Salute to Service

With more than fifty locations, it can be difficult to hear about all the great things happening within our cooperative, thanks in large part to our team of dedicated employees. As of late, we’ve had several members contact us regarding outstanding customer service from Harvest Land employees.

We appreciate this candid feedback from our members, and we want to keep it going. 

We’d like to invite you to participate in our Salute to Service program, which will recognize employees for a job well done.

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You can participate by sending us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees.

Share with us the instance of an employee going above and beyond, someone handling a difficult assignment with professionalism or an employee representing Harvest Land in an oustanding way.

We invite you to tell us

why an employee deserves to be

commended on a job well done.

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In late fall, we’ll present the top Salute to Service entries to our employee base and ask them to vote for the best example of a Harvest Land employee exceeding expectations. The winner – as chosen by their peers – will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize and 2 vacation days. For the person that submits the winning entry? Well, they’ll walk away with $250.

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Keep a watchful eye this harvest season as the weather cools and don’t hesitate to contact us with your story/stories for Salute to Service.

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You can submit entries by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

Deadline to submit entries is November 8, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

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We look forward to hearing about all the great things our hard-working employees do to cultivate positivity in communities and keep our cooperative business strong for the next generation.

 

 

 

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When Push Comes to Shove

A great way to determine your patience and stamina is to stand in the check-out line at the grocery for an extended period of time with 1,000 other things on your to-do list. No one goes to the grocery to stand around, and yet, we seem to do a lot of that once there.

A great way to determine your overall character as a human being is to evaluate how you react at the grocery, wandering the aisles looking for Ovaltine (FYI: it isn’t with the powered drinks, coffee, or tea. It is with the ice cream toppings. Don’t ask me why, but thank me later)  on days before 1) a holiday or 2) a natural disaster.

Right?

Isn’t the absolute worst time to visit the store for ketchup, crackers and Kleenex right before something big is about to happen? That’s why in the days leading up to Hurricanes Harvey & Irma store shelves across America’s southeast began looking like this:

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When push comes to shove, Americans will stock up on absolutely anything and everything to ensure their families don’t go without.

Or will they?

A lady who was raised in our rural trade territory but has since moved to Florida shared this photo online. As we reviewed the details of her observation, we couldn’t help but chuckle.

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This was taken at a Publix in Tampa, Florida

When stock of everything else in the store appears to be depleted, the vegan section remains in order and seemingly untouched.

So this begs the question:

When push comes to shove,

where do consumers really

look for nutrition?

It would appear that when the general consumer believes that their access to food might be limited in the days to follow, they will forgo the fad marketing tactics and purchase what they think will truly provide nutrients in times of need.

It makes you wonder: why does it take a natural disaster for folks to make clear, common sense, affordable choices regarding food? Some people just think better under pressure, I guess. They’re probably the kind that end up on gameshows.

 

 

 

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Summer Harvest Supper

Harvest Land farmer-members recently attended a Summer Harvest Supper, hosted on the family farm of one of our members. The intent of this supper, organized by Farm Bureau, was to invite consumers to share a meal with local producers and open the evening to conversation about food production.

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The evening began with a brief reception with wine from  J&J Winery and vegetables – and the best candied bacon you could imagine –  from local growers and pork producers.

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Each supper table was set for six consumers and two producers. The producers consisted of dairymen, beef, poultry and swine producers, grain farmers, large animal veterinarians, extension agents, and fruit and vegetable growers. Harvest Land was well represented, having farmer-members, an employee and even a former Director serving as experts in food production.

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The consumers included a wide array of people, including college students, business owners, school superintendents, bankers, the Chamber of Commerce, real estate agents, medical doctors and more.

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The setting of the event was perfect, in the yard of the farmstead, next to a cornfield lined with sweet corn, which the attendees shared during the family-style supper.

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Everything enjoyed during the supper was grown and prepared locally. Sweet corn, green beans, beef, honey, bacon and more.

