Janel Cowart: 2019 Support Staff of the Year

We’re so excited to share that our very own Janel Cowart, part of our EnergyPro team located at the Junction, was recently named Support Staff of the Year at the CountryMark awards banquet.

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Janel has been a Harvest Land employee for only five years, but in that time she has made quite an impact on coworkers and customers. Janel is just downright fun to work with – yes, you read that right! During long, hot, or cold days in the energy business, Janel always works to make Harvest Land a pleasant place to be.

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Janel has an outstanding, positive attitude around customers as well as Harvest Land employees. She is also the definition of a team player. If there is an issue that needs attention, you can confidently turn it over to Janel and she will find the problem. Janel demands nothing less than accuracy in her work, and she expects the same from others. In fact, if she finds inaccuracy is other’s work that may affect our business, she will fix it without hesitation.

Janel does an excellent job of building spreadsheets that track information when needed. She is very timely with meeting deadlines. She will work over or take work home when needed. Janel is very well respected by those she works with, including drivers, service techs, and fellow support staff.

Janel does not only focus on what she can accurately get done in a day, but she also constantly finds ways to make the job more efficient for herself and the entire energy team.

Janel Cowart is the best of the best and we are so proud to have her on our team. Watch a few EnergyPro team members speak about Janel:

 

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Congratulations, Janel!

 

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Hunger Knows No Season

On this week of Thanksgiving, Harvest Land and Land O’Lakes partnered to donate $2,000 to the Monthly Food Ministry organized by the Centerville United Methodist Church in Wayne County.

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We made a similar donation in 2018 during the warm summer months, but when the church reached out and said more and more families are in line every month and the need was again great, we knew we must help because hunger knows no season. 

Who Will This Donation Serve?

Since their first Monthly Food Ministry in September of 2017, the number of families they support has steadily increased. In 2018, they averaged 65 families a month, but in November of 2019, 91 families came through the door to receive assistance.

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They purchase food for the food ministry from Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and buying food for approximately 65 families costs around $1,000 per month. The vast majority of that cost has come from the faithful contributions of the members and friends of the Centerville United Methodist Church, but as their assistance numbers go up, so do costs to Gleaners. It only makes mathmatical sense that they must budget more dollars per month to purchase food from Gleaners, so our $2,000 contribution helps to fill that gap.

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Jared Martin, Harvest Land CFO, (front right) presents the check on November 25 at the church. 

The church keeps no record of where the families they serve come from as they want a completely open food ministry, but they do know that families are coming from Cambridge City, Pershing, Richmond, and elsewhere.

So, Where Will $2,000 Go?

100% of the $2,000 will go to purchase food from Gleaners for future Monthly Food Ministries. The food that the food bank pays for from Gleaners includes canned goods, boxed items, and other items that can be stored on the shelf.  Occasionally, Gleaners offers MotherEarthNews_FallVegetableHarvest_Oct_20131meat and dairy products (milk, butter, eggs, yogurt), but they are limited right now by refrigeration and are currently in the process of creating a “cold room” in the church food room.  This project should be finished sometime in December.  They also get produce from Gleaners, but produce is usually provided at no cost. While Gleaners is their main source of produce, it is not their only. They also get produce from local growers, the Amish auction in northern Wayne County, and the Community Garden at the ARC Center in Richmond.

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Have Food, Will Travel

When necessary, the Monthly Food Ministry will deliver, and every month there is at least one family that needs transportation. They revealed to us that last summer a lady and her two daughters walked a great distance from a trailer park to receive food. Rather than make her carry two or three heavy boxes/bags back on a busy highway, they loaded her up in a pick-up truck and transported her, her daughters, and her food back home.

Too often the food ministry group hears, “I don’t know what I would do without this food.”  Almost all of the folks receiving food are overly grateful for the assistance.

We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide this hunger relief assistance in the Centerville area this holiday season.

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Thanksgiving Traditions

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2019 will be a memory this time next week. 2019, while seemingly dragging us through the mud at times, has passed quickly as the years do.

More and more, Thanksgiving seems to be a holiday that is overshadowed between Halloween and Christmas. Many stores began putting up Christmas decorations after October 31, or even Labor Day!

We’re traditionalists, as we know it’s only because of the insight and opportunities provided by previous generations that our farmer-owned cooperative is still active and proudly in your community today. This week, we thought we’d share three Thanksgiving traditions that might be worth beginning with your family this Thanksgiving.

