“A perfect weekend to stay inside and warm,” the meteorologist said on the morning newscast earlier this week. I couldn’t agree more. Rain, followed by several inches of snow, followed by a cold front predicted to grip the midwest and east.
As I was making chili, wearing the new wool socks I got for Christmas and making another cup of hot chocolate for the little one in the living room, I noticed how perfect the snow across our yard already was. We hadn’t had memorable snow in some time. It seemed it was finally winter. Winter is sure pretty from the picture window.
Hours later I was folding clothes upstairs when I noticed the perfectly imperfect snow in front of our house. There were tracks I’d not noticed before.
You see, while I was enjoying our warm home, hot chocolate, wool socks and a picture-perfect scene from my warm home, someone came and filled our fuel oil tank without me even knowing.
How differently those strapped with the responsibility of heating homes, businesses, schools, and churches must view winter from the rest of us.
I was thinking of how pretty the snow looked, he was probably thinking how it makes pulling a hose just a bit tougher.
I was thinking of my feet getting too warm in my new wool socks and he was probably thinking that he should have left the house at 5:30 this morning with another pair.
I was thinking of chili and hot chocolate on my menu, he was probably wondering if he could scarf down his cold meat sandwich on the way to the next house.
I was thinking that it was a great weekend to stay home, and he was out making sure every home on his route was safe and warm.
I was thinking of a weekend with no plans, he was thinking that he’ll be on-call all weekend for those who need a fill.
This weekend – and always – we salute the many Harvest Land fuel truck and propane drivers who put in extra hours when school is canceled, businesses close early or roads are unpassable.
It is when we are safe and warm at home
that this team suits up and goes to battle.
Many thanks to the fuel and propane drivers, service technicians, support staff and part-time crew for stepping in on these bitterly cold days to serve our communities and families. We appreciate your tremendous effort in keeping us warm.
That is the total number of years of service our 2018 honorees have dedicated to Harvest Land Co-op. Annually we recognize employees by five-year increments and thank them for their continued work on our cooperative’s behalf. At the Christmas party in December, we recognized the following individuals.
According to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in November 2018, the average number of years that wage and salary workers have worked for their current employer is currently 4.6 years. With that statistic, we’re quite proud to honor the following folks for their commitment to Harvest Land.
Note that not all honorees were in attendance.
Five Years of Service:
Ten Years of Service:
West Liquid Fuels
Fifteen Years of Service:
Twenty Years of Service:
Henry Branscum Jr.
Twenty-Five Years of Service:
Thirty Years of Service:
Thirty-Five Years of Service:
Forty Years of Service:
And finally, Forty-Five Years of Service:
We asked Stan Hicks, our Chief Operations Officer, about his forty-five years at Harvest Land. Here are a few words from him:
“It’s been amazing to look back over the years and see how the farmers within our trade territory have banned together, consolidated their 19 co-ops into one very solid cooperative and established an organization that works for their long-term well-being in the agricultural community.”
“The Cooperative System has been for me, and many others, a long-term career in the field of agriculture when the means were not afforded to be a farmer that planted, harvested and marketed their own production.”
We offer sincere thanks to Stan and all others who celebrated another year with Harvest Land. We truly appreciate you.
In February we invited you to send us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees for our Salute to Service program. We asked you to 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 received 60 nominations from Harvest Land customers and employees nominating their peers. This was an amazing response to a simple ask! But it made our job difficult. We closed nominations in November and then asked our employee base to read through all nominations and choose their top three choices to win the 2018 Salute to Service Award.
At our cooperative Christmas party on December 8 the winner was announced. Today we want to share with you the winner:
John is a fuel driver out of our Greenville, Ohio location.
The winning submission:
“I was visiting my Grandma in early fall when John Bell arrived to fill her fuel tank. In her older age (she’s 88 and in poor health) Grandma is extremely paranoid about running out of fuel. She was so glad to see John pull down the farm lane. John topped off her tank, then came in to reassure her that he wouldn’t let her run out of fuel, ever. John could have left the ticket in the door and went about his business, but he stepped inside Grandma’s kitchen to check on her, ask her how she is feeling, then assure her fuel level was fine – even better now that he topped it off! As her granddaughter, I truly appreciate the time he took to deal with an 88-year-old lady who spends much of her day worrying. John was kind, reassuring and very pleasant. He represents Harvest Land so well and he made me proud to be associated with the cooperative.” Submitted by Lindsay Sankey
Below are five more nominations that were submitted on John’s behalf. In fact, not only did the above get the greatest number of votes, but John also had the most individual nominations!
