesel technicians, plant geneticists and more….the list of dream jobs coming out of this bunch is very promising. We also recognize employees’ children who graduated this spring and are pursuing post-high school education. From Indianapolis east to Dayton and Ft. Wayne south to Cincinnati, students from all over Harvest Land’s trade market are chosen annually.

Congratulations to our 2017 recipients:

scholarships 2016

You have a lot of change ahead of you! New classes, courses, instructors, living spaces, friends, supper spots, responsibilities and choices. If we could offer you just one piece of advice, it would be this:

Diesel performance

You are about to enter a new world that is filled with daily choices that will set you on the path towards a future with promise. We hope that each day, while you recognize opportunities to blaze your own trail, you’ll be true to yourself.

Have confidence in yourself and who you are. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t forget where you came from or how you were raised. Choose your words words wisely. Spend your time with intent. Do the things that matter to you. Surround yourself with people that strengthen you. Trust your gut. Be true to yourself.

We wish every graduate of the class of 2017
the absolute best as they leave high school and enter
college, trade school or the work force.
Your story is just beginning!

fae8507e899d9727416b7f85b97d7168

 

 

 

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

 

Save the Date: Fueling Freedom

One of our favorite days of the year is approaching!

2017 Fueling Freedom Banner

Fueling Freedom will take place this year on Friday, June 23 from noon to 5 p.m. There are 38 CountryMark fueling stations participating in this year’s fundraising activity.

Harvest Land’s participating locations are Greenfield, Elwood, Fountaintown and Greenville, Ohio. 

For every gallon of fuel pumped during the event, CountryMark and Harvest Land will donate 50 cents to the local National Guard Family Readiness Group. More than 20DSC_0032 National Guard Family Readiness Groups will benefit from Fueling Freedom in 2017!

100% of the proceeds from Fueling Freedom will go to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups. Family Readiness Groups fund activities for troops and their families. Many of the groups use their funds to host summer picnics, hold Christmas dinners, send packages to deployed soldiers, and offer after-school programs for children of American soldiers.

Our National Guard troops defend our country and our citizens every day. Through Fueling Freedom, we want them to know how much we appreciate what they do for us. DSC_0011

 

 

This is the 9th year the CountryMark system has hosted Fueling Freedom events.

 

 

 

In 2016, CountryMark’s Fueling Freedom program raised more than $64,000 for local National Guard Family Readiness Groups, a record-breaking year.

DSC_0101

We encourage everyone to come out for Fueling Freedom, purchase CountryMark TOP TIER gasoline and premium diesel fuel, and register to win a $150 fuel card.

One fuel card will be given away at each CountryMark fueling station participating in Fueling Freedom.

Show your patriotism and plan on fueling up at one of our CountryMark stations – Greenfield, Elwood, Fountaintown or Greenville, Ohio – on Friday, June 23 from noon to 5 p.m.!

 

DSC_0004

 

2017 Digital Ad 300x250

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

Faith & Farming

Faith and Farming: they go hand and hand:

IMG_3833

Some days, doesn’t it feel as though it began raining on Easter and hasn’t quit? While the naive mind might like to believe that farmers across the corn belt are putting in ponds as part of some water retention conservation project, you and I both know that just isn’t the case. You can drive through the countryside and see standing water in every direction.

FullSizeRender-6

Rather than driving around the township with their best co-pilot and a steady dose of optimism, checking growth in the warm May sunshine, most growers in our area are riding around with the insurance adjuster looking at corn that has already been replanted or will be.

hand holding corn plants-2

Writer Lisa TerKeurst once wrote that “The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it’s a place where disappointment grows.” How true that is, and what fitting words when thinking of our 2017 planting season. Even when the field is flooded, the disappointment is able to grow within the rows.  I heard one farmer say that he didn’t even want to leave the house in the morning because he knew disappointment would greet his first step out the door.

You can’t blame him; it’s been a soggy and frustrating spring.

But you can’t lose faith, either.

