Food Desert? Not in Our Backyard

As part of our commitment to cultivate local communities, Harvest Land  recently donated $1,000 to the Centerville United Methodist Church food pantry for their food ministry, then applied for – and was granted – a matching $1,000 grant from Land O’Lakes. Land_O_Lakes_Logo.svg A total of $2,000 was donated for the monthly food ministry, as well as the on-demand food pantry where families can receive food assistance any day of the work week by calling the church office.

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Left to right:  Karen Dickson, Sam Dickson, Sally McCaslin, Jan Hofmann, Ken McCaslin, Kevin Smith, Jess Price and Jared Martin, Harvest Land’s CFO

The United States Department of Agriculture defines “Food Deserts” as parts of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. Centerville and certain rural areas of Wayne County unfortunately fall into this category.

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The Centerville United Methodist Church Monthly Food Ministry was created in an effort to alleviate this problem in our own back yard. They team with Gleaners Food Bank, Inc. of Indiana to provide canned and boxed food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. Since beginning their monthly food ministry in September 2017, they’re assisting over sixty local family units each month.

The hunger epidemic can seem so far away when we hear about it on the news. But it really hits home when you realize it affects neighbors in our rural communities. 

We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide a bit of assistance in the Centerville area this summer, especially while children are home for summer and not able to receive school-prepared meals. 

 

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Who is Harvest Land?: Randal Reese

Our Salute to Service program allows us to recognize the cream of the crop, top-notch quality people working behind the scenes of Harvest Land 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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Randal Reese is the Operations Manager, Crops Support and Feed Specialist at our Oakville Ag Center and has worked at Harvest Land for 40 years. That 4-0 is not a typo!

Randal Reese

His main responsibilities include covering all areas of our Oakville branch, located just south of Muncie, west of IN-3. “All areas” includes scheduling custom application, invoicing customers and selling feed. He’s also served on our Safety Committee for 12 years.

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Randal ensures customer fields are custom applied in a timely fashion and invoiced correctly. His organization and attention to detail greatly improves the customer experience for those who utilize our Oakville location.

Randal’s favorite part of his job with the co-op is working with good people.

Randal has been a participant of our Cultivating Communities program, and the organization he volunteers for is the First Brethren Church of Oakville. In his time outside work, Randal enjoys spending time with his beloved family.

 

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Who wouldn’t want to spend time with these kiddos?

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We recognize Randal because he was honored through our Salute to Service program, where he was nominated by four individuals for his outstanding customer service. In fact, he received the most nominations of any of our 300+ employees!

The nominations from customers are quite powerful. Take a look:

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese out of the Oakville location.  In growing sod we have different needs for fertilizers, or time of applications. Since we are spreading on 800+ acres of turf we do most all our selves, with a tractor and cart on flotation/turf tires. Randal and I communicate almost weekly on what our needs will be the next week. I try and maximize the applications in conjunction with the next rain fall. By talking with Randal regularly he can maintain adequate inventory of our most used product 46-0-0. Over the years, since the decision of moving all bulk dry fertilizers to Mt Summit, it has presented some challenges to get the product and have delivered on time where we need it. (some of these acres get fertilized every 6-8 weeks) Randal and your delivery people have generally made it happen.” – Robert Sharpe, Ameri-Turf GMgr, Anderson, IN

“I would like to nominate Randal Reese, the Operations Manager at Oakville, Indiana. I am a math teacher and farm a little bit part time. I buy fertilizer, Kent Feeds, Ritchie Waterer Parts, and Seed from Oakville (none of it in large quantities). Randal always is professional, courteous, and cares (about people and his job).  Even though I am a small time farmer, Randal makes me feel like he appreciates my business and me as a person. He keeps Oakville organized and running smoothly.  I believe Randal has been at that location for over 40 years (previously Farmer’s Co-op Oakville). Anyway, I do not think you could have a better employee or upstanding member of the community.  Whenever Mr. Reese retires from Oakville, he will be extremely difficult to replace.  I think he should win the Salute to Service Award! – Jason Hunt

“Randal is very professional and goes out of his way to help with whatever I need. I am a small farmer, but you could never tell that by the way he treats me and conducts business. I wanted to drill a cover crop, but couldn’t with the equipment I had available. Within an hour Randal had everything ready for me and I was able to operate. Outstanding employee!” – Jesse Landess