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Each table had a set of prepared questions, should the consumers not know what to ask in order to learn more about where their food comes from. Our experience was that no one needed those prompting questions! The consumers came with questions and concerns about various things, such as raw milk, pesticides, what to look for at the meat counter to have a great beef eating experience, confined feeding operations and much, much more.

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Every twenty minutes the two producers would rotate to the next table, giving the consumers the opportunity to ask the experts in many different areas – dairy, pork, beef, grain, vegetables, etc.

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Local FFA chapters from Western Wayne, Hagerstown and Northeastern joined us to serve the dishes and deliver drinks in an efficient manor.

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The Summer Harvest Supper was a success and a very enjoyable evening. Some indicators of success at an event such as this are having a consumer approach you after the event and simply say, “Thank you for tonight. I feel so much better about grocery shopping for my family.” Or, “I’m not afraid of milk anymore!”. The event allowed people to put a friendly face with the idea of food production.

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We’d like to thank Neil and LuAnn Gettinger for opening their farm to a large group of curious folks. Everyday those involved in food production are faced with a general public which is largely misinformed about where their food comes from and how it is produced. This event helped farmers educate consumers on the safest, most abundant food supply in the world: Ours.

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Planning for Success: Lindner United

With state fairs over and county fairs winding down, the show circuit for pigs comes to a slow, also. While the trailer might sit idle for a bit, the wheels in the showman’s mind need to be turning on the next crop of livestock projects. Now is the time to consider a sound nutrition program for your next set of show stock.

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Harvest Land has two locations that sell Lindner United feed: our Greenfield Store (230 W. Osage St. Greenfield, IN) and our Eldorado Ag Center (150 E. Ohio St. Eldorado, OH).

Most circuit breeders in Indiana and Ohio want sows to farrow between January 1st and late February/early March, depending on their individual marketing plan for their hogs. Considering the gestation period for a sow (3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days), September is the prime breeding season for most breeders in our area.

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Lindner has a starter program that is easy to follow and adds more weight to the growing pig. The graphic below easily explains the steps for success:

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Lindner also offers a sow gestation feed product called Priority 1, which should be fed to the sow after she has farrowed. Priority 1 will stimulate the appetite and water intake to get the sow back up on her feet.

Barns emptying out might mean travel slows a bit before Louisville and Kansas City runs, but there is no better time than now to build a nutrition program for success. Any good stockman knows that nutrition matters at all stages of growth, not just weeks before the show ring.

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Fed Lindner feed which was purchased at Harvest Land
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Fed Lindner feed which was purchased at Harvest Land

Contact our two Lindner locations today

to learn more to ensure you’re ready to continue to build your program.

Greenfield Store: 317.462.5551

Eldorado Ag Center: 937.273.2131

 

 

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You Can’t Milk An Almond

One of our employees was at a meeting Wednesday night to help plan an upcoming event to educate consumers on food production. At the table was a beef producer, a dairyman and two large animal veterinarians.

They began visiting about questions that might arise during the “where does my food come from?” conversation with consumers and one person made a simple, humorous, but very valid remark: “We need to make sure they know you can’t milk an almond.”

If you’ve ever seen an almond tree or eaten a almond, that might seem pretty obvious. But what about those consumers who really believe almond “milk” (or soy “milk”, coconut “milk”, rice “milk”, etc.) is actual milk?

It isn’t.

The American Dairy Association of Indiana has a fantastic piece of literature out that explains the differences in milk and plant-based drinks and the phenomenal advantage that cow’s milk offers consumers.

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The nutritional value of cow’s milk, compared to plant-based substitutes, is unparalleled, but let’s talk about the ingredient label of each…..WOW!

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Next time you’re at the grocery and making an effort to keep your family healthy while avoiding all the foodie marketing hype, keep this label in mind. It breaks down the facts: there is no drink with greater nutritional value than real milk. From a cow. Not a plant.