“John Goes above and beyond for the company” Submitted by Doug Fark
“I’m writing to nominate John Bell (Greenville, OH Terminal) for your Salute to Service program. I’ve been with Trans Alliance, LLC in Greenville, OH for 6 years now, and for 5 of those years I’ve been handling the bulk fuel purchase and delivery. John looks out for our company like he is one of our employee’s. We receive fuel 3-4 times per week, but I feel it’s safe to say that John is probably here at least 5 days a week taking measurements to make sure we haven’t had an influx in fueling that could empty our tank. Numerous conversations have been had with John that he checked our tank the previous night, after everyone had left, never wanting us to run out. If he didn’t have the fuel on his truck that night, he’d make sure that we were the first stop the following morning. This means a lot to our company, me personally, and our drivers always know they’ll be able to fuel up at the yard. When John comes into our office to get a receipt signed, he says “Hello” to everyone,
and usually by name. Now I understand I deal with John on a daily basis, and it should be pretty easy to remember my name, but to say hello to the other 10 employees here at Trans Alliance by name is very impressive. As he leaves, a “See Ya/Have a good day” is said before he walks out the door. Reliability is a huge reason I feel John should be recognized for your program. As stated above, we always know they’ll be fuel in the tank. But I’ve called John on his cell many times with issues or questions, and he always answers when I call or returns the call ASAP! If we’ve got an issue with our tank or reader, he’s out there with tools in hand to try and fix it himself. Thanks to Harvest Land and John Bell for providing the quality fuel that keeps the trucks of Trans Alliance going down the road 365 days a year!” Submitted by Cory J. Griesdorn, TransAlliance
“I would like to submit the name of John Bell to receive an award for service beyond the call of duty. I believe he deserves the Salute to Service Award. Last winter, shortly after we had a new furnace installed, we woke up one morning with no heat. We called the furnace installation and they sent out a service man to check the furnace. He checked the furnace and could not find anything wrong. He checked our oil tank outside the house and said we were low on oil and the oil might be frozen and to call our oil delivery man. We called John Bell and he came out and checked our oil tank and found we were not low enough with oil to affect the furnace. He filled our tank but we still didn’t have any heat. He bled the oil line and we had heat after the house was really cold. He didn’t have to do this but he knew we needed heat. He stayed with us until we the house warm.” Submitted by Arthur Glover
“We nominate John Bell our Fuel Delivery Guy! John has shown his loyalty to Haves Land Coop by serving in a prompt manner whenever we call him for special delivery times it always seems like we are the next on his list or he is just around the corner. He has been pleasant and friendly. He has been very willing to iron out mistakes that we have produced and mistakes the Coop has produced. I hope your management team finds him in this manner also.” Submitted by David and Shari Harms
“I’d like to nominate John Bell as an employee to be commended on a job well done. John has serviced the property I live at for longer than I’ve owned it. Without a moment of hesitation, he remembered the property when I called him out of the blue to set up the first oil delivery. I find that remarkable given that he more than likely services hundreds of properties in the area. To date, John has consistently delivered within a few days of calling (as he always promises) and is very professional in his procedures. He offers advice when I ask questions and even offered to replace the oil tank gauges on my tanks for free. Again, John is an outstanding employee, please put him in for this wonderful ‘Salute to Service’ prize as he deserves to win every bit of it.” Submitted by Joshua Wilson
Congratulations to John!
We’re proud to have you represent our cooperative so well in the countryside.
We offer sincere thanks for all who nominated an employee for this program. reading through the submissions is one of the most gratifying things about working for your local farmer-owned cooperative.
With Christmas just days away, this Friday we wanted to publish a story that was shared with us, not by a customer, but by the daughter of a customer. This was actually a nomination for our Salute to Service program. While we’ve not announced the 2018 winner on our blog yet, we thought this week was a perfect time to share the story of Brian Henderson.
We received the following in the mail:
This is a copy of a handwritten letter by my 92-year-old mother, Charlotte Bailey. A handwritten letter is rare anymore, but Brian Henderson went above and beyond to help her and she wants you to know about it. His actions also helped me, her daughter. I do my best to care for her, but I struggle from some serious health problems and Brian’s intervention was a Godsend for us both.
It might be hard to read so I will type it out for you:
“It was a blustery, cold Saturday before Christmas Day on Monday. The thermometer was dropping and the little old lady (these are her words not mine) who lived back the lane began to wonder, “Is there enough fuel oil to last through the cold weekend weather until Tuesday when Harvest Land would be open?” So she called Harvest Land hoping someone would be at the office to help – she got a recorded message: “Open Tuesday.”
In a few moments, her phone rang. Someone had intercepted her call and a sympathetic voice inquired about the problem and the little old lady explained her anxiety. Within an hour on that windy Saturday evening, a Harvest Land fuel truck drove up the icy lane. The driver jumped out with wind and freezing rain hitting his face and with kindness and caring took care of the low oil worry for the little old lady back the lane.
Thank you so much Brian Henderson, for your big-hearted caring on a cold Christmas weekend. This is a truly happy Christmas story.”
In this world where so often a company puts their focus on their bottom line, it’s great you are recognizing your hard-working employees. Please thank Brian on our behalf and award him this honor from your company. He truly touched my mom’s heart and deserves this. Her name is Charlotte Bailey.
Submitted by Charlotte Bailey and Lori Stone (daughter of the little old lady who lives back the lane)
Planned programs are the only way to control this weed – there is no longer an easy button! Waterhemp isnt your average weed and has 1.5 times more seeds than other pigweed varieties and can grow one to two inches per day. Consider developing a program with your agronomist that is specific to your farm so you are prepared for when you first see the weed.
