The Butterfly Effect

We’ve talked a lot about choices lately around our farmer-owned cooperative. More specifically, regarding how we assess choices and spend time debating them, whether internally or with others. We can expend a lot of energy considering things that sit in our mind, making pros/cons lists, discussing and debating. Perhaps the heaviest component in the decision-making process is determining what you want in the first place.

Making a living in agriculture is no different from the other choices we make throughout our lives. Every decision, every choice and every action we take matters, both to ourselves and to those around us. We’re about to see another crop go in the ground very soon, and the agronomic choices made in the previous months will ultimately determine how that crop turns out. Oh, and weather has something to do with it, too.

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The whole idea of making choices and taking actions that affect yourself and others reminds us of the butterfly effect. 

In short, the butterfly effect, also known as “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” is the idea that small changes can have large consequences. The idea came to be known as the “butterfly effect” after Edward Lorenz suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.

Wait. What?

We thought the same….initially.

We know your time is valuable. But this week’s message is powerfully poured into this short video featuring Andy Andrews. We promise it will be worth your time.

Norman Borlaug -> Henry Wallace -> George Washington Carver -> Moses Carver -> Unless….

What an incredible thought that every single thing we do and every choice we make – large or quite small – has the ability to make a difference and affect others. Our actions and decisions have the power to reach people that we don’t even know exist. Your daily actions and decisions can point your life in such a direction that you may impact someone else’s, without ever realizing it. How powerful is that?

It is a theory that will surely change your thinking. butterfly-sharper-edges2

Andy Andrews went on to write a children’s book about this incredible string of events and the impact that one little boy, Norman Borlaug, had on billions of people. You can find the book, The Boy Who Changed the Worldhere.

Everything you do matters, for all of us – and forever.

Were You Hired To Do That?

A middle school student, from a town not far from our cooperative headquarters, was given the assignment to job shadow someone working in a field that might interest him down the road.

His top choices for a future career – at age 14 – were

  • a pediatrician (should a student spend their day in a medical office during flu season?)
  • a preacher (he gets weekly insight from this field every Sunday and at youth group)
  • the agricultural field (he chose to spend his day at our farmer-owned cooperative)

I had a meeting with our agronomist and the gentleman that this student was shadowing for the day, our Chief Operations Officer. The three of us discussed plans for an upcoming presentation we are giving at Ball State University, while the student sat in quiet observation. After collaboration over a meal, we engaged the student by explaining to him our individual paths that lead to the current positions we have within Harvest Land.

It was a really valuable conversation. Not only did I learn about the very unique roads my coworkers have taken to get to the successful levels they’re at today, but I also noticed a trend that I think is worth sharing with you.

One employee never went to college, they went straight to into the work force out of high school.

One employee went to a highly accredited 4-year university (after turning down an offer at Notre Dame) and even went on to attain their Master’s.

One employee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a non-agriculture field.

All three were leaps and bounds above the level – both in position and pay – in which they were first hired (one started at $1 an hour – and it wasn’t 1929). All three shared oddly similar stories when visiting with the job-shadowing-student.

All three never turned down a job.
  • Sweeping the shop floor
  • Answering phones
  • Tying feed sacks
  • Mixing chemicals
  • Making the office coffee (which could be comparable to mixing chemicals)
  • Washing trucks
  • Delivering meals to the field
  • Cleaning up after meetings or guests
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping out bins
  • Working in the pit
  • Loading trucks with bagged feed
  • Painting tanks
  • Making parts runs
  • And more

These were just a few of the things these highly successful adults did in their early careers.

“Were you hired to do that?!” the student asked the COO.
“No, I wasn’t. But it needed done.”