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Photo Friday: 2017 Answer Plot

We had a successful (and hot) 2017 Answer Plot on August 16. There was standing room only in our presentation tents, which told us that despite the growing season we’ve endured this year, there is still a desire to learn for next year.

2017 Answer Plot topics included:

  • 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?
  • Your Credit Options
  • Keynote Presenter for those in our Harvest Elite group: King of Corn, Dr. Bob Nielsen 

Many thanks to all who attended. We know you have many places to be and we’re glad you spent the day with us.

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An Investment in West Milton, Ohio

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On August 1 Harvest Land purchased Community Oil Station, located at 650 S Miami St. West Milton, Ohio.  Community Oil Station has been in operation since 1923 and was previously owned primarily by family. Since being purchased by Harvest Land, it is now owned by our 5,400 farmer-members.

We are proud that the Wilson family would consider our business values and embedded community spirit similar to theirs, creating a smooth transition of ownership. Ownership of the business may have changed, but the quality of service will not. Joe Wilson and Steve Pour joined the Harvest Land team and will continue to service the area they call home.

Though the name of the business is Community Oil Station, Harvest Land did not purchase the physical station, but rather the fuel gallons. We also made a substantial investment into the West Milton community and its people, which we were reminded of earlier this week.

Our CEO received a hand written letter from a farmer who has done business with Community Oil for over 50 years. They described the outstanding level of service received by Community Oil and the relationship of trust built over the decades.

Take a look:

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“If your people is like the family

Joe, Steve & Kathy,

you will be fine with me.”

We can’t explain how much we appreciated this note from someone we’ve not yet met. Their confidence in our ability to keep the family spirit of Community Oil burning bright is not taken lightly.

The purchase of this business doesn’t just represent growth of our farmer-owned cooperative. It also signifies an investment in the West Milton community and a commitment of value to the families which we will serve.

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Developing Leaders: ACE

As our cooperative business evolves, Harvest Land recognizes the need to invest in our greatest asset: our employees. With nearly 1/3 of our employee group retiring in the next ten years, there is immense opportunity for individuals to advance their careers within our cooperative and gain extensive experience to provide greater service and value to our members.

We believe in hiring attitudes and teaching skills. If we can find the best people to be a part of our team, the skill set to do the job well will follow. In 2016 we developed two programs to capitalize on the tremendous talent we already have employed at our cooperative.

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The ICE (Internal Career Excellence) program was developed last year to prepare employees for the increased responsibilities and future demands of an evolving agriculture climate. This program creates opportunities to provide emerging frontrunners with a broader perspective of our business, and the more-strategic perspective enables them to see our business as a whole—beyond specific functions or departments. The ICE program is designed to enable participants to strategically frame their thinking, learn and use basic cooperative business knowledge and tools to better serve our members.

ACE Logo-01ACE (Accelerated Career Excellence) was also created in 2016, and follows the same guidelines as ICE but with an external hire. Both programs had an excellent inaugural year. We had more than forty employees apply for ICE and eight external candidates apply for ACE, proving the strong desire individuals have to learn how to provide greater value to our farmer-members.
Our first-ever ACE program participant was Kyle Baumer, a Centerville, Indiana native. Kyle was raised on a 400-acre dairy farm and went on to graduate from Indiana University East with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a concentration in marketing. Prior to Harvest Land’s ACE program, he worked outside the agriculture industry.

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Kyle applied for the ACE program because he always knew he wanted to get back to his roots in agriculture. He viewed the program as a great way to see what Harvest Land does  from the ground floor, up,  knowing that possible opportunities would be presented if he was willing to put in the hard-work along the way.

“The greatest advantage going through the ACE program was that I got to work in every segment of our company and learn from people that have been with us for many years,” Kyle said. “Also, being able to attend the leadership and communication courses was very self-rewarding.” Harvest Land partnered with Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agribusiness and Bayer Crop Science to facilitate these elite trainings.

