Faith & Farming

Faith and Farming: they go hand and hand:

IMG_3833

Some days, doesn’t it feel as though it began raining on Easter and hasn’t quit? While the naive mind might like to believe that farmers across the corn belt are putting in ponds as part of some water retention conservation project, you and I both know that just isn’t the case. You can drive through the countryside and see standing water in every direction.

FullSizeRender-6

Rather than driving around the township with their best co-pilot and a steady dose of optimism, checking growth in the warm May sunshine, most growers in our area are riding around with the insurance adjuster looking at corn that has already been replanted or will be.

hand holding corn plants-2

Writer Lisa TerKeurst once wrote that “The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field. And often it’s a place where disappointment grows.” How true that is, and what fitting words when thinking of our 2017 planting season. Even when the field is flooded, the disappointment is able to grow within the rows.  I heard one farmer say that he didn’t even want to leave the house in the morning because he knew disappointment would greet his first step out the door.

You can’t blame him; it’s been a soggy and frustrating spring.

But you can’t lose faith, either.

I’ve often heard that God gives the toughest battles to His strongest soldiers but I believe there is more to that; although those in agriculture are certainly of resilient stock! I think God gives these times of disappointment to the ones who can be of example on how to stay the course amidst the frustration. He uses them as an example to others.

_DSC0536

I don’t know a farmer who plans on not planting in 2017 because of the amount of rain and cold air we’ve endured. I don’t know a farmer who has decided to sit this year out of farming. I don’t know a farmer who intends on selling farm because of 8 inches of rain.

The farmers we know are changing their course of action, recalculating their assumptions and adapting to the situation. The farmers we know are waiting it out and attending 6th grade graduations and dance recitals in the mean time. The farmers we know are trying really hard to exercise the patience their parents worked to instill in them.

Because the farmers we know
learned a long time ago that
faith and farming go hand and hand.

golden tassle

HL_logo_Vert_4C

 

One Saturday in May

We invite you to share a Saturday – or at least a couple hours of it – with us later this month to do some good in the world.

_DSC0357

We’re proud to partner with area churches and FFA chapters for the third year in a row to pack meals for the hungry in our community and also Guatemala.

_DSC0339

The 2017 Pack Away Hunger event will take place on Saturday, May 20 at the Hagerstown Elementary Gym.

IMG_8245-2

We’re offering two shifts this year for individuals and families to volunteer. The first is from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM; the afternoon shift runs from 12:30 PM– 3:00 PM. Registration is now open for those who want to lend a hand. You can register online.

_DSC0340

This is an amazing way to show kindness to strangers and the event is suitable for all ages. There really is a job for any age!

_DSC0244

_DSC0331

We hope you’ll check your calendar, block out a few hours and plan on joining our farmer-owned cooperative and friends in Hagerstown as we work to cultivate communities. This is one of those “feel good” events – we always leave the event knowing the work we just did matters.

main Street

Register here

Ye of Little Praise

 

There are a lot of variables in businesses such as our’s. We have many different divisions, span hundreds of miles, employ 300+ people, each with different skill sets and responsibilities, and work daily among thousands of moving parts. Oh, and we’re usually running short on time, too.

In our nearly 100 years of business we’ve learned from time to time that if you’re not careful and attentive to details, things can go awry quickly. It is usually in those rare instances that we hear from our farmer-members, as we should. We appreciate the feedback; it makes us better.

Farmers may be considered “ye of little praise” (not to be confused with ye of little faith; there is no greater demonstration of faith than a man planting seeds in a field; but perhaps that is a blog for another week) because they just weren’t brought up that way. In agriculture there are very few pats on the back, few words of encouragement and absolutely no participation trophies. Often the “praise” received comes in the form of a grain check or a milk check, and it’s only then that you know that you’re doing something right.

Though every once in a great while, farmers send written words of encouragement or praise. And those are the ones that you hang onto.

Our CEO received a personally addressed letter on this desk back in February. Of course, though he might be considered one of those ye of little praise, he appreciated the words tremendously and hung on to the note of praise. Fast forward more than two months later and he thought it appropriate to share.



Dear Scott, 

We intended to send you this note at the end of harvest last fall, and here it is the middle of February. 

We were very pleased with the fertilizer application and custom spraying that the College Corner branch provided during the 2016 growing season. It was obvious that Dave Norris and the operators of the sprayers and spreaders were focused on doing a good job instead of covering the most acres in the least amount of time. Bill Curry (who did most of the harvesting) said, “You can tell they took extra care to spray the perimeters of all the fields and were careful of the waterways, too.”

So, we just wanted to let yo know we appreciated their good work and we look forward to their help in the fast approaching growing season. 

