Last Call! Fueling Freedom 2019

This morning we want to encourage you to support our 2019 Fueling Freedom program today, June 21!

Purchase fuel at the CountryMark stations listed below, and we’ll donate 50 cents for every gallon of fuel pumped from noon – 5:00 PM to the local National Guard Family Readiness Group.

Greenville, OH

Greenfield, IN

Elwood, IN

Oxford, OH (KDS Express)

Fountaintown, IN (United Energy)

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Did You Know?

  • 100% of the proceeds from Fueling Freedom will go to support local National Guard Family Readiness Groups.
  • Family Readiness Groups fund activities for troops and their families. Many of the Family Readiness Groups use their funds to host summer picnics, hold Christmas dinners, send packages to deployed soldiers, and offer after-school programs for children of American soldiers.
  • Our National Guard troops defend our country and our people every day. This Fourth of July, we want them to know how much we appreciate what they do for us.
  • This is the 11thyear the CountryMark system has hosted Fueling Freedom events.

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We encourage you to come out for Fueling Freedom, purchase CountryMark TOP TIER gasoline and premium diesel fuel, and register to win a $150 fuel card. One fuel card will be given away at each CountryMark fueling station participating in Fueling Freedom.

Show your patriotism and come out (to Greenville, OH; Greenfield, IN; Elwood, IN; Oxford, OH (KDS Express); or Fountaintown, IN (United Energy)) today from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM!

 

 

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No Amber Waves of Grain

If you’re not directly working in agriculture – which, 98% of the population is not – talk of the challenging time in ag may not spur your curiosity. It may only be a 20-second segment on the evening news or a quick mention at the hardware store during check out. You may work or live in town, so it likely doesn’t matter much to you. But, you should care about this challenging time – unprecedented challenging time – because it does affect you. No one is exempt.

What’s the Problem?

The weather has been relentless to those who make a livelihood off the land. Let’s start in the fall of 2018:

When the crop is harvested off the field, a best practice is to apply a fall application, which is a herbicide that kills any weeds that may emerge. This ensures the field is clean and ready to be planted in the spring. But last fall, constant rain delayed harvest and also left fields saturated. This didn’t allow for equipment to get into the fields to apply this product, so the majority of fields went untouched. Fall application became something growers would have to take care of in the spring.

Folks with livestock such as cattle faced challenges from the uncooperative weather, also. Usually, a field can get three cuttings of hay in a summer season but that wasn’t the case in 2018. This resulted in a hay shortage last fall when stockmen were trying to produce or buy hay for the upcoming winter….the winter of 2018-2019: You know, the one that never ended. The extended winter, causing stockman to still feed hay in April, resulted in a real hay shortage. But the winter wasn’t just extended, it was brutal. Record temperatures and snowfall, blizzards striking America’s heartland multiple times, great loss of livestock in inclimate weather…each of these things compressed the issue. Then came the flooding.

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Rain began in late March and never stopped. In a time when growers were hoping to apply the herbicide to kill the weeds so they could plant a crop, tractors, planters, and sprayers remained in the shop because they couldn’t get into the soggy fields. And there is a brief window of time in which a farmer can plant corn and soybeans. If that window is missed, there will be no crop at all. Now here we are, the middle of June, and fields still sit empty. Except for the weeds.

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Weeds stand nearly 6 feet tall in a field in Ohio.

 

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A field covered in weeds, prior to planting a seed.

 

Also, in order for growers to get the best crop insurance possible, corn needed to be planed by June 6. After that date, farmers had to make a decision to either let the ground remain completely unplanted, or to plant an alternate crop. Maybe soybeans? The soybean market is already so weak, due to saturation of the market and tariffs, that there would be no money in that. We’re talking record low prices for the commodity.

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As of June 9, just 60% of America’s soybean acres had been planted in our highest-producing states, compared with nearly 90% typically planted by this time of year. And just 83% of the corn crop is in the ground in the most productive states, a number that should be pushing 100%.

Some farmers are finally admitting

that this will be the first time in

their lifetime of farming

that there will be no crop. 

This adds to an already extremely difficult run in agriculture. Land O’Lakes recently shared this information:

Due largely to sustained low commodity prices, average farm income in 2017 was $43,000, while the median farm income for 2018 was negative$1,500. In 2018, Chapter 12 bankruptcies in the farm states across the Midwest that are responsible for nearly half of all sales of U.S farm products rose to the highest level in a decade.

Those who support the American farmer are not spared in this grief. Ag retailers, such as the local farmer-owned cooperative, aren’t able to dispense the product they’ve purchased months ago because it has nowhere to go. There is no crop insurance for retail, they simply lose the money. Credit providers won’t get paid because the farmers have no income to make payments. Salesmen who may work on commission go without pay because no one has the money to buy. It is a cycle that affects stress levels and livlihoods by the thousands.

So, how are you affected?

The loss of income in agriculture this year will be in the billions. This will affect small towns across America in very real ways because this unprofitable year will affect ag retailers, seed companies, grain elevators, machinery dealers and more, all of which employs thousands in our area. All of which will have less in their pocketbook in a very real way. And when they’re making much less money, they’re spending less at local stores, restaurants, entertainment, car dealerships and beyond.