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“One of the challenges I found being the new guy was gaining fellow employees’ trust, which took a little time. I learned that you must be willing to learn the whole time and not be afraid to ask questions when uncertain of a situation or duty,” Kyle went on to explain of his ACE experience.

On July 31 Kyle moved into a grain originator role, where the primary functions of the position are to originate grain from local producers, to provide marketing education for Harvest Land Co-op customers and to help achieve Harvest Land’s grain department mission and goals, which result in outstanding customer service and a profitable grain department.

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“I look forward to working with farmers and helping them better market their grain. I know this will be a great learning opportunity for me to work with our farmers and gain insight into how they run their business,”  Kyle said.

We are so glad that Kyle made the decision
to come back to his agricultural roots –
he has been a tremendous addition to our team!

If you’d like to learn more about Harvest Land’s career development programs, we invite you to visit our website.

 

 

 

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Be Still

After 27 inches of rain in the last 31 days for some parts of our trade territory, there is nothing like waking up to this forecast earlier this week:

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As we recover from another shower, we wanted to share with you a video from one of our customers, Alan Bays.

Four generations of Bays have used Harvest Land’s service and products, forming a business relationship that spans fifty years. Excellent reliability with fuels, competitive pricing, available purchasing options and a knowledgeable team are all qualities on which the Bays family relies on Harvest Land.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. The Bays were the cover family of our 2012 Annual Report.

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Justin Bays, Brian Bays,  Elle Contos, Bennett Contos and Sarah Contos

Brian Bays once said of the family’s history with Harvest Land:

“With Harvest Land we’ve sustained a very long-term, business relationship that has provided quality supplies and price-competitive opportunities. We’ve consistently had good relationships with Harvest Land employees, and they always strive to provide solutions for our operation.”  -Brian Bays

The Lapel area, where the Bays farm, has gotten the brunt of the 2017 torrential rains. It seems that if a shower hits Indiana, it’s sure to hit their farm.

But, there is still hope.

We invite you to take a look at this inspiring video from Alan, brother of Brian:

We are so proud to be a small part of Bays’ family operation.

 

 

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Cultivating Communities: Teri Dunlavy

Often when you contact a Harvest Land location you may not know the person on the other end of the line. Those conversations are typically all business and very transactional. But what if you knew a little more about the person working to serve your from your local farmer-owned cooperative?

Every so often we’d like to introduce you to a Harvest Land employee and tell their cultivating communities story. Today marks the first entry in our Cultivating Communities series.

Our employees continue to find opportunities to cultivate communities in creative ways. We ask every employee (more than 300) to commit 8 hours annually to community service. It’s interesting to hear where employees dedicate their 8 hours and what community groups are special to them once they leave work for the day.

Teri Dunlavy is our Credit Manager and works out of the Richmond administrative office. We’ll let her tell you about what that role entails:

“My role with Harvest Land Co-op Inc., is Credit Manager.  I, along with my staff, Rachel Osborne and Tammy Fox, are responsible for monitoring the collection of our accounts receivable.  With an established account we allow our customers in the agriculture, commercial fuels and home heat portions of our business to charge product they use to an account and pay for it at a later date.  We evaluate new applications, review credit worthiness and set credit limits. If a customer does not pay for the product they have charged, we then have to collect payment.  While we are in the collecting phase, we have to get communication from the customer, find out what is going on that delayed payment and see if we can reach a mutual repayment plan all the while deciding if we can continue to provide goods and services or if we have stop future deliveries of product until we have been paid.  Customers paying for the product they buy from us directly affects our ability to continue to be in business, serve our customers and generate income to be able to pay our bills and our employees.  I also spend some extra time in our agronomy area with getting information out about financing options that allow our growers to spread repayment out to harvest and match their cash flows while at the same time reducing our exposure risk and hopefully providing them with a cost saving benefit.