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Create a Keepsake Tablecloth

Cover the table with a white tablecloth and place glasses filled with cloth markers 82e4aa1a6413a4e0a7f1dbe518a6c09faround the table. Ask guests to draw what they’re thankful for, or even a bit of art for the little ones. Once the table is cleared, you’ll have a memento that you can reuse every year. And what fun it will be to look back in five years!  We do, however, understand the risk that comes with cranberry sauce and a white table cloth. Charge ahead anyway – it will make for a great story!

Write Letters of Gratitude

It is easy to get busy in our day-to-day routines and forget about the people and things who are bright spots in our day.  By choosing to be grateful under any circumstances, you’ll find even more things to appreciate.

Set blank stationery at each place setting with a pen and invite your guests to write a letter of gratitude to someone they need to thank. Maybe a child’s teacher, a neighbor, a letter-writing-daydoctor, your home heat delivery driver or the really great cashier at the grocery store who takes the time to bag your groceries so nothing gets smashed. Everyone enjoys a hand-written note, and by giving your Thanksgiving guests a pen, blank note and five minutes to express their thanks to someone, it’s a win-win for everyone on this special day of gratitude.

Bookend the Event with the Next Generation

Every day at the co-op, we talk about the next generation. The next generation of employees, the next generation of farmer-members, the next generation of technology pl62_ms1617_candid_dsc0622squareand more. On Thanksgiving, the younger generation may find themselves left out, stuck at the kid’s table with a slab of turkey the size of their head and a stuffy sweater vest mom insisted they wear.

Why not include them in the Thanksgiving traditions in 2019 and invite them to either help set the table or serve dessert? This gets them involved in the event, shows them the value they bring to the table (literally) and keeps their hands busy for a bit longer.

 

 

We at Harvest Land are thankful for you, your business and our partnership.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

See other Thanksgiving posts from Harvest Land:

Farm to Table: Your Thanksgiving Plate

Happy Thanksgiving from the Farm

 

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Our Encouragement of Youth in Agriculture

It was cold, but they showed up.

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Harvest Land understands that high school students in our trade territory are a tremendous asset as they emerge as the future generation of leaders within the workplace. With one-third of our workforce retiring in the next 3-5 years and many similar stories echoing throughout the agriculture industry, the career options that students interested in ag will encounter are tremendous.

_DSC0784This week and next,  we welcome high school ag students to our local ag centers as we help them discover the many career options at the cooperative, including roles as Agronomists, Custom Applicators, Office Support Administrators, Fuel and Propane Delivery Drivers and much more.

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Whether today’s students are focused on heading to college or simply graduating high school, our employees are excited to share their similar stories and experiences that have brought them to where they are today.

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Students in attendance got to tour our facilities and encounter several stations along the way, which provided interactive experiences for students. All segments of our cooperative business, Agronomy, Energy, Grain and Feed, are represented during these career day events.

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As your local cooperative, we appreciate any opportunity to encourage youth participation and education within agriculture.

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We truly appreciate the schools and teachers who participate in these career days, which provides an enhanced view of local careers post-graduation while simultaneously raising awareness on some options for scholarships, internships and learning tools in the interim.

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We’re proud to be local.

We’re proud to work safely and as a team.

We’re proud to be owned by 5,500 dedicated farmers.

We’re proud to employ so many in rural Ohio and Indiana.

We’re proud to do work daily that enhances the lives of so many.

We’re proud to have so many different career opportunities within one company which can satisfy the curious minds and busy hands of so many in rural America.

We’re proud to be Harvest Land.

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Thank You, Veterans

In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. November 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became legally known as Veterans Day.

On Monday we’ll celebrate America’s 81st Veteran’s Day.

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Did you know that veterans are overrepresented in rural America? Nearly 18 percent of veterans live in rural (nonmetro) counties, compared to 15 percent of the U.S. adult civilian population. About 10 percent of all rural civilian adults are veterans, but in some rural counties, that figure can reach as high as 25 percent.

We’re proud to employ several who have served over multiple decades, for varying reasons, but with the same tremendous commitment to our country. 

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Read more about Dave Naylor here

A lot of Americans get this confused, but Veterans Day is NOT the Same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

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This week – and always – we offer a

heartfelt and sincere thank you

to all who have served. 