The price of food will also see an upward swing as the corn used to produce your favorite tortilla chips or the tomatoes you cook with simply aren’t being produced. We’re usually enjoying sweet corn by now…much won’t even be planted.

It is quite difficult to put into words the depth of despair agriculture is experiencing in this moment. The sickening statistic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that suicide rates in farmers are higher than any other occupation today speaks volumes.

Wake up, America, the Beautiful! There may be no amber waves of grain and no fruited plains.

 

We urge you to take heart regarding this national crisis. It spares no one who eats or cares about their community. We invite you to check on those in your community who work in agriculture. You may only see them at the grocery, church pew, ballpark or parking lot, but a simple word to let them know they aren’t alone in this volatile time could make a world of difference in their state of mind. Let them know their work and effort matters.

We’ll keep this in mind, our faith keeping us rooted:

But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Harvest Land stands beside our growers as we navigate this unbelievable time. Those of us in production agriculture will get through this because of our unwavering resolve which has benefitted stewards of the land from the beginning of time. And we’ll go on to live admirably, doing the greatest work in the world: Farming.

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2019 Scholarship​ Recipients Announced​

Harvest Land Co-op recently awarded 20 scholarships to 2019 high school graduates throughout their trade area, with combined money awarded totaling $20,000.

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 2019 winners are:

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We’re proud to have these students selected out of more than sixty candidates. Ag educators, veterinarians, horticulturalists, ag engineers and more: We have no doubt this group will go on to do great things.

Congratulations to all 2019 graduates!

 

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ACE Program Welcomes 2019 Hires

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.

As we prepare for the increased responsibilities and future demands of an evolving agriculture climate, we must provide emerging frontrunners with a broader perspective. This more-strategic perspective enables them to see the business as a whole—beyond specific functions or departments. By gaining this perspective, they are more prepared to successfully operate in leadership positions.

The ACE (Accelerated Career Excellence) program is a 12-month career development ACE Logo-01
program designed to enable participants to strategically frame their thinking, learn and use basic cooperative business knowledge and tools, and apply what is learned in the context of their accelerating career.

We recently welcomed two new ACE candidates to Harvest Land:

Kenzi Schwieterman, originally from Ridgeville, Indiana, joins us after graduating from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. Before joining our team, Kenzi worked previously as a crops resource center teaching assistant at Purdue, a research diagnostic intern with the USDA and plays an active role on her family’s farm. Kenzi begins her career at Randolph Ag. 

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Nick Arnold is originally from Hagerstown and has launched his career with Harvest Land at Central Ohio Ag. Nick recently graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness management. Prior to joining our team, Nick worked as a sales intern with AgriGold Hybrids and was also a Harvest Land Field Tech summer intern in 2017. Nick has also been a large part of operations on his family’s farm, where his passion for agriculture was ignited. 

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We’re extremely excited about these two individuals joining the Harvest Land team and we look forward to the perspective they’ll bring to our farmer-owned cooperative.

Welcome, Kenzi & Nick!

 

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Building a Cathedral​

Harvest Land has an internal monthly newsletter called theLINK. TheLINK was created in 2014 in an effort to bridge the gap between our agronomy, energy, feed, and grain Company Newsletter May 2019_Page_1marketing businesses, highlight employees and share good news across our entire cooperative. The newsletter comes out on the last day of each month so that we’re able to kick off a new month with positive insight about our employer. Employees do a great job of sending in content to be used in theLINK so their co-workers can be recognized for a job well done.

In this monthly communication, our CEO writes a message to the entire employee base. Usually, he writes about an area where employees have contributed to the improvement of our cooperative in a special way or shares business insight that employees may not see otherwise.

 

We found this month’s Message from Scott

worth passing on to our Trust & Traction readers:

 

Have I ever told you the story of the three bricklayers?

A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing.

The first man answered gruffly, ‘I’m laying bricks.’

The second man replied, ‘I’m putting up a wall.’

But the third man said enthusiastically and with pride, ‘I’m building a cathedral.’

They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a purpose.

There are countless positions held by our 300+ employees, and within a day, a single person can manage multiple tasks within their position. Every act that you contribute on our behalf matters. Whether you’re keeping organized records of fuel deliveries within the cab of your truck, paying our operational bills so that we keep the lights on, cleaning out the warehouse so we ensure critters are at a minimum or coordinating the delivery of a product to a farmer who is anxious about the season ahead: Your job at Harvest Land serves great purpose.

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day immediate tasks. Those are the things that must be done now, or else. But let’s not lose sight of the value of the work. We may be laying bricks every day – come (excessive) rain, snow, or shine – but if we can envision the end result and go through our days with intention, our daily work becomes much more meaningful.

Today and always, I thank you for your work, brick by brick.

 

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This week we’ll leave you with this thought:

Are you viewing your day-to-day work as laying bricks or building a cathedral? If you make a daily effort to find value in even the smallest of tasks you’re taking on, your sense of purpose will become much greater. And living with purpose – if even in your 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM job – will offer you much more fulfillment than simply laying bricks.