We spend a large amount of time in front of our computer screens, on the telephone and even out with our customers, more often on the agronomy side, getting to know their needs and becoming familiar with them so that if something does happen to their prompt payments, we can identify problems as quickly as possible and limit our risks of exposure for loss.  We spend time making sure we have accounts set up in the correct names and that the people using products are the people holding the accounts.  Within our department, we sometimes describe what we do in this way:

We are like Walmart or your local grocery store only our groceries are seed, fuel, chemicals and grain.  Our department allows our customers to get their groceries and walk out the door with a promise to pay the next month.  We have to be able to identify the customers that we feel comfortable walking out the door with groceries on a promise to pay and hold accountable those that need to pay before they leave!”

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For five days in June, Teri volunteered at Royal Family KIDS camp in rural Indiana. The camp is exclusively for children in the foster care system. Thirty-two children (16 boys, 16 girls) spent five days exploring, creating, singing, listening, learning, tearing apart and building back up again, all while beginning each day with a Bible lesson to carry with them throughout the day.

So how did Teri get involved with this organization?

“Our church has been providing a camp under the Royal Family KIDS organization for 16 years.  Before and after camp, our camp director and some of the staff share about the camp experience with the congregation.  I had listened to their updates over the years and this year camp was during a week that Mike was going to be gone for a corporate meeting, our kids are both out on their own in what we refer to as “Big Kid Land” and my schedule was wide open to be available.  It’s a rare thing when all the excuses a person makes for NOT doing a something are simply removed and the door seems to open wider and wider.  This year was that year for me so I took it as sort of an it is meant to be thing and I signed up!  Camp takes 2 adults for every child and at 32 kids, we needed over 60 adults.  Camp  staff is on site from Sunday through Friday and kids are with us Monday to Friday.  I told our director to just put me where she needed someone the most.  I got photographer!  There were 3 of us and you might think that would be over-done however, with fishing, swimming, archery, horseback riding and multiple craft areas each day there is a LOT of activity going on.  The kids each get an individualized photo book of happy camp memories to take home with them at the end of the week.  The challenging part is that the photos can’t contain any of the other children unless they are of the same family. 

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During the week at camp, the kids get to play with no worries and no strings attached.  They don’t have to worry where food will come from or if there will be any adult drama or dangerous drama for them to deal with.  The kids range in ages from 6 to 11.  After 11, they graduate out of the program.  That is one of the bitter sweet things as an 11 year old is still really a kid!”

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The children who attend this camp come from various backgrounds, but something that lacks with each is stability. Unfortunately, the children are shuffled around a lot depending on home and family situations. But for these five days, the camp’s goal is to provide great stability, care, encouragement and love.

Royal Family Kids Camp even has a surprise birthday party day where every child is celebrated as though it’s their birthday and receives presents! Can you imagine the joy in that room on that particular day?

Teri went on to say this about her experience:

“I’m very blessed as I grew up in a family with my mom, dad, brother and sister all living together and in the same location for 17 of the 22 years I lived at home.  Mom and dad still live on my childhood farm.  I was slightly familiar with the foster care system as we had a foster child for a few months while I was in middle school, I have an aunt raising grandchildren so that they would not become part of the foster system and in following a co-worker with her journey to adopt her daughter.  Mike and I moved a few times early in our marriage but were able to raise our children together in the same home where we have been for 24 years (our kids are 27 and 23) on his family farm with his parents living just down the road.  It’s hard for me to think that it’s not that way for all children and families.  Giving one week to create a happy experience for kids who don’t get to experience that same stability and family together experience seemed like a small thing.  Now that I have done it, I realize that it IS only a small portion but hopefully one that leaves an impression on these kids as they grow up and that provides a happy childhood memory.

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It is fascinating to hear how people spend their time after the business doors are locked for the night and the lights are shut down. Everyone has something they’re passionate about outside of the office.

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Teri is in the center, surrounded by her family.

Thank you, Teri, for sharing your personal story

of how you cultivate communities

outside the walls of Harvest Land.

We’re quite proud to have you on our team.

 

 

 

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