Waterhemp has been around for a number of years, coming in our area from the west, but unfortunately it’s not on growers’ radar until it’s on their farm for three or so years. Scout early and often, the key to controlling waterhemp is to make applications while it is still small. Waterhemp begins to grow as soon as the soil warms and the sun is out.
A combination of residuals (they stay in the soil) and post-emergence application are key. But don’t get too comfy after treating it once, waterhemp grows in flushes and it may take more than one application to control it.
Click below to watch Agronomist Steve Dlugosz and YieldPro Specialist Mark Richey talk about waterhemp and what farmers can do to prevent the weed.
We invite you to save the date for our 2019 Winter Innovation Forum, to be held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.
This full-day event brings another round of powerhouse speakers to your backyard:
Terry Barr, CoBank: Global Grain Outlook: Global Demand and More
Chuck Conner, President/CEO at National Council of Farmer Cooperatives: Legislative Update from Washington, DC and How Today’s Politics and Policies Affect Your Farm
Steve Dlugosz, Agronomist at Harvest Land: Hard-to-Control weeds and Controlling Residuals, and More
Charlie Smith, President/CEO at CountryMark: What Global Energy Market Changes Mean for Your Business
Todd Dysle, CHS, Inc.: Global Fertilizer Outlook
These nationally known speakers will present multiple times throughout the day, allowing you to set your own schedule. This event is free to the public and you need not be a Harvest Land member to attend. Registration will open in January 2019.
Stay tuned for more details, industry partners who will be available to answer your questions and a full agenda.
What have previous attendees said about the Winter Innovation Forum?
“Excellent program! Kudos to those that planned the event. Speakers were informative, topics were spot on with agriculture in today’s world.”
“Comprehensive, well run, organized and relevant.”
I grew up on a beef farm in Wisconsin that has 2 creeks running through it. Like many things in life, most of the time they were just there. I didn’t give them much thought. For my dad, it seemed the creeks were often a source of anxiety. A mother cow giving birth near one was perilous, and a large rain would occasionally cause them to spill out of their banks and ruin fences. These unfortunate events would tend to overshadow the fact that they constantly provided the livestock with water for free.
One of the creeks flows about 100 yards from the house. With all his complaining about them, I was surprised when my dad pointed out that he enjoyed sitting on the porch listening to the creek. “Listening to the creek?” I asked. “You can’t hear the creek from the house.” “You can if you listen,” he answered. He pointed out that if you sit quietly and listen for it, not only can you can hear the creek, but the longer you listen the louder it sounds. He was right. I had lived there for years and never listened.
This kind of scenario plays out in many arenas of life. It’s amazing what is there to be noticed for those who pay attention, and what is missed by those who don’t. It shows up time and again in grain marketing. The market is always providing a price to sell grain, but it’s easy to take it for granted. In addition, focusing on how the market can cause pain allows it to be a source of anxiety, but it can be a source of security and opportunity to those who listen and respond.
Harvest is winding down and many of you will have grain in storage at the elevator or in an on-farm bin. What is your plan to get it sold? Are you actively listening to the market for your opportunity to sell? Do you know what you are listening for? Too often the plan is simply to wait for higher prices. But if you don’t know what price you’re looking for it’s easy to always want more. This approach often leads to missed opportunity.
A better strategy is to have a specific goal. Crunch the numbers on your production and have a firm price you are willing to sell. Then you will know what you are listening for. With this information in hand, enter target orders to carry out your plan. Let the target orders do the listening for you!
This concept works great for all unsold grain. Avoid spending all your energy on selling last year’s crop, causing you to miss opportunity on the next crop. You need to be listening for those opportunities as well.
Farmers inherently always have grain to sell whether it be last year’s crop or the next one. Always know what you have to sell and be listening for your opportunity
Thanks to our partners at White Commercial for the insight. Our grain department would be more than happy to visit with you regarding opportunities on your operation. Please call our grain department at (765) 478-4171 or email us at email@example.com to discuss your grain merchandising needs.
This time next week you’ll be wishing you owned more elastic waistband pants.
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, so we thought it was a perfect time to educate eaters about the food on their heaping plate. Because, let’s face it: When you’re stuck at the table with the awkward uncle, you may need something to talk about.
We all know the star of the Thanksgiving Day show is the turkey. Your turkey might have come from one of these top turkey-producing states: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri. We know a lot of farmers in our trade territory who have put up turkey barns in the last ten years.
Did you know this about the big birds?:
Turkey is low in fat, high in protein and is a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins
Cartoon turkeys you normally see are actually dark feathered or wild turkeys. Farmers typically raise a different breed of turkeys which are more efficient at producing meat. These turkeys have white feathers.
Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the official United States bird. Dismayed by news of the selection of the bald eagle, Franklin replied, “The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original of America.” It makes us wonder how our diets might be different had the turkey triumphed.