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