What a lesson that can resonate with today’s students about to begin their careers. There is a strange expectation from many who are early in their career that they will get hired into a middle management position and climb the ladder of success by starting on the third rung. Today’s work force doesn’t work that way. The workforce in 2007 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1997 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1987 didn’t work that way. Do you notice a trend?

ladder

What an advantage someone will have if they choose early in life to do the work that needs to be done, whether it was written in their job description, or not. Those who keep the phrase “That’s not my job,” off their lips will have a far greater advantage over those who use it.

Now, this isn’t giving every supervisor across America to take advantage of those who work hard.

But we offer this encouragement to those who want to be successful in their field of choice: If you’re willing to do more than what is expected of you, more opportunities than you expect will come your way. 

work bootsWe believe that farm kids get hired and promoted regularly because they understand that there is work to be done, no matter who does it. They come from a place where 5:00 PM simply means that there is still four more hours of daylight and work ahead of them. They come from a team that doesn’t clock in or clock out – their work begins when the boots go on and it ends when they come off…and then they have to eat dinner with their co-workers.

Farm kids understand that even the bosses have to do the dirty jobs sometimes – – -because they’ve seen their grandfathers use auto steer in the brand new tractor in the same day that they saw him picking up rocks out of the field.

rock in field

We encourage those early in their career to take full advantage of the opportunities to do many different jobs – the good, bad, and ugly – when given the chance. Not only will it offer you new experiences, it will expand your skill set and build your character.

And who knows, it might start a really enlightening conversation in 30 years when you’re being job shadowed by an eager middle schooler trying to figure out the world.

Fortune Found in Fly-Over States

Though you may not have seen much coverage of it on the local or national news, a natural disaster took place last week in the heart of America. Wildfires ravaged through the plains and prairies of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, destroying human life, an estimated 5,000 head of cattle and 1 million acres, as well as homesteads and ranches.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

This hasn’t been a popular news story because it didn’t affect the masses living within urban areas, it wasn’t politically fueled and there was no rioting to spark controversy. It hasn’t been on the news because it affected a group of people that – rather than march, protest, loot or cause any disturbance at all – tend to  keep their head down, get their work done because they have a responsibility not taken lightly and typically mind their own business.

Since the devastation set in last week, thousands of individuals in hundreds of rural communities nestled in dozens of fly-over states have rallied together to gather supplies  to assist those farmers and ranchers who lost the very basic tools they need to function as a working operation: feed, fences, horses, veterinary care and more.

Livingston Machinery convoy of hay Wednesday morning leaving Fairview, OK and heading to the area impacted by the blazes. 

You see, there is fortune to be found in these fly-over states.

These no-mans-land

middle of nowhere

fly-over states.

The fortune found is rural Americans.
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Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go hungry

Do you have a new baby? Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

A death in the family?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your youngest finally get engaged?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your basement flood with the spring rains?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Is the t-ball season finally over?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

pie

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never need a high-tech home security system

Rural Americans have made a reputation of keeping a watchful (nosey?) eye on the community. They’re the first to call you when they see a suspicious vehicle parked over by the shop, sure to ask why the vet truck was at the barn for three hours last Monday and the first to call when they don’t see your daughter’s minivan at the house over Christmas.

vet

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never “not know”

As long as there are sale barns, kitchen tables, high school athletic games, church bulletins and farm auctions, word will get around. Folks in urban America may have high speed internet and Snapchat but they’ll never have the ability to push a message out  to an entire community faster than the rural American main street diner.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go without

Rural Americans supply the help when needed, sometimes in the form of a truck load of hay, sometimes in the form of a 14-year-old able-bodied son who is willing to work, sometimes in the form of a quarter cup of sugar. Rural Americans give when they can, where they can, and however they can.  

 

producers

There is fortune to be found in our beloved fly-over states, and it is each other. What an advantage we have to live in a world where we don’t have to hire moving trucks because we have friends with trucks and trailers. We don’t have to send Honey Baked Hams from some warehouse 2,000 miles away because we have a freezer full of farm fresh pork and a recipe card from Mary Jane’s Kitchen, 1976. We don’t have to fight life’s toughest moments alone, because we have Rural American neighbors, friends and strangers across the country bowing their heads when prayer is needed most.