Sincerely, 

It was signed by the land owner and the farmer. 

IMG_3369



Despite what the evening news, price at the pump or markets tell you, there is a lot of good going on around us. There are people doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

sprayer sunrise

Photo by applicator Dave Barbee at our Lena Ag Center

This week we encourage you to refrain from being “ye of little praise” and offer encouragement or sincere thanks to someone around you who deserves it.

Your words may be brief but their impact could be enduring.

HL_logo_Vert_4C

Cultivating Communities: Hancock County Safety Day

Hancock County Farm Bureau is the proud sponsor of the 2017 Safety Day for youth enrolled in 4-H programs in Hancock County. Annually the Farm Bureau works with local police and fire departments, EMTs and local businesses to come up with relevant safety topics for area youth.

Image

Participants rotate through stations and are given materials to take back to share with their local 4-H Clubs.

Image-1

Image-9

Harvest Land employees were happy to spend their Saturday at this event, as it allows us to cultivate safety education in the communities in which we live and serve.

Image-16

Image-2

Image-5

2017 presenters included:

Harvest Land – Julie Lamberson – Grain Safety

Greenfield Fire Department – Fire Extinguisher Safety

Hancock Regional Hospital – Linda Garriety – Safe Sitter Program

Smith Implements – Mower and ATV Safety

Harvest Land & Fayette County Honor Society – Earth Day & Recycling Safety

Purdue Extension – Megan Addison – Food safety

We appreciate any invitation to educate the youth in our area,

especially when it comes to safety in agriculture.
Image7

After all, these are the faces of our future.

The Butterfly Effect

We’ve talked a lot about choices lately around our farmer-owned cooperative. More specifically, regarding how we assess choices and spend time debating them, whether internally or with others. We can expend a lot of energy considering things that sit in our mind, making pros/cons lists, discussing and debating. Perhaps the heaviest component in the decision-making process is determining what you want in the first place.

Making a living in agriculture is no different from the other choices we make throughout our lives. Every decision, every choice and every action we take matters, both to ourselves and to those around us. We’re about to see another crop go in the ground very soon, and the agronomic choices made in the previous months will ultimately determine how that crop turns out. Oh, and weather has something to do with it, too.

_dsc0537-2

The whole idea of making choices and taking actions that affect yourself and others reminds us of the butterfly effect. 

In short, the butterfly effect, also known as “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” is the idea that small changes can have large consequences. The idea came to be known as the “butterfly effect” after Edward Lorenz suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.

Wait. What?

We thought the same….initially.

We know your time is valuable. But this week’s message is powerfully poured into this short video featuring Andy Andrews. We promise it will be worth your time.

Norman Borlaug -> Henry Wallace -> George Washington Carver -> Moses Carver -> Unless….

What an incredible thought that every single thing we do and every choice we make – large or quite small – has the ability to make a difference and affect others. Our actions and decisions have the power to reach people that we don’t even know exist. Your daily actions and decisions can point your life in such a direction that you may impact someone else’s, without ever realizing it. How powerful is that?

It is a theory that will surely change your thinking. butterfly-sharper-edges2

Andy Andrews went on to write a children’s book about this incredible string of events and the impact that one little boy, Norman Borlaug, had on billions of people. You can find the book, The Boy Who Changed the Worldhere.

Everything you do matters, for all of us – and forever.

Were You Hired To Do That?

A middle school student, from a town not far from our cooperative headquarters, was given the assignment to job shadow someone working in a field that might interest him down the road.

His top choices for a future career – at age 14 – were

  • a pediatrician (should a student spend their day in a medical office during flu season?)
  • a preacher (he gets weekly insight from this field every Sunday and at youth group)
  • the agricultural field (he chose to spend his day at our farmer-owned cooperative)

I had a meeting with our agronomist and the gentleman that this student was shadowing for the day, our Chief Operations Officer. The three of us discussed plans for an upcoming presentation we are giving at Ball State University, while the student sat in quiet observation. After collaboration over a meal, we engaged the student by explaining to him our individual paths that lead to the current positions we have within Harvest Land.

It was a really valuable conversation. Not only did I learn about the very unique roads my coworkers have taken to get to the successful levels they’re at today, but I also noticed a trend that I think is worth sharing with you.

One employee never went to college, they went straight to into the work force out of high school.

One employee went to a highly accredited 4-year university (after turning down an offer at Notre Dame) and even went on to attain their Master’s.

One employee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a non-agriculture field.

All three were leaps and bounds above the level – both in position and pay – in which they were first hired (one started at $1 an hour – and it wasn’t 1929). All three shared oddly similar stories when visiting with the job-shadowing-student.

