Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers: Wehr Farms

Harvest Land is quite fortunate to work with numerous outstanding family farm operations in Indiana and Ohio. Annually we look forward to learning who the State Fair Featured Farmers are, because there is a high probability we work closely with one of two of them.

What an honor to be named an Indiana State Fair Featured Farmer. In its fourth year, this program celebrates and helps put a face on Hoosier agriculture by connecting consumers with farmers. The 17 farm operations selected in 2018 represent all regions of the state, showcasing different agricultural products throughout the 17-day fair, August 3-19.

Visitors to the Indiana State Fair can attend a live chat at the Glass Barn with a Featured Farmer every day of the fair, in addition to many other opportunities to talk with that day’s Featured Farm family and learn about their operation.

On August 19 the Featured Farmer is Wehr Farms from Fayette County. Monica Wehr is a  former FieldTech intern for Harvest Land, and is currently an ACE participant. Monica has been an outstanding asset to our cooperative and we very much appreciate her work ethic and passion for production agriculture.

This week, we invite you to learn more about the Wehr sisters from Fayette County and their drive to manage the family farm despite loss.

Wehr Sisters Take Family Farm Reins and Move Forward

It’s said strength of character is measured by how one reacts to adverse events or actions. It’s about doing what’s right or ethical even when that is the most difficult path to take. For Wehr sisters Monica, 21, and Morgan, 18, a career in farming was always a possibility – a “some day in the future” career aspiration. A year ago, “some day” became today for the Connersville, Indiana, sisters who grew up on the family farm their grandfather founded in 1953 and their father later took over.

“Farming is something I’ve loved since I was little. I was always with my dad and my grandpa even when I probably should have been at home and out of their hair,” says Monica. “I never expected to be running the farm this soon, but everything happens for a reason I guess.”

When their father unexpectedly died in June of 2017, the young sisters found themselves running their family’s farm with the help of their grandmother.

 

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“With our grandpa and dad both gone, there was no other option for us than to continue our family legacy,” says Morgan. Their resiliency is apparent in their day-to-day management of the hay farm and cow-calf operation that includes three bulls and 50 head of Angus and Angus-Charolais cross cattle.

All cattle are bred and raised on the farm until calves reach about 500 pounds. They are then sold as feeder cattle to a neighboring farmer. “We turn the bulls out July 4 and have calves starting the second week of April. We have about 50 calves born each year,” says Monica.

“When we wean calves, we use some supplemental feed to add more nutrients to their diet,” she says. “We graze nine months out of the year. The cows are never contained. They roam the pasture at will.” She points out “Our cows have a pretty good life. Our cattle are never mistreated. Calves get to roam with their moms in the pasture, and they are fed the high-quality hay we produce.”

The sisters also farm 185 acres of alfalfa and orchard grass with the help of Mitchell Pohlar, Monica’s fiancée, who was raised on his family’s nearby farm and now spends his days working at the Wehr’s farm.

They feed some of the hay to their cattle and sell the rest to area farmers.  “We’ve had the same three hay buyers for the past four years. They know the quality of our hay, and they come back for more every year,” says Monica.

The Wehr sisters continue their formal studies as well.  Monica is a student at Wilmington College in Ohio and Morgan graduates from high school in 2018 and is headed to Oklahoma State University this fall where she plans to major in agricultural education, where her hands-on learning will no doubt be beneficial.

“We grew up farming, accompanying our dad and grandpa to the crop fields and to the pastures for a great education,” says Monica.

As they triumph over adversity, Morgan reflects on the example set for them.  “Dad, grandma and grandpa set us up for success. Grandma has spent many hard hours out on the tractor, too, over the years.”

 

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Source: Indiana State Fair

Food Desert? Not in Our Backyard

As part of our commitment to cultivate local communities, Harvest Land  recently donated $1,000 to the Centerville United Methodist Church food pantry for their food ministry, then applied for – and was granted – a matching $1,000 grant from Land O’Lakes. Land_O_Lakes_Logo.svg A total of $2,000 was donated for the monthly food ministry, as well as the on-demand food pantry where families can receive food assistance any day of the work week by calling the church office.