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It’s (Not) Just a Tractor

For years we’ve partnered with a calendar company to design antique tractor calendars for our farmer-members. Our fuel and propane drivers hand them out to customers over the fall months, our ag centers keep a stack on the counter so our farmer-members can grab one when they come in to request an order and our Richmond office displays a stack so folks can take one when they’re in to pay a bill.

About eight years ago we decided to do something different and instead of using antique tractors as the monthly photo, we did a calendar with photos of rural America. Month by month, the calendar displayed hidden gems across the US, sunsets in fly-over states, New England in the fall and Utah in the white winter months. It turned out beautifully and we thought our members would love it.

Boy, were we wrong. 

We received so much push back and verbalized disappointment from our customers because we didn’t distribute an antique tractor calendar that year. We had no idea how much our customers looked forward to such a small gesture. We learned that those calendars reminded them of their dad, or granddad, or sweet mother, or their growing up years on the farm. We learned it was not just a calendar. We also learned it’s not just a tractor. 

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It’s not just a tractor. It’s where you learned, and earned, a little bit of freedom out in an open field for the first time.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a sound that resonates with power, and progress and passion.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the memory of working alongside your granddad who was – and still is – the most admirable person you’ve ever known.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the only thing that could get down Marshall Road to the livestock during the Blizzard of 1978.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the thrill you got when first riding on the fender and watching the hypnotic tire tread roll down the road to a rhythmic rumble.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s how we came to realize that if children were self-starters, mothers wouldn’t have to be such cranks.IMG_0392

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place from which you dared your sister to jump from the highest step, and she earned her first set of stitches.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s where your good, faithful, favorite, dog rode on the fender with you while spreading manure, making one of the most boring jobs on the farm more enjoyable.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the pride in making an investment that will serve your generation and the next.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the machine you used to introduce new technology and practices to the farm, including no-till planting, cover crops and GPS.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the memory of riding on the platform behind your dad while he lead you into the next great adventure.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place where you strap your pride and joy into the buddy seat and feel their head against your arm, or see it bouncing off the window, fifteen minutes later. A tractor is a fine resting spot for youth.

90It’s not just a tractor. It’s the place where your father thought he was teaching you about mechanics, but you also picked up on a whole new vocabulary.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a vision of restoration come to life, preserving a time capsule of labor and memories for years and years to come.

It’s not just a tractor. It’s a machine that allowed our families to work the ground and plant a seed in the spring, mow and bale the hay in the summer, pull the grain cart in the fall and plow the neighbor’s drive in the winter. It’s a tool for growing and harvesting a lifestyle that can’t be replaced.

It’s not just a tractor. And we’ve learned it’s not just a calendar, either. Stop by your local ag center today to pick one a Harvest Land calendar for 2020.

What has your tractor meant to you? We invite you to comment below.

2020 CALENDAR COVER

 

 

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Leadership in Action: First Run Donation

It is somewhat astonishing to think that we can send mankind to the moon and there are still hungry children in our community.

So when Land O’Lakes invited our CEO, Scott Logue, to take part in a donation of 39,690 pounds of freshly made Land O’Lakes’ macaroni and cheese to Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, he didn’t hesitate to join the efforts.

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The First Run program, one of Land O’Lakes projects with Feeding America, makes fresh product specifically for donation to food banks across the United States. Last year, they donated 476,280 pounds of product to food banks nationwide.

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The First Run program was introduced in 2010 to increase the amount of product donated to food banks across the country. This is the sixth donation made to Ohio! Land O’Lakes has committed to donating truckloads of fresh product to several food banks each quarter and we’re grateful to have been a part of this one right here in our trade area.

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Scott is pictured (second from left) with team members from Land O’Lakes, Kroger, Advantage Solutions and Freestore Foodbank.

To date, Land O’Lakes has made over 100 donations to food banks across the United States, totaling more than 5 million pounds of product.

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While there was no camera crew in Cincinnati, we do have a video of a First Run donation that Land O’Lakes did in South Dakota – hopefully, it gives a little feel for what the event is like:

Harvest Land is grateful to be part of such a donation to our community. We understand the troubling magnitude of hunger and we want to be a part of the solution. We offer a sincere thanks to Land O’Lakes for allowing us to be a part of this donation. We’re proud to be members of a national cooperative that gives so much to communities in which we live and work.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 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. In a world with media that seems to sensationalize negative news, Salute to Service is a way to find the good.  

So, let’s hear all the good news. 

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.

You can submit entries by emailing  nominations@harvestlandcoop.com or contact our President/CEO, Scott Logue at 765.962.1527.