I’ve often heard that God gives the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers but I believe there is more to that; although those in agriculture are certainly of resilient stock! I think God gives these times of disappointment to the ones who can be of example on how to stay the course amidst the frustration. He uses them as an example to others.

_DSC0536

I don’t know a farmer who plans on not planting in 2017 because of the amount of rain and cold air we’ve endured. I don’t know a farmer who has decided to sit this year out of farming. I don’t know a farmer who intends on selling farm because of 8 inches of rain.

The farmers we know are changing their course of action, recalculating their assumptions and adapting to the situation. The farmers we know are waiting it out and attending 6th grade graduations and dance recitals in the mean time. The farmers we know are trying really hard to exercise the patience their parents worked to instill in them.

Because the farmers we know
learned a long time ago that
faith and farming go hand and hand.

golden tassle

HL_logo_Vert_4C

 

Business Plan: Early and Often

How many questions can enter the minds of family members when the discussion regarding a farm succession plans begins?

Well, here are a few quick ones that crossed our minds:

  • Do mom and dad have any actual plan for the future of our farm?
  • How long until dad actually lets me make some decisions around here?
  • What if the daughter-in-law doesn’t stick around?
  • Are we all working towards the same goals of the farm?
  • How could I ever afford to buy the farm if mom and dad sell it for top market value to pay for their retirement?
  • How will my farm salary (sweat equity) compare to my sister who only does book work and financials?
  • Why should my brother have any say in the future of the farm when he lives two states away…in town!
  • Will it take a death before the farm succession plan is actually revealed?

Agronomy_Looking at plant-2

Farm succession planning is certainly not easy, nor is it fun. There is raw emotion, stress, tension and expectations. We get it. Many of our employees and members have experienced being part of a farm succession plan, and agree that it is a tough conversation to have.

Bays

This week we wanted to highlight one farm family that has taken the bull by the horns and included the children in the future of the family farm years now. The expectations for each child is high, but so is the reward. The Powells are Harvest Land farmer-members in west-central Ohio.

We admire their business plan to include the children of the farm early and often.

The remainder of this entry is written by Haleigh Powell and can be found online at Ohio Farmer

Don’t wait too long to pass it on

By Haleigh Powell

Gaylord Nelson, co-founder of Earth Day, once said, “The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

I am Haleigh Powell, and I’m 18 years old and part owner in a family farm operation in west-central Ohio. You may be thinking, “Where is your grandpa, daddy or uncle, and why are they letting you own part of the business?” The answer is they believe in the younger generation, and they want to train, equip and enable me to be responsible and run my own business.

As farmers, we disagree on the little things, how far apart to plant our rows, how to integrate the latest technology, what the perfect time is to plant — and the list goes on. One thing all farmers want and can agree on is the desire to see the next generation take over the farm. For many of us, farming is more than a way to make a living (if we really wanted to make money, we would go work for the EPA). For us; farming is a way of life. However, most farmers do not know how to pass on the responsibilities of running the farm to the next generation. They keep control of the farm, even when they can no longer participate in the daily activities required to run it.

Two things are wrong with this scenario:

• The older farmers are nervous about the future of a business they have invested their lives in, and this causes them to hesitantly view the next generation. This restricts the next generation’s opportunities to manage, plan and run the business.

• The younger generations are losing interest in farming because they know their chances of being able to run the farm are very small.

The whole point of raising up the next generation of farmers is to teach those who will come after us how to raise crops, manage an agriculture business and plant soybeans at just the right time to ensure optimum growth.

Haleigh-Powell-next-generation-0327F1-2880a

Learning young
Growing up on the farm, in a family of seven children, my dad taught us responsibility from a very young age. We started out raising and selling produce throughout the surrounding small Midwestern Ohio towns. Even though we were so young, my father expected us to be responsible and run our little business like corporate professionals. Assisting through financial, managerial, employee and logistics issues we faced throughout the life of our business, my father always taught us how to be better professionals in the future. Whenever we made the mistake of giving a customer too much change or breaking yet another piece of equipment, my father used these little accidents as life’s teaching moments.