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Left to right:  Karen Dickson, Sam Dickson, Sally McCaslin, Jan Hofmann, Ken McCaslin, Kevin Smith, Jess Price and Jared Martin, Harvest Land’s CFO

The United States Department of Agriculture defines “Food Deserts” as parts of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. Centerville and certain rural areas of Wayne County unfortunately fall into this category.

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The Centerville United Methodist Church Monthly Food Ministry was created in an effort to alleviate this problem in our own back yard. They team with Gleaners Food Bank, Inc. of Indiana to provide canned and boxed food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. Since beginning their monthly food ministry in September 2017, they’re assisting over sixty local family units each month.

The hunger epidemic can seem so far away when we hear about it on the news. But it really hits home when you realize it affects neighbors in our rural communities. 

We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide a bit of assistance in the Centerville area this summer, especially while children are home for summer and not able to receive school-prepared meals. 

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Randal Reese

Our Salute to Service program allows us to recognize the cream of the crop, top-notch quality people working behind the scenes of Harvest Land to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

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Randal Reese is the Operations Manager, Crops Support and Feed Specialist at our Oakville Ag Center and has worked at Harvest Land for 40 years. That 4-0 is not a typo!

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His main responsibilities include covering all areas of our Oakville branch, located just south of Muncie, west of IN-3. “All areas” includes scheduling custom application, invoicing customers and selling feed. He’s also served on our Safety Committee for 12 years.

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Randal ensures customer fields are custom applied in a timely fashion and invoiced correctly. His organization and attention to detail greatly improves the customer experience for those who utilize our Oakville location.

Randal’s favorite part of his job with the co-op is working with good people.

Randal has been a participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization he volunteers for is the First Brethren Church of Oakville. In his time outside work, Randal enjoys spending time with his beloved family.

 

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We recognize Randal because he was honored through our Salute to Service program, where he was nominated by four individuals for his outstanding customer service. In fact, he received the most nominations of any of our 300+ employees!

The nominations from customers are quite powerful. Take a look:

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese out of the Oakville location.  In growing sod we have different needs for fertilizers, or time of applications. Since we are spreading on 800+ acres of turf we do most all our selves, with a tractor and cart on flotation/turf tires. Randal and I communicate almost weekly on what our needs will be the next week. I try and maximize the applications in conjunction with the next rain fall. By talking with Randal regularly he can maintain adequate inventory of our most used product 46-0-0. Over the years, since the decision of moving all bulk dry fertilizers to Mt Summit, it has presented some challenges to get the product and have delivered on time where we need it. (some of these acres get fertilized every 6-8 weeks) Randal and your delivery people have generally made it happen.” – Robert Sharpe, Ameri-Turf GMgr, Anderson, IN

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese, the Operations Manager at Oakville, Indiana. I am a math teacher and farm a little bit part time. I buy fertilizer, Kent Feeds, Ritchie Waterer Parts, and Seed from Oakville (none of it in large quantities). Randal always is professional, courteous, and cares (about people and his job).  Even though I am a small time farmer, Randal makes me feel like he appreciates my business and me as a person. He keeps Oakville organized and running smoothly.  I believe Randal has been at that location for over 40 years (previously Farmer’s Co-op Oakville). Anyway, I do not think you could have a better employee or upstanding member of the community.  Whenever Mr. Reese retires from Oakville, he will be extremely difficult to replace.  I think he should win the Salute to Service Award! – Jason Hunt

“Randal is very professional and goes out of his way to help with whatever I need. I am a small farmer, but you could never tell that by the way he treats me and conducts business. I wanted to drill a cover crop, but couldn’t with the equipment I had available. Within an hour Randal had everything ready for me and I was able to operate. Outstanding employee!” – Jesse Landess

I am writing about an employee (Randal Reese) that has worked above and beyond his jobs yearly.  He is the voice at the Oakville office that answers when you call for any service.  He’s always willing to do the extra job to answer your question.  He is always an upbeat person no matter how hard a day he has had.  When he retires Harvest Land will not find it easy to replace this star employee. My husband and I have farmed for 48 years and he has always been our guy to go to when we needed help.” – Tim and Carol Spangler

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Randal with miss Lora McDaniel in the Delaware County 4-H Queen Contest where she was crowned second runner up.

Randal is a fantastic asset on our team and the nominations he received from customers are a testament to that. His work ethic and commitment to meet every customer need really make him stand out in our agronomy business.

Finally, we asked Randal what three words he would use to describe Harvest Land. His response:

Great Employee Group

Those of us who work with – and know – Randal would agree that he’s one big reason why our employee group is, in fact, great.

 

 

You can submit entries for our 2018 Salute to Service contest by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

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Meet Sarah Griffin, Animal Nutrition Specialist

Our Kalmbach Feeds of Indiana team recently welcomed Sarah Griffin onboard as an Animal Nutrition Specialist. Sarah’s day-to-day responsibilities as Animal Nutrition Specialist will include meeting with existing clients to ensure the continued satisfaction with our company products and also finding ways to expand our current customer base. She will also meet with new clients to provide their farm with quality nutrition for their livestock.

Meet sarah

Griffin Sarah-3Sarah has a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science from Purdue University, as well as a
Masters of Art in Communication Studies with a focus on Organizational and Professional Communication Development from Ball State University.

Sarah grew up on a diversified livestock farm where she raised livestock for 4-H and as a supervised agriculture experience and proficiency for FFA. Throughout her time in 4-H and FFA, she competed in many dairy and livestock judging events which cultivated a deeper understanding and passion for the animal agriculture industry.

During her time at Purdue, she competed on the Dairy Farm Evaluation team where she had the opportunity to travel the Midwest evaluating dairy farms on their nutrition,  management, facilities and herd health. This experience left a lasting impression on her and has been extremely helpful in starting her new role for Kalmbach Feeds of Indiana.

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As an Animal Nutrition Specialist, Sarah represents our company in a unique way. Since she will be consistently meeting with new and existing clients, she will be the face of the company every day. Additionally, she will do more than simply sell feed; she will work with each farmer to provide a nutrition program that suites their individual livestock operation, which includes feed consumed, evaluation of herd health, and management practices.

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Harvest Land is very happy to welcome Sarah to the Kalmbach Feeds of Indiana team. Her industry knowledge paired with excellent communication skills makes her a perfect fit within our business. Welcome, Sarah!

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Managing Late Season Disease

Those not involved in agriculture, do not fear. The constant zipping around of helicopters in your area have nothing to do with Russia or an illegal substance. But rather, protection of a crop.

Harvest Land agronomist Steve Dlugosz joins us from the field this week to discuss the benefits of late season fungicide application. We caught up with Steve at our Pershing Answer Plot in Wayne County to talk about the application:

As always, contact your YieldPro Specialist for additional insight. We’re here to help preserve the potential of every acre you farm.

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Eyes in the Field: Japanese Beetles

We’re seeing a huge resurgence of Japanese beetles in the fields this summer, despite the populations being fairly low in most recent years. Japanese beetles are general defoliators. The good news is they tend to feed on a single leaf, and stay on that leaf.

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As you can see here, they’ve fed on those top leaves, but the leaves around it remain untouched:

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We don’t evaluate defoliation based on a particular leaf, but rather whole plant defoliation. So even though these photos – taken in Wayne County – look really terrible, the loss is fairly minimal.

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Japanese beetles give off a pheromone, which attracts other beetles in. Many times, you can notice a few feeding, but by the end of the day you’ll have massive amounts of beetles feeding on areas of the field.

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The damage from Japanese beetles will typically be fairly localized. We’ve seen farmers hang a boom over the edge of the concentrated area and take care of it that way. There may be, however, such concentrations that farmers will be more inclined to spray the whole field, especially if they’re going to apply a fungicide soon. We recommend adding another insecticide such as Delta Gold® and taking care of them that way.

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As always, your YieldPro Specialist is available to answer all of your questions. We encourage you to reach out to them if you have any concerns.

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Photo Friday: 2018 Fueling Freedom

A week ago today we participated in Fueling Freedom, where for every gallon of fuel purchased at our Elwood, Fountaintown, Greenfield, Greenville and Oxford stations last Friday from noon to 5:00 PM, CountryMark and Harvest Land donated 50 cents to local National Guard Family Readiness Groups. 

While Americans may support our troops in many ways, families waiting back home can often be overlooked. This program supports this less-recognized group and Harvest Land is glad to be a part of it. 

Every Harvest Land location increased their fuel gallons from 2017, with the exception of the KDS Express station in Oxford, only because they didn’t participate in 2017:

Elwood increased gallons by 2,567

Fountaintown increased gallons by 1,054

Greenfield increased gallons by 414

Greenville increased gallons by 131

FF RESULTS

Today’s Photo Friday provides a look at the event, with photos from all over our territory:

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Thank you to everyone who stopped by and fueled up cars, semis, lawn mowers, gas cans and more! We appreciate the support very much.

 

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Crop Progress Report

This week we gained this awesome resource from our partners at Winfield regarding the 2018 crop report. We’d like to share this insight with you. It offers crop update to this point in the season, but also a comparative look at 2018 to previous years.

If you have questions or want to make an in-season decision at your operation, don’t hesitate to contact your YieldPro Specialist.

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Benefits of Early Season Fungicide Application

Disease can threaten corn production throughout the season, from common diseases that affect leaves, stalks and roots.

This week, Harvest Land agronomist Steve Dlugosz takes a look at the benefits of early season fungicide application and shares the results of a field box trial done last season that yielded some interesting results. Take a look:

Infection by stalk rot organisms can occur early in the season, but visual symptoms may not appear until grain fill. Stalk rots can cause significant yield loss when the disease causes plants to deteriorate prematurely, resulting in poor ear fill or light test weight grain. Lodging can be a problem and everyone hates running down corn!

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So how can you manage these problems? What can you do to protect your crop from disease? Best management practices can help. Ask yourself these four questions:

Which disease(s) is it?

Many Corn diseases are caused by fungi, especially gray leaf spotand northern corn leaf blightsouthern corn leaf blight.  Also most of the ears rots which were a big problem a few seasons ago.

An increasing concern is southern rust which is carried by wind-borne fungal spores and commonly affect seed corn and sweet corn. Timely fungicide applications can help control these diseases.

What hybrids are a concern?

Current hybrids vary greatly in their resistant to many diseases.  Know the strength and weaknesses of the hybrids you have planted. Talk to your YieldPro Specialist if you don’t know.

How do my current cultural practices affect disease?

Because several disease organisms survive in infected residue from crop to crop, there are several cultural practices that can help break this cycle and diminish disease pressure. For example:

  • Crop rotation allows surface corn residue to break down, reducing bacteria and fungal inoculum.
  • Incorporating corn residue into the soil can further reduce the disease pressure the following season.
  • Good weed control removes disease hosts.

When should I use a fungicide?

A fungicide decision is a matter of evaluating the risk actors that drive disease development, including the hybrids you planted, rotation, disease history, and current and future weather patterns.

Timely foliar fungicide applications are a tool that can help protect corn plants from fungal YieldPro_4Cinfections throughout the season. Your YieldPro Specialist can help when making these decisions.

Applying fungicides with multiple modes of action, such as Delaro™ and Stratego® YLD can help minimize the potential for fungicide resistance, which can occur when heavy reliance is placed on controlling diseases with one chemical class.

Contact your YieldPro Specialist today to get the most out of your yield in 2018. We’re always here to help.

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