The deadline to submit entries is November 15, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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2018 Winner, John Bell

 

If you need a pick-me-up today, just read about a few of our previous winners and nominations:

2018 Winner, John Bell

2017 Winner, Kim Buttery

Brian Henderson nomination, A Harvest Land Christmas Story

Randal Reese nomination, Who is Harvest Land?

Tammie Fox nomination, Who is Harvest Land?

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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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September 13, 2001

On January 1 we celebrate new beginnings, but usually by the 23rd of the month the gym parking lots are no longer packed.

On February 14 we celebrate love, but usually by the 24th the roses have wilted.

On July 4 we celebrate independence, but by the 5th the fireworks have lost their sparkle.

On December 25 we celebrate Christ’s birth, but by the 26th we’re thinking about returns and taking down the tree.

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On September 11 we all remember a day that forever changed American life and history, but by September 13th political wars are again raging within our native land and we’re once again divided.

September 11, 2001 is a date in which we’ll never forget where we were when the events unfolded. Just like when Kennedy was shot or the Challenger exploded, it seemed for just a minute time stood still and nothing else mattered but that moment being chronicled on the television screen.

 

Unlike New Year’s Day or the Fourth of July,

the days that followed September 11, 2001

are the days that we miss the most.

We miss the American spirit that began raging like fire across the open prairies and city streets.

We miss the abundance of American flags being displayed at high school football games, on interstate overpasses, by motorcyclists traveling cross-country, those hanging from 15th-floor apartment balconies and painted on old rural barns.

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We miss the way Lee Greenwood became a household name and voice again.

We miss the way that nothing mattered for a few days but the safety of our families and that we were all together. If just for a brief time, family dinners, phone calls and visits became normal again.

We miss the way that a sense of pride came over Americans and we were determined to take on the enemy that slept outside our great borders, as long as we were facing them, together.

We miss the days when we took a true interest in what was going on in our country and paid great attention to current world events.

We miss seeing, reading, and saying, “United We Stand” and truly believing it.

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We miss September 13, 2001 and we often wish that our country could go back to that day. Not the sheer horror, confusion or numb shock of September 11, but the unity, patriotism and compassion for one another that came in the days that followed.

Can we get back there?

Can we get back to honoring our flag and teaching our children the significance of those colors?

Can we get back to being proud to live in this great country because of the opportunities we have at our calloused fingertips, our rich history that made us who we are and the beautiful landscapes that offer so much in the way of food, fiber and enjoyment?

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Can we get back to compassion instead of competition, kindness instead of animosity and service instead of solitude?

Can we get back to more prayer and less political divide?

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We think we can, and we hope you agree.

Today we’ll go about our business at the ag centers.

We’ll spread lime,

and haul diesel fuel,

and prepare facilities for harvest,

and deliver propane for the winter months ahead.

Today, on September 13, 2019, we’ll take off our Harvest Land caps when the National Anthem plays on the country radio station over lunch, and we’ll remain proud to be operating in the greatest country in the world.

 

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2019 Habitat for Humanity Build

Those along the rural route are the type of people who care for and look out for each other.

We bring dinner when new babies arrive or matriarchs pass.

We help get cattle back in when fences go bad or bale hay when machinery breaks down and rain is on the way.

Our kids do the neighbors’ chores when they finally go on vacation and our grandparents cut out articles from the weekly newspaper when they think parents may need an extra copy.

So it should be no surprise when we tell you that 2019 marks the 10th Habitat for Humanity Ag Build at the Indiana State Fair. During years one through five, they built one house per year during the span of the fair. Then, in year six the goal was taken to the next level and since that time two homes are built during the fair, annually.

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Harvest Land was proud to send four employees to work alongside employees from five other cooperatives. For a day of home building, sponsors are asked to make a $10,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity. This is not a small donation so it makes a big difference that member cooperatives were able to work together to share in the cost.

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Troy Miley, Controller; Kent Van Meter, Rushville Ag Center Manager; Danielle Baumer, HR Support and Julie Lamberson, Risk Manager.

Jason Haney, Site Superintendent, told us that this is the only State Fair in the United States in which there is a Habitat for Humanity partnership and a whole home build happens.

And Harvest Land is a part of it!

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Community service fuels the rural American spirit. We readily step in when needed and certainly aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. We’ll all agree that there is a certain satisfaction found when lying down for the night knowing that you helped someone in need. That is Cultivating Communities. That is Harvest Land.

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