I am writing about an employee (Randal Reese) that has worked above and beyond his jobs yearly.  He is the voice at the Oakville office that answers when you call for any service.  He’s always willing to do the extra job to answer your question.  He is always an upbeat person no matter how hard a day he has had.  When he retires Harvest Land will not find it easy to replace this star employee. My husband and I have farmed for 48 years and he has always been our guy to go to when we needed help.” – Tim and Carol Spangler

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Randal with miss Lora McDaniel in the Delaware County 4-H Queen Contest where she was crowned second runner up.

Randal is a fantastic asset on our team and the nominations he received from customers are a testament to that. His work ethic and commitment to meet every customer need really make him stand out in our agronomy business.

Finally, we asked Randal what three words he would use to describe Harvest Land. His response:

Great Employee Group

Those of us who work with – and know – Randal would agree that he’s one big reason why our employee group is, in fact, great.

 

 

You can submit entries for our 2018 Salute to Service contest by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

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2018 Scholarship Recipients Announced

Harvest Land Co-op recently awarded 17 scholarships to 2018 high school graduates throughout their trade area, with combined money awarded totaling $17,000.

Harvest Land is a proud supporter of agriculture and young farmer programs,  such as 4-H and FFA, throughout the area. In addition to those opportunities, Harvest Land awards scholarships to young men or women who are pursuing post-high school agricultural degrees. Students from Harvest Land’s three districts within their trade market are chosen annually. Harvest Land also recognizes employees’ children who are graduating and pursuing post-high school education.

The 2018 winners are:

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Recipients of this award are chosen based on need, leadership, community service, agricultural interest and scholastics.

It is easy to turn on the news and feel deflated or pessimistic about the future of our great country. But if you want to turn your perspective around, just read through a few of these students’ scholarship applications and your insight will change. These young people are destined to go on and do great things because they have the work ethic, determination, skill set and discipline to do so.

We very much look forward to tracking their progress in the years ahead, and wish them the absolute best as they begin this next exciting chapter.

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Hancock County Ag Safety Day

Our story of Cultivating Communities across our trade territory continues, as we attended the Hancock County Ag Safety Day on April 14, which was hosted by Hancock County 4-H.

The children rotated through several stations hosted by various community groups, such at Nine Star Connect, Canine Castaways Rescue, Greenfield Fire Territory and more. Harvest Land employee Vickie Ramsey was instrumental in organizing the day.
The Harvest Land station educated sixty 4-H members about grain safety. Specific topics included grain entrapment as well as auger and PTO hazards.

Today’s Photo Friday includes a few shots from our work with the youth of Hancock County.

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Thank you, Julie Lamberson, Risk Manager, for spending the day with these students.

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These two young men belong to Tarra Youngclaus from our Junction location.

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Many thanks to The Photography Barn for snapping these photos of our work.

 

 

 

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$10,000 Investment in Henry County

US 40, Interstate 70, State Roads 38 and 234 and US 36 are each main roads, east to west, in rural Henry County, Indiana. The county is then divided right down the middle by State Road 3. But once you’re off the beaten, paved paths of these main routes, you’ll find narrow roads where our trucks and equipment travel to and from our Mt. Summit, Millville and Dunreith locations to meet the needs of area farmers and home heat customers.

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Harvest Land and Henry County have a strong, long-standing relationship. We made a move this week to ensure that well-working relationship continues.

Harvest Land partnered with CHS to contribute $10,000 towards the Grain Bin Safety and Rescue Training Area at the Henry County Emergency Services Training Center. 

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L – R: Scott Logue, Harvest Land President/CEO; Ron Huffman, Chairman, Henry County Local Emergency Planning Committee; Julie Lamberson, Harvest Land Risk Manager; and Brian Becker, Harvest Land Director and Henry County resident.

According to Purdue University research, in the last fifty years more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported, with a fatality rate of 62 percent. In 2010, at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments − the highest number on record. The overall trend of increased on-farm grain storage only allows for more grain entrapments to happen around the family farm.