We eventually retired from the produce industry and went into grain farming. At the time, my grandpa was retiring, and he gave his grandchildren the opportunity to work together once again. This time we worked together growing and selling grain instead of vegetables.

My father gave us the opportunity to learn how to work and make money. This money was invaluable to us later in life when we wanted to start other businesses or invest in our farming business. My grandpa gave us the opportunity to farm his land; he trusted us because we had proven ourselves trustworthy through our hard work, ambition and willingness to learn. We have all realized that when the older generation takes the time to invest in the younger generation, more than just money is made: Memories are created, relationships are strengthened, and traditions are passed on.

Next generation’s worth
Like anything in life, letting go of something we have worked and lived with for so long is hard and, in many cases, takes time to adjust to. The next generation of farmers must prove themselves worthy of the farm, worthy of taking control and responsible for making the family farm better. Just like the younger generation must prove themselves, the older generation must be willing to pass the farm on.

Today, I work alongside my older and younger siblings to analyze, integrate and use the latest agriculture technology. Our goal as a company is to be constantly learning and using our knowledge to make us better farmers. We attend seminars, field days, Farm Science Reviews and webinars to learn more about variable-rate planting, spraying techniques and cost tracking accounting methods. We have a desire to learn and an urge to make the business better and bigger because we know our actions directly relate to how well our business does. Because we are farm owners now and not hired hands, we desire excellence in our fields, yields and technology.

Powell Family Farms is a partnership, formed in 2011 by two generations. We farm around 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. Our goal is to stay on the cutting edge of technology and go the extra mile to make our fields yield more while replenishing the natural resources found in the soil. Together, we strive to learn and grow our knowledge of the agriculture world.

Powell is from Arcanum, and attends Liberty University’s business school.

 

 

HL_logo_Vert_4C

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

In case you’ve forgotten, consider this your friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14. As in, two days from now. It isn’t too late to find something wonderful for the special women in your life, especially if you follow our easy Mother’s Day Gift Guide. These are each last-minute, budget-friendly ideas. We’re farmers. We know how to make a dollar stretch.

mothers day

Help in the Kitchen

Help in the kitchen doesn’t mean chaos in the kitchen. Mom likely doesn’t want your just-walked-my-4-H-pig hands in her butter dish or mixing bowl. But she might like that stack of school papers, 4-H entries, phone chargers, sports gear, latest issue of New Horizons, belts, school pictures and bobby pins that clutter her dining room table, or kitchen island, cleared off. That’s right. There really is an appropriate place for that flyer about the summer football fundraiser, and it isn’t where the meatloaf is about to go.

General Civility

This sounds very basic, because none of the farm kids we know are the type to start wars or riots, but it is paramount when thinking of pleasing your farm mom. General Civility means no bickering at the barn. It means no complaining about siblings, school or supper. General Civility is being asked just once to complete a task. It is showing patience towards the younger siblings and taking direction well from the older ones. General Civility is doing things that reassure mom that she’s raising the next great leader, not the next gang leader. Be nice and demonstrate General Civility this Mother’s Day.

Nothing

You read that right. Sometimes the best thing you can give farm moms is nothing. No ball games to rush off to or meals to make for family coming over. No flowers to plant then water or mow around. No dishes to wash, clothes to pre-treat or laundry to fold. Do not give your farm mom jewelry she’s afraid she’ll lose at the barn or chocolates that make her fall off her frustrating diet. Instead, give her…

Everything

You also read that right. Give your farm mom everything she wants, by giving her your time. Because really, when the tractors shut down and barn doors close and the kitchen sink drains and things finally come into focus, what farm moms really want this Mother’s Day is time with the people they love the most: Their kids, husbands and grandkids. No phones of distraction, just them.

mothers day1

We are thankful for each and every one of you,
whether you farm, or not.