All three never turned down a job.
  • Sweeping the shop floor
  • Answering phones
  • Tying feed sacks
  • Mixing chemicals
  • Making the office coffee (which could be comparable to mixing chemicals)
  • Washing trucks
  • Delivering meals to the field
  • Cleaning up after meetings or guests
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping out bins
  • Working in the pit
  • Loading trucks with bagged feed
  • Painting tanks
  • Making parts runs
  • And more

These were just a few of the things these highly successful adults did in their early careers.

“Were you hired to do that?!” the student asked the COO.
“No, I wasn’t. But it needed done.”

What a lesson that can resonate with today’s students about to begin their careers. There is a strange expectation from many who are early in their career that they will get hired into a middle management position and climb the ladder of success by starting on the third rung. Today’s work force doesn’t work that way. The workforce in 2007 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1997 didn’t work that way. The work force in 1987 didn’t work that way. Do you notice a trend?

ladder

What an advantage someone will have if they choose early in life to do the work that needs to be done, whether it was written in their job description, or not. Those who keep the phrase “That’s not my job,” off their lips will have a far greater advantage over those who use it.

Now, this isn’t giving every supervisor across America to take advantage of those who work hard.

But we offer this encouragement to those who want to be successful in their field of choice: If you’re willing to do more than what is expected of you, more opportunities than you expect will come your way. 

work bootsWe believe that farm kids get hired and promoted regularly because they understand that there is work to be done, no matter who does it. They come from a place where 5:00 PM simply means that there is still four more hours of daylight and work ahead of them. They come from a team that doesn’t clock in or clock out – their work begins when the boots go on and it ends when they come off…and then they have to eat dinner with their co-workers.

Farm kids understand that even the bosses have to do the dirty jobs sometimes – – -because they’ve seen their grandfathers use auto steer in the brand new tractor in the same day that they saw him picking up rocks out of the field.

rock in field

We encourage those early in their career to take full advantage of the opportunities to do many different jobs – the good, bad, and ugly – when given the chance. Not only will it offer you new experiences, it will expand your skill set and build your character.

And who knows, it might start a really enlightening conversation in 30 years when you’re being job shadowed by an eager middle schooler trying to figure out the world.

Fortune Found in Fly-Over States

Though you may not have seen much coverage of it on the local or national news, a natural disaster took place last week in the heart of America. Wildfires ravaged through the plains and prairies of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, destroying human life, an estimated 5,000 head of cattle and 1 million acres, as well as homesteads and ranches.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

This hasn’t been a popular news story because it didn’t affect the masses living within urban areas, it wasn’t politically fueled and there was no rioting to spark controversy. It hasn’t been on the news because it affected a group of people that – rather than march, protest, loot or cause any disturbance at all – tend to  keep their head down, get their work done because they have a responsibility not taken lightly and typically mind their own business.

Since the devastation set in last week, thousands of individuals in hundreds of rural communities nestled in dozens of fly-over states have rallied together to gather supplies  to assist those farmers and ranchers who lost the very basic tools they need to function as a working operation: feed, fences, horses, veterinary care and more.

Livingston Machinery convoy of hay Wednesday morning leaving Fairview, OK and heading to the area impacted by the blazes. 

You see, there is fortune to be found in these fly-over states.

These no-mans-land

middle of nowhere

fly-over states.

The fortune found is rural Americans.
_dsc0067
Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go hungry

Do you have a new baby? Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

A death in the family?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your youngest finally get engaged?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Did your basement flood with the spring rains?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

Is the t-ball season finally over?  Rural Americans will stop by with casserole and pie.

pie

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never need a high-tech home security system

Rural Americans have made a reputation of keeping a watchful (nosey?) eye on the community. They’re the first to call you when they see a suspicious vehicle parked over by the shop, sure to ask why the vet truck was at the barn for three hours last Monday and the first to call when they don’t see your daughter’s minivan at the house over Christmas.

vet

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never “not know”

As long as there are sale barns, kitchen tables, high school athletic games, church bulletins and farm auctions, word will get around. Folks in urban America may have high speed internet and Snapchat but they’ll never have the ability to push a message out  to an entire community faster than the rural American main street diner.

The Wider Image: Deadly U.S. wildfires leave ranches in ruins

Where there are rural Americans, you’ll never go without

Rural Americans supply the help when needed, sometimes in the form of a truck load of hay, sometimes in the form of a 14-year-old able-bodied son who is willing to work, sometimes in the form of a quarter cup of sugar. Rural Americans give when they can, where they can, and however they can.  

