Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Earlier this week a couple employees from our Richmond administrative office set out to do something no one else had ever done before. Or, at least not in a long, long time.

They cleaned out and organized part of the back warehouse. IMG_6287

They spent four hours sorting through boxes, binders, shelves and stacks, looking for things that were no longer needed to run our cooperative business. These things had perhaps fallen into the category of “out of sight, out of mind”, where it’s easier to work around them than address them.

A wonderful general attribute of people in agriculture is that we hang on to things because we think someday we’ll need them.

A poor general attribute of people in agriculture is that we hang on to things because we think someday we’ll need them.

There was just a lot of stuff to sort through.

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Trash barrel by trash barrel, the Two Tossers began to find shelves and walls that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. They reduced stacks, tore down empty boxes and made room for more current things. They tossed tattered pieces, obsolete technology, used carpet and broken boards, then swept elevator flooring that hasn’t been touched in years.

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You see, our administrative office in Richmond hasn’t been an operational grain elevator in more than a decade, and it’s been even longer since the feed mill was in operation. It has been a long, long time since these floors saw steel toe boots and stray kernels of corn.

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As the Two Tossers worked through the hours, they thought many times: Why would anyone keep this?

The cleaning out of the warehouse reminded us that we’re in between two generational shifts today: Baby Boomers (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) who are eager to pass on family heirlooms as they downsize their space and a new crop of Millennials (defined as those born between 1982 and 2004) who prefer more tech-savy homes and perhaps more adventure.

Point in case: How many tiny house dwellers have you seen living with great-grandma’s full china set? Not many.

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While many broken, unusable pieces were tossed, the functional, “let’s clean this up rather than buy new” mindset of the co-op (and those in ag) prevailed as things were cleaned, organized and put back on a sturdy shelf.

It should be noted: Nothing of value or that which held any historical significance to Harvest Land was thrown away. Of the Two Tossers, one is very much a “keeper” and is a historian by nature. 

As the day winded down and emails beckoned the Two Tossers back to their desks, they put down the dock door, shut off the lights and locked up the warehouse for the evening.

But not before one Tosser paused to ponder this question:

What area of my life or farm needs some

time, attention and clean-up (literally or figuratively)

to ensure I’m in the best working order?

What about you?

Are there areas of your life that are “out of sight, out of mind”, that could actually use some attention?

This could be a part of the shop that needs organized, a relationship that needs some mending, a phone call that needs to be made or even a drawer that needs cleaned out.

Perhaps, today is the day.

 

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Laura Wood

Harvest Land has a lot of quality people working behind the scenes to ensure we’re meeting our customers’ needs every single day. Every so often we will highlight an employee that works diligently to serve our members.

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Laura is a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist in our Richmond office, and has worked at Harvest Land for 16 years.

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As a Liquid Fuels Accounting Specialist, her main responsibilities include processing all CountryMark invoices, processing all CFN (commercial fuel network) transactions and maintaining all CFN accounts/cards. Laura also maintains and processes the US Bank credit card accounts, processes all phone and internet bills and also answers the phone in the Richmond administrative office. WHEW!!

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She works directly with our membership by assisting with fuel card issues, accounting inquiries and addressing all general questions. Laura considers the best part of her job the people she interacts with daily.

What three words would she use to describe Harvest Land?

  1. Friendly
  2. Knowledgable
  3. Helpful

Laura is an active participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization she volunteers for is Pendleton Junior Baseball. In her time outside work, Laura enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and watching her grandson, Maxx, grow up way too fast while playing baseball and swimming.

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She also enjoys playing guitar for legends like Johnny Cash. 
Or, just visiting Nashville with her husband.

Laura is a very hard worker and a pleasure to work with as part of the Harvest Land team. We’re glad to have her on board!

 

Don’t forget to nominate an outstanding employee for our Salute to Service program!

 

 

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2017 Cultivating Communities Results

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At the beginning of each fiscal year (September 1 – August 31), we encourage our employees to volunteer 8 hours of community service to a cause that is important to them for our Cultivating Communities program. Once eight hours is racked up (time seems to fly when you’re helping others) Harvest Land then donates $75 to the non-profit which the employee volunteered their time.