Every year accidents occur and responders are dispatched to assist, but most local responders arrive on scene with little to no training in the tactics or tools needed. The
intent of the grain entrapment addition to the Henry County Emergency Training Center is soybeanto add an option that addresses this issue. The completed grain portion of the center will provide responders and the ag community – including FFA members – a place to experience firsthand the dangers associated with entering into corn and soybeans. This training tool allows them to get a feel for both within minutes of each other, re-enforcing the differences in both commodities.

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A top down view of the proposed Grain Safety Training Area

At this time we know of no other facility that provides a place to practice real-world tactics
needed to rescue someone in trouble in both environments side by side. The layout of this
grain entrapment addition will also allow many viewers to see exactly what is taking place without need to share a viewport. It will truly be the first of its kind.

Perhaps most important: The Henry County Emergency Services Training Center is available to all those that wish to schedule its use for career, volunteer and agricultural trainings. Harvest Land is also going to use this facility to train employees and farmer-members, including students.

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We’re excited about this contribution to the Grain Bin Safety and Rescue Training Area at the Henry County Emergency Services Training Center and truly look forward to bringing dozens of employees, customers and students to this incredibly valuable site.

Together, we’re Cultivating Communities.

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A Pre-Plant Poem

A Pre-Plant Poem
by Harvest Land

Spring days are getting longer as we start to break the soil

Traffic slows behind equipment driven by local men of toil.

With a warm snap moving through you can almost cut the anticipation

Every move we’re about to make is a result deliberate conversation.

From plant to harvest, and plant again, we’re in a series of decisions

Analyzing data, selecting hybrids and programs and considering provisions.

Sometimes we forget how much promise can be in one tiny seed

Part of our job at Harvest Land is ensuring they get what they need.

We’ve been thinking about this crop since walking through the last

When time passes in seasons of work you come to realize just how fast.

Going forward our days will be designed around the warm sunshine or the rain

When you live your hours according to weather you come to terms with gain or pain.

And so we move into another planting season with anticipation far and wide

In high hopes that good help, weather, supply and parts all live in a time that coincide.

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Photo Friday: Investment in Eldorado Area

The small (some might say tiny) towns that dot the country side within our trade territory are special to us. Their small-scale grid of streets that travel out past the town limits eventually become the rural routes where our homes sit.

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The diners, post offices and parts stores that keep the commerce going are staffed with folks invested in these Midwestern burgs. The volunteers that give up their nights and weekends to answer the call of duty when an emergency erupts are our family, friends and former classmates. These are a few of the reasons why Harvest Land works to cultivate communities when we see an area of need.

Ohio has been a focus point for us to cultivate as of late.

Harvest Land recently donated a grain rescue tube to the Eldorado, Ohio fire department. The department needed the equipment to perform grain rescue should the emergency arise. Central Ohio manager, Adam Culy, organized the donation and also recognized a need for rescue training with multiple Ohio fire departments.

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Pictured from the right: Carlos Ramos, Adam Culy of Harvest Land, Atley Landes, Travis Simmons, Tom Evans, Stephen Evans, Bentley Evans, Wayne Rogers

So, in mid-March 35 firemen from the Eldorado, New Madison, West Manchester and New Paris fire departments performed a joint grain entrapment training at our Eldorado Ag Center. This Photo Friday includes some shots from that event.

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Seven Harvest Land employees were present for the training: Bob Brunk of Pitsburg, Gary Davis of Harvest Land Transportation, Adam Culy of Central Ohio Ag, Luke Dull of Eldorado, John Ott of Eldorado and Julie Lamberson and Nikki Pyott of Risk Management.

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We are thankful that our rural communities have so many volunteer firemen with courage to serve. Harvest Land is committed to providing resources to help our local departments.

 

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Hidden Gem: Greenfield Store

If you travel down US 40,

to Greenfield, the heart of Hancock County, Indiana,

just south west of the town square where the courthouse sits,

you’ll find one of Harvest Land’s best kept secrets:

Our Greenfield Store.

Located at 230 W. Osage Street, the Greenfield Store has a boundless selection of home, garden and farm supplies, livestock must-haves and even unique gifts for anyone on your list. This week we want to give you a glimpse into everything (well, not everything…we didn’t have time to photograph the impressive feed selection, or the variety of mulches available for all your spring needs) available at our Greenfield Store.