We invite you to join our team in finding ways to value the work you do with a strong and stable vision of the end result.

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Empowering Youth: Hancock County Farm Bureau 4-H Safety Day

Harvest Land believes that 4‑H empowers young people to be true leaders with confidence, the ability to work well with others, can endure through challenges, and will stick with a job until it gets done. In 4‑H, we believe true leaders aren’t born – they’re grown. 4-H also teaches our youth leadership skills and responsibility that they will use for a lifetime.

Harvest Land is proud to be a part of educating our youth in all corners of our trade territory. We recently participated in the Hancock County Farm Bureau 4-H Safety Day, sponsored by Farm Bureau at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Presenters for the day included:

  • Harvest Land, presented by Julie Lamberson
  • Hancock County Sheriff’s Dept
  • 911 Dispatch
  • Proper Food Handling
  • Koening Implements
  • Greenfield Fire Dept
  • Indiana DNR

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Harvest Land employee Vickie Ramsey is the leader of Country Kritters 4-H Club, and has been a 4-H leader in Hancock county for 16 years! She was there with “her kids” for a day of education and leadership building. We admire Vickie’s dedication to empowering Hancock County youth to be the best they can be.

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We’re proud to be invited to this kind of event, and also have strong represntation from our employee base. 

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Many thanks to Dawn Wallace and Julie Lamberson for supplying these photos.

 

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Two Join Team Through Dynamic Winfield United Internships​

This summer Harvest Land is excited to welcome two summer interns into roles that will offer them a dynamic in-field agricultural experience, WinFieldUnited_PMSstrengthen our partnership with Winfield United and allow us to better serve our farmer-members. This week we’d like to introduce you to the two outstanding college students that we’ll welcome this summer.

Garrett Lowes hails from Anderson, IN and will be our Sales and Operations Intern. He is studying Agribusiness Management at Purdue and will graduate in December. Garrett’s Garret Lowes-2role this summer will put him in the heart of ag center operations, affording him a full-circle look at Harvest Land. He’ll work with seed treatment processes, assist in the management and placement of and the data draw from the DTN Smart Traps, collaborate with our sales team to promote fungicide and insecticide with growers, conduct tissue tests with our YieldPro department, and also develop dynamic relationships with our ag sales team and agronomists during on-farm sales calls.

I am excited to gain a more well-rounded knowledge of Harvest Land and to develop long-lasting relations this summer while learning to better serve Harvest Land’s customer base. – Garrett Lowes

Levi Logue is from Liberty, Indiana and will be a sophomore at Purdue in the fall. Levi is a student in the Krannert School of Management where his major is General Management.  Levi’s internship will focus on digital marketing strategies and customer engagement. Much of his time will be focused on strategic conversations with customers to better understand their communication preferences, what information Levi Loguethey prefer to be delivered from the cooperative system and how timely information affects their buying and operational decisions. Levi will spend much of his time with our Communications Manager and YieldPro Sales Specialists to have these pertinent conversations, gather the data and finally, formulate a plan to move forward with successful customer engagement.

With this internship, I hope to gain valuable real-world experience within the agriculture industry, while also giving me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and learn about the different aspects of analysis. I anticipate this internship will give me insight to career opportunities in agriculture. – Levi Logue

We gladly welcome Garrett and Levi to the team and very much look forward to working with these two bright minds to provide them with an educational experience that will only advance their career goals.

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Ohio Grain Entrapment Training

Last Saturday Harvest Land hosted Oxford, West College Corner, Milford Township, Hanover Township, Seven Mile, St Clair and Riley Fire Departments for grain entrapment training in Ohio. The training allowed emergency personnel to practice using grain tube equipment for entrapments in gravity wagons, as well as in a large freestanding pile.

The training occurred at our College Corner Ag Center. Many thanks to the crew from College Corner and Seven Mile for organizing the event and giving up a Saturday for this training, as well as their participation.

As part of the training day, Harvest Land also donated a grain rescue tube to the Oxford Fire Department,  which would be the responding department for our College Corner facility.

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We would like to thank all the participating departments

for their dedication to the safety of our farm families.

 

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Photo Friday: 2019 Winter Innovation Forum

The rain, snow, and sleet didn’t stop growers from attending our 2019 Winter Innovation Forum. We had more than 400 in attendance from Indiana and Ohio and welcomed them each to a day of information, insight and conversation.

On this Photo Friday, we invite you to take a look at a few photos from the day.

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Many thanks to all who joined us!

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Grain Rescue Tube Donated in Butler County

Harvest Land recently donated a grain rescue tube to the Milford Township Fire Department in Butler County, Ohio. The department needed the equipment to perform grain rescue should the emergency arise.

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Harvest Land manager Tom study organized the donation.

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Grain rescue training with multiple fire departments in Butler County is set to take place at the College Corner Ag Center later this month. Harvest Land is happy to host such an event that could aid so many in a time of need.

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As part of our Cultivating Communities effort, Harvest Land continues to donate equipment and assist in training to protect farm families in our trade territory.

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