 

producers

There is fortune to be found in our beloved fly-over states, and it is each other. What an advantage we have to live in a world where we don’t have to hire moving trucks because we have friends with trucks and trailers. We don’t have to send Honey Baked Hams from some warehouse 2,000 miles away because we have a freezer full of farm fresh pork and a recipe card from Mary Jane’s Kitchen, 1976. We don’t have to fight life’s toughest moments alone, because we have Rural American neighbors, friends and strangers across the country bowing their heads when prayer is needed most.

We don’t have to search for good in the world,
because we live amongst it. 

_DSC0147

 

Learn how you can help wildfire victims in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

2017 Scholarships Available

It’s already January. Can you believe it?

img_1515

The school year is half over; kindergartners are almost to first grade and sixth graders are almost to the middle school and seniors are almost finished with locker combinations and mandatory gym class. Time really flies, doesn’t it?

The students in our trade territory aren’t just the local teens or FFA members, they’re part of our Harvest Land family. We’ve seen some of them learn how to drive by picking up feed at our Ag Centers, we’ve visited with them at the counter about their 4-H projects, and we’ve even gotten the real story about how the dent in their dad’s farm truck really came to be. We’ll be honest: We kind of miss the local kids when they grow up and go to school.

258792_10100576067168708_3296890_o

So, we try to help them out a little if we can.

Harvest Land proud to offer twelve $1000 agricultural scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year to seniors graduating high school in 2017.

To be eligible for this scholarship, the student must:

  • be a high school senior entering a post-high school agricultural program
  • be involved in agriculture in their local community
  • and live or attend school in Harvest Land Co-op’s market area.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-11-48-59-am

These scholarships will focus on need and leadership potential of future contributors to the agricultural industry. You can access the scholarship application here.

Applications are due MARCH 1, 2017 and can be emailed to scholarships@harvestlandcoop.com  or mailed to the following address:

Harvest Land Co-op

Youth Development Committee

ATTN: Lindsay Sankey

P.O. Box 516

Richmond, IN 47375

Questions can be directed to Lindsay Sankey at 765.962.1527.

We invite you to share this information with a graduating senior who plans on studying agriculture after high school. The future of our agriculture industry is exciting, and we want to help the youth in our communities get there.
_dsc0159-2
Hagerstown FFA Officer Team

Covered In Dust

Harvest Land gave a gift over the last couple weeks, but we never want it used.

We want it sitting, untouched, covered in dust.

We want it stored in a secure but visible place, waiting with dreadful anticipation that it may be needed, but we want not a hand to be laid upon it.

In two, five or ten years, we don’t want to see a finger print on its shiny exterior; not a smudge. We want it to be in the same, pristine, brand new condition it’s in right now. Except maybe, covered in dust.

Our cooperative lost two customers due to grain entrapment in 2016. What an eye-opening year for the rural communities in which we live and work. As a farmer-owned cooperative doing business across state lines and in many different areas, we are committed to the safety of our employees, and also the safety of our members.

In December Harvest Land donated rescue tubes to two fire departments in areas that did not have grain rescue equipment. The first donation was to Bentonville Volunteer Fire Department in Fayette County, Indiana and the second went to Geneva Volunteer Fire Department in Adams County, Indiana. The rescue tubes donated can be used as a tube or wall in any free-flowing material such as sand, grain, gravel or in trench collapses.

IMG_0082.JPG
President/CEO Scott Logue makes the grain tube presentation to the Bentonville Fire Department
IMG_0123.JPG
Allen Bollenbacher (L) presents the grain tube to the Geneva Volunteer Fire Department

As we charge ahead with a new generation gradually taking over the reigns on the family farm, we hope to increase awareness about the dangers of grain entrapment with our customers and also youth in agriculture programs, such as FFA.

A grain entrapment trailer will be on display and conducting live entrapment demonstrations during our Winter Innovation Forum. We ask that you tell others about the Forum and invite them to bring someone who might find this entrapment information valuable. Attendees are invited to participate in the live entrapment demonstration to fully understand how incredibly strong the force of moving grain is.

At the Winter Innovation Forum we’ll also have information on how you can find resources to get a grain safety tube in your area. Help us leave no rural community in our territory uncovered. Join us at the Forum to learn more; Forum registration will open up in January.

_DSC0304.jpg

We understand the members of our cooperative system are not just farmers; they are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. They are someone quite special. 

The teenager who is thinking more about their Saturday night plans than the bin work at hand.

The parent who is thinking more about their seventh-grader at lunch than the auger below them.

Veteran farmer who is feverishly preparing for his 44th planting season.

Cronk sales call.jpg

If we can get this safety information to one person and help them understand just how quickly grain entrapment happens and how strong the crushing force is, these efforts will have paid off countless times over.

We want to reach everyone.
The young and old. The seasoned and proud. The curious and fresh.
For once, we’re ok with giving you something you’ll leave untouched, covered in dust.