See something you like? Harvest Land will get it to your local ag center for fast and convenient pick up!

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Premium grass seed, Handy (and tacky!) straw to keep the seed in place, lawn starter fertilizer, weed killers to rid your yard and garden of even the toughest ones and a large variety of garden fertilizers.

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And my personal favorite: Wilt Stop. This stuff basically brings your plants back to health when your thumb ins’t so green.

Calling all stock show parents and 4-Hers! The Greenfield Store has nylon halters and neck ropes, show sticks, pipes, adhesive, paint, curry combs, brushes, soaps and washes, sheep blankets, tags, and a huge selection of Sullivan Supplies and Weaver Leather Livestock products.

Of course, we wouldn’t leave out the family favorite. We have pet supplies, toys, dishes, feeders, medication, treatments, hygiene products and more.

Plus pigs’ ears and cow hooves – if they’re into that sort of thing.

 

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We thought about highlighting the horse supplies with the rest of the livestock stuff, but there are certain rules against grouping the two together.

Fence supplies, grooming supplies and washes, fly spray, nutrition, salt and mineral: The Greenfield Store is your one-stop shop for all things equine.

We’re proud to carry a full portfolio of CountryMark oils, greases and lubricants. Stop outside and fill up your tank at our fuel station while you’re here and treat your vehicle to premium CountryMark fuels.

The store carries Lindner United, VitaFerm, Tribute, Purina, Kalmbach and more products to ensure your livestock have what they need to get started, reproduce, grow and perform. Can’t find what you need? Tell Cathy and she’ll get it ordered for you.

(MADE IN THE USA) Corinthian Bells wind chimes, absolutely unique bird houses and feeders, shatterproof gazing balls and enough bird feed to fill a smorgasbord: We have it. Also, see the little red barn bird feeder, above? It is squirrel proof. You could make an afternoon of watching squirrels fail at robbing the roost.

Let’s talk about how awesome these Surreal birch planters are. They’re not real wood! You don’t have to cut down a tree to get this kind of style around your yard! These creative planters are a favorite and we hope you come check them out as you prepare for spring sprucing.

Further details, pricing and more supplies are available by calling the store at 317.462.5551. Again, you don’t have to step foot in the door to take advantage of all the Greenfield Store has to offer – we’ll get it to you!

Oh, and before you leave, it might be a good idea to run any upcoming birthdays through your head. You’re welcome.

230 W. Osage St. Greenfield, IN 46160
317.462.5551
M-F 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday 7:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Closed Sunday

 

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Finding Balance in the 2%

On Tuesday night Harvest Land was a sponsor of the 2018 Wayne County Rural Urban Banquet. This is a treasured tradition in the area, where people who dwell within the city limits share a meal and fellowship with those who make a living out on a country mile. For decades this event has brought farmers, business owners, elected officials and rural route residents to the table. It is a very popular event in east central Indiana.

This year was special in that the keynote speaker was Zippy Duvall, President of HPraerNi_400x400the National Farm Bureau Federation. Zippy is a third-generation farmer from Georgia. In addition to a 400-head beef cow herd for which he grows his own hay, Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, also grow more than 750,000 broilers per year. Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A? Chances are you enjoyed one of his birds.
Zippy delivered a fantastic address regarding the current state of government affairs in Washington and the issues on the table that will matter in agriculture, and in turn affect the food on tables in homes and restaurants. Though a large majority of the evening crowd may feel a disconnection to agriculture, the truth is that it affects nearly every aspect of their life, including food, clothing, energy and more.

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Many are familiar with the fact that only 2% of Americans farm today. Decades ago nearly every American family tended a garden because they had to; they depended on it year-around for fresh and canned produce. Today, most who have a garden do so because they enjoy the work and art of growing food for their family to enjoy. Gardens are no longer mandatory for feeding a family (much like 20 hens, a dairy cow, a beef steer, a hog, etc. also were) because the two-percent grow enough for food the rest of us.

The 2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do other things.

Other things, such as a chef who prepares a meal for new, exhausted parents who haven’t left the house in more than three weeks.