We don’t have to search for good in the world,
because we live amongst it. 

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Learn how you can help wildfire victims in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

Two Hours To Save A Life

Our cooperative business has been around for nearly a century. In that time we’ve seen communities expand, infrastructure develop, technology evolve and most importantly, families grow.

Every generation we work with is different, none better or worse, just different. Each has varying experiences, challenges and opportunities. Something that doesn’t change from generation to generation is the desire for the family farm to be passed on. Each grower we work with is making decisions today that will affect the longevity and success of the family farm, to be handed down to the next, special generation.

Harvest Land is also making decisions today to ensure the next generation is prepared to take the reins when it’s time.

On April 1 we’re hosting a free grain safety youth workshop for ages 10-16. This workshop will have a hands-on live entrapment demonstration portion as well as a classroom session. The event will take two hours and we’re hosting two on the same day; from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. Attendees may choose which session they’d like to attend.

Two hours. That’s the brief amount of time this workshop will take, but the lessons learned from it could one day save a life. Two hours to save a life of someone quite special.

We invite you to share this link and invitation to those in our trade territory, ages 10 – 16, who might find this training valuable.

We are committed to doing our part to ensure
that the family farm is around for the next generation,
and that the next generation is around for the family farm.

2017 Grain Safety Youth Workshop

Harvest Land Farmer-Member Yields A Win

Can we dote a bit on one of our customers?

Harvest Land farmer-member Bill Mort of Pendleton recently won big with his AG 3334 Asgrow soybeans harvested in 2016. But he isn’t taking all of the credit.

“It was nothing magical we did. Mother Nature was right in there,” said Mort, who has been farming for more than four decades and is the third generation in his family, with the fourth generation on the farm.

Mort raised 85.2 bushels an acre. He was one of two winners from Indiana in the Asgrow national soybean yield contest.mort

“We had the right bean and the right fertility and it just clicked,” Mort said.

Mort purchased all of his beans from Harvest Land in 2016 and went on to do the same for 2017. He also worked with Harvest Land on more than half of his corn acres.

He also utilizes the co-op for his direct fertilizer needs.

He said the weather in his area was almost custom-made for big soybean yields in 2016. While the area saw plentiful rains, the timing made the difference.

“There were farms here that didn’t get planted in 2015 because we had five to six inches of rain. Last year, we had a lot of rain, but it was spaced out and in smaller amounts. It was a perfect storm, and it kicked up the yields in beans. We had average yields in corn, but the beans were exceptional,” Mort said.

Late summer dryness and heat had Mort out checking fields.
“It got dry and hot, and I was concerned. I could see there were a lot of pods, but we didn’t realize what we had. We did a pod count, and we knew they were going to be strong 60s,” he said.
soybean-leavesMort does regular soil testing and advocates for seed treatments.

“I think when you’re planting early you want to do that to keep them safe, especially if it’s cool weather. I think it’s worth it,” he said.

“We started about the middle of April. We bought a vertical tillage tool and ran over some of the ground with that and dried it out to get in there and
plant,” he said.

As to the ability of the Asgrow brand to produce, Mort said he’s a repeat customer.

“I’m going to be planting Asgrow again this year,” he said.

“We enjoy working with Bill out of our Lapel Ag Center,” says Dave Vansickle, Harvest Land YieldPro Specialist. “He is a smart operator and that’s why he remains successful. We’re always glad to see good things happen to Harvest Land customers. This contest is no exception.”
soybean

Early planting. Seed treatment. And always, the weather.

Those are the keys to the record-yield Asgrow beans that winners of the 2016 Asgrow national yield contest raised, with yields in the 100-bushel and 80-bushel-an-acre range.

Congratulations, Bill!

We look forward to working with you

towards a successful growing season again this year . 

 

 

 

Much of this information originally appeared in an  Agri-News article.