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It is gratifying to learn about the places and groups that our employees dedicate their time away from the office. Here is a list of organizations that benefited from our employees’ time:

  • Fortville Church of the Nazarene
  • Colliers Heating & Air
  • First Mennonite Church
  • Adams Co. Purdue Extension Office
  • Adams County Herb Club
  • Decatur Fire Dept.
  • American Legion Post 160
  • C & C Bible Fellowship
  • Lewisville Presbyterian Church
  • Tri-Village Athletic Dept.
  • Wayne Co. 4-H Association
  • Cody Holp Memorial
  • Preble Co. Pork Festival
  • Pitsburg Lion’s Club
  • Darke Co. Humane Society
  • Talawanda Athletic Boosters
  • Monroe Twp Food Bank
  • Northeastern Junior High School
  • Queen of Peace Church
  • Chas. A. Beard School-Class of 2021
  • Adams Co. Wabash Workers 4-H Club
  • Country Kritters 4H Club
  • Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen
  • Bradley UMC
  • First Church of Christ
  • Pleasant Valley Cemetery
  • Champaign Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc.
  • Jay County FFA
  • Praise Point Church
  • Crushing Chiari, Inc.
  • Greenhills Baptist Church
  • EUM Church
  • Princeton Pike Church of God
  • Trinity Wesleyan Church
  • Eaton First Church of God
  • Brownsville U.M. Church
  • Randolph Southern School Corp.
  • Royal Family Kids’ Camp
  • Wares Chapel
  • Salvation Army
  • First Presbyterian Church Youth
  • American Legion Auxilary
  • Pack Away Hunger and Christian Charities Backpack Blessings
  • Eaton Church of the Brethren
  • Centerville Youth League
  • Grace Community Church
  • St. Thomas Church
  • Fountain City Weslyan Church
  • St. Mary’s School
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
  • Western Wayne Schools
  • Richmond Family YMCA
  • Wayne Co. Cattlemen’s Assoc./4-H
  • Pendleton Junior Baseball
  • Connersville FFA
  • New Madison Community Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
  • Verona UMC
  • Friends of the Preble Co. Park District
  • Preble Co. YMCA
  • Pleasant View Missionary Church
  • Union Co. Foundation-Troy Gulley Memorial Scholarship

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Fiscal year 2017 has concluded and we’re excited to share with you the footprint our employees left in their communities over the last year, spending their time improving the small towns we call home.

And the final 2017 results are as follows…

CC Results

We offer a sincere thank you to our employees who participated in the Cultivating Communities program in 2017.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time,

and you certainly did just that.

 

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October: National Cooperative Month

October is National Cooperative Month and the perfect time – as we roll into another harvest season at each of our ag centers – to highlight what makes our business so unique.

The national theme for Cooperative Month this year is “Cooperatives Commit.”  By committing to education, sustainability, community, and members, our cooperative provides a strong foundation that improves the lives of our members and others in the area.

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Cooperatives are found in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, retail, utilities, housing, banking (credit unions), healthcare, and childcare.  Blue Diamond, Ocean Spray, Land O’Lakes and Sunkist are all cooperatives you may be familiar with at the grocery store. U.S. cooperatives actually provide more than 850,000 jobs, resulting in $25 billion in annual wages. There are more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in America, serving 350 million people.

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Harvest Land, your local farmer-owned cooperative, employees more than 300 people and is owned by 5,500 farmers in Indiana and Ohio.

Despite a wide variety of products and services provided to their members, all cooperatives follow seven universal principles, first adopted in Rochdale, England, in the mid-1800s. These are:

  • Voluntary and open membership: Cooperative membership is open to all who are able to use its products and services and willing to accept the responsibility of membership.
  • Democratic member control: Cooperatives are controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
  • Members’ economic participation: Members contribute equally to the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative.
  • Autonomy and independence. Each cooperative is managed by an independent board elected from its membership, and decisions are made that democratically benefit its members. We have nine Board members, representing all areas of our trade territory.
  • Education, training, and information: Cooperatives provide education and training for members, managers, and employees, as well as information to the general public about the benefits of cooperatives and the products and services they provide. Our Winter Innovation Forum is a fantastic example of this principle.
  • Cooperation among cooperatives: Cooperatives serve their members by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures. Land O’Lakes, CountryMark and Growmark are just a few larger cooperatives that Harvest Land is a member of.
  • Concern for community: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members. Our Cultivating Communities program proves this principle, tried and true.

We offer a sincere thanks for your continued business with our farmer-owned cooperative.  October may be National Cooperative Month, but every day we’re working to provide quality products and services created to serve your family.

 

 

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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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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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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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