Other things, such as the 911 dispatcher who calmly answers the phone and talks to a terrified stranger on the other end of the line.

Other things, such as the child protective services employee who removes a child from an unimaginable home situation.

librarian with kids in libraryOther things, such as the librarian who encourages a child to put down an iPad and pick up a book, opening up a whole new world.

Other things, such as the generator installer who worked all night so a doctor’s office had restored power by the time the doors opened at 7:30 AM.

Other things, such as the fraud prevention officer at the bank who watches account information so that money within savings accounts stay there.

Other things, such as the fire fighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running out.

Other things, such as the loan officer who finds the way to loan a few bucks to a newlywed couple trying to buy their first home.

Other things, such as the tow truck driver who doesn’t sleep when snow falls, roads freeze or potholes get the best of another highway traveler.

2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do so many other, important things.

While 2% and 98% seem awfully off balance, if you consider the many admirable things others do outside of agriculture, you’ll realize that the work tends to balance. Harvest Land is grateful to be a part of events, such as the Rural Urban Banquet, that allow us to come together for an evening and remember that.

 

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Growth for Advocacy

Last week a group of Harvest Land farmer-members and employees attended the Land O’Lakes Annual meeting in Minneapolis. During this meeting our representative group was part of the launch of Growth for Advocacy.

Growth for Advocacy is a program based around Land O’ Lakes’ vision of an increasing dialogue with consumers in regards to modern agriculture practices and how those of us within agriculture can become better storytellers.

 

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Growth for Advocacy Attendees Included:
Front row: Jessica Naylor, Beth Vansickle, Melanie Caldwell, Kevin Antrim, Brandi Doan, Jeremy Myers, Chris Myers, Amy Circle, Scott Logue (CEO, in attendance for annual meeting only)
Back row: Gene Tapalman (Director, in attendance for annual meeting only), Bob Newhouse (Director, in attendance for annual meeting only), Curt Naylor, Dave Vansickle, Tom Caldwell, Kyle Brooks, Eric Doan, Sean Younclaus, Case Circle

David Vansickle, YieldPro Specialist from our Lapel Ag Center, and his wife, Beth, participated in this program.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity presented to me by the Harvest Land Board and senior leadership to attend the Land O’ Lakes Annual Meeting and Growth for Advocacy,” said Vansickle. “I was able to come away from these three days in Minneapolis with a deeper understanding and appreciation for all of the components of Land O’ Lakes and how they work to help both farmer profitability, but also those at the local co-op.  Growth for Advocacy inspired and taught me to, not only be more proactive in helping to tell the story of modern agriculture across different platforms, but also how to be strategic in my approach.”

 

The purpose of the program is to ensure that our voices, as those directly involved in agriculture, are heard.  That includes anything from social media, to setting up farm visits in our area for schools or communities to visit and learn.  It is also a way to become more involved at a national level by working with Land O’Lakes and doing advocacy in Washington DC by meeting with elected officials.

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With a constant, cyclical list of things to do through out the year in order to plant, grow and harvest a successful crop, it is very easy for farmers to worry about their own operation and believe that someone else takes care of thinking through rules and regulations.

But in reality, the most powerful voices in agriculture at all levels are the farmers, themselves.

Companies like Land O’Lakes can tell the story, but it is far more powerful hearing the stories from the farmers because the decisions made by legislatures will affect their livelihood.

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Additionally, the group was reminded that it is very easy to consider those that are anti-GMO, or supportive of antibiotic-free meat and just tell them they are flat out wrong.  However,  there is so much power in having the ability to listen to their reasoning, and then educate them on the facts. Perhaps not to necessarily to change their mind on the spot, but to encourage them to do more research than just what they may hear or see on Facebook.

Harvest Land President and CEO, Scott Logue, was attending the Annual Meeting and able to visit with Growth for Advocacy participants.

“Harvest Land had the greatest showing of advocates from any other cooperative in the United States,” he reported. “This proves our commitment to being a positive and educational voice for the agriculture industry far past our own farm gates. I’m grateful for the group of Harvest Land farmer-members and employees who made this trip to represent our cooperative. Now, we’ll work to apply the principles learned and become better advocates for an industry that offers so much to our communities and the world.”

 

 

 

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