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.

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

back to school

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!


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.

Farm Kid Hero_JB2


back to school2



Join Us At The Table

Now more than ever, the public is concerned about where their food comes from. Because of this ongoing need for producers to educate the generally misinformed public, we’d like to invite you to an event coming up later this month.

Young Bulls

The 2016 Harvest Land Farm Tour, to be held at Bowman Superior Genetics, will bring a fresh perspective to beef production, educating consumers about responsible production practices and a local family farm doing business globally. 

Join Harvest Land Co-op for an evening tour of a progressive, family-owned beef operation in east central Indiana.

The tour will include

History: A Story of Patience

Conservation: Progressive Changes to Expand Resources

Technology: Breaking Ground Nationally to Breed Better Beef

Consumer Trends: Fact Over Fear – Making Smart Decisions at the Meat Counter


Would you like to join us on August 23?

If so, click here to register and get your free ticket.
Registration closes the first of next week!

Contact Lindsay at with questions.


A Winning Response

Earlier this spring CountryMark and Indiana Prairie Farmer partnered to hold their annual essay contest, bringing out the hidden writing abilities of farmers and students across the midwest. This is always a favorite event of our cooperative; mostly because we end up reading about our own in the winner’s circle! We’ve learned through this contest that Harvest Land has some pretty talented members when it comes to putting a pen to paper. In 2015, first, second and third place in this essay contest all went to Harvest Land members. You can access those winning entries here.

2016 did not disappoint.

The 2016 first place winner was Harvest Land member Jackie Angle from Rushville, Indiana. As a reward for her winning words, CountryMark generously gave Jackie 500 gallons of Premium Dieselex-4 Off-Road Diesel fuel.

The adult essay topic that Jackie responded to so successfully was:

What new courses should ag schools consider adding in the next five to 10 years?

Here is her winning response:

“I like going to flea markets and looking for books for my two granddaughters. If I am lucky, I can find books about farming. Many of them show farming the way it was 50 years ago. The books show a big, white house with a red barn. The chickens are pecking in the yard, the cows are grazing in a pasture and the hogs are in a hog lot. Children are playing with kittens. Mother is hanging clothes on a line. Father is plowing a field with a small tractor and a two-bottom plow. Things have changed!

Just as things progress in agriculture, current curriculum must not only keep up, it must keep ahead. I looked at Purdue University’s College of Agriculture’s list of classes offered. Starting with Agribusiness Management to Sales and Marketing to Food Science to Animal Science to Crop Science to Horticulture to forestry, and everything in between. You get the picture.

Agriculture involves so much more than feeding the hogs, gathering the eggs and milking the cows. Students today who major in agriculture literally have limitless possibilities.

When looking at the next five to 10 years in agriculture, I see more and more technology becoming a player. From GPS systems to computerized equipment to use of drones, classes need to show the advantages, the how and the why in using these ‘tools.’ These types of technology hopefully would excite the student to think beyond and develop future uses.

Why not develop a combine that has some sort of ‘microwave’ capability that when the grain is harvested, as it goes through the equipment, it’s dried to the preferred moisture? It then can be taken directly to storage, saving drying costs, equipment costs and labor costs.

Seeing how far agriculture has come makes me excited for the future!”


First Place Winner Jackie Angle and Harvest Land fuel driver Bob Temple


Congratulations to Jackie!

We’re proud to call you a member.

And, we’ll be calling you should we get writer’s